Search icon


31st Dec 2017

What Holly Holm did against Cyborg was remarkable, but it just wasn’t enough


Ben Kiely

Holly Holm

Cyborg vs Holly Holm was a worthy winner of UFC 219’s fight of the night.

Holly Holm went up a weight class and fought the greatest female fighter on planet Earth. She was outmatched and outsized, but she was far from embarrassed in the five-round main event.

Former women’s bantamweight queen Holm gave Cyborg her toughest test in over a decade in Las Vegas. For the first time in her career, the Brazilian knockout artist went to a fifth round. Holm’s heart, grit and gameness brought it to the final buzzer. Cyborg clearly had her number, but ‘The Preacher’s Daughter’ kept swinging until the final buzzer sounded.

All three judges gave Holm the first with two giving her the nod in the second as well. Although she was outstruck in both rounds, her control in the clinch was enough to see her edge the opening frames in their eyes.

Holm has won seven of her 11 MMA fights with kicks and kept trying with that familiar head kick that shattered the myth of Ronda Rousey’s invincibility. However, Justino was ready and blocked it nearly every time. Most of the damage was done with the hands and both fighters’ faces were battled scarred at the end.

Cyborg’s nose was bloodied from a forceful straight left, but she remained composed, stuck to the gameplan and kept marching forward with combinations. The strikes took their toll too, with Holm’s eye swollen to the point where her sight must have been affected by the third round.

When the result seemed beyond all doubt in the fifth, Holm was still on the hunt for the finish. She landed her most noteworthy strike in the final round, rocking Cyborg with a fierce punch. The way the champion ate it proved she was worthy of her moniker.

Holm did all she could do. She did all that could have been expected of her given the circumstances. She was soundly beaten but kept the fight competitive.

Cyborg is just that good.

In her Octagon interview, Cyborg called out Megan Anderson for a showdown in Perth. The Invicta champion accepted the offer on Twitter.