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Holm-de Randamie rematch makes sense

Holly Holm throws a left hand to the body of Germaine de Randamie, during their UFC featherweight title fight in February 2017, won by de Randamie via unanimous decision. A rematch between the two as a bantamweight title eliminator became more liikely after both won their fights Saturday in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
AP File

Holly Holm never fights angry, though one might think differently, having witnessed her furious assault on Irene Aldana in the final moments of her victory Saturday on the UFC’s “Fight Island.”

One former opponent who might inspire her ire, though, is The Netherlands’ Germaine de Randamie.

Saturday, Holm’s chances for revenge – if that’s what she’s looking for – took a significant upturn.

In February 2017 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, de Randamie defeated Albuquerque’s Holm by unanimous decision in winning the inaugural UFC women’s featherweight title. Despite the unanimity of the judges, many observers thought the decision should have gone to Holm.

Beyond that, there was the issue of two hard blows delivered by de Randamie, after the horn at the end of rounds two and three. No points were deducted by the referee.

De Randamie contended the late punches were unintentional. Holm said she had a hard time believing that.

The Holm camp filed a protest with the New York State Athletic Commission, aware that the appeal probably would be rejected. It was.

Saturday (Sunday morning in Abu Dhabi), Holm and de Randamie both won in impressive fashion – Holm (14-5) over Aldana by unanimous decision, de Randamie (10-4) by third-round technical submission (guillotine choke) over Julianna Peña.

Dana White, the UFC’s omnipresent president, oddly was not interviewed after Saturday’s card. It’s believed, though, that the outcome of Holm and de Randamie’s fights was not the outcome White was hoping for.

Holm lost to UFC bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes by first-round TKO (head kick, punches on the ground) in July 2019. De Randamie has lost to Nunes twice, most recently in December.

White, by what he’s said and what he hasn’t said, has made it clear he was hoping Aldana and/or Peña would win in Abu Dhabi. Neither has fought Nunes.

Neither of them did, nor is there anyone else in the bantamweight division who has a more legitimate claim to a title shot than Holm or de Randamie.

De Randamie is the No. 1 challenger according to the UFC’s rankings, Holm No. 2. Aspen Ladd, No. 3, has lost to de Randamie (and then tore an ACL). Peña is No. 4, Aldana No. 6. Raquel Pennington, No. 5, has lost once to de Randamie, twice to Holm. Ketlen Vieira, No. 7, was knocked out by Aldana in December.

In the meantime, Nunes, who also holds the featherweight title, is scheduled to defend that belt against Megan Anderson on Dec. 12. She wouldn’t be available to defend the bantamweight belt until spring 2021 at the earliest.

Thus, in the interim, a Holm-de Randamie title-elimination rematch would seem to make sense.

“That’s definitely an option,” Holm said after Saturday’s victory. “… I think everybody probably felt her and I might meet up again in there. We’ll see what happens.”

BIG NIGHT FOR J-W: Carlos Condit, Holm’s longtime teammate at Albuquerque’s Jackson-Wink MMA, snapped a five-fight losing streak in Abu Dhabi with a victory by unanimous decision over Court McGee.

Condit (31-13) has fought the best welterweight competition available over the course of his long career – Martin Kampmann, Rory McDonald, Nick Diaz, Georges St-Pierre, Jonny Hendricks, Tyron Woodley, Robby Lawler. Where he belongs today in a highly competitive 170-pound division, with Kamaru Usman at the top and the likes of Colby Covington, Gilbert Burns, et al, leading the challengers, is another question.

But, in Abu Dhabi, Condit, 36, demonstrated by word and deed that he’s up for anything and everything.

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