LAS VEGAS — Cris Cyborg won a 5-round decision against Holly Holm in UFC 219 before an appreciative, blood-thirsty crowd at T-Mobile Arena, seeing a hard-fought, rather lukewarm match between a well-conditioned All-American blonde from New Mexico and a caged animal/woman from Brazil.
Cyborg lived up to her hype by dominating the entire fight. Neither women ever really connected with their abundant kicks; but a few punches did land solidly on skulls – significantly more by Cris than by Holly.
Holly looked scared even before the fight started. I mean, it’s good not to underestimate your opponent; but don’t look like you really could use one more visit to the lavatory before the bell rings.
Cyborg was cool as a cucumber throughout the match, even when Holly finally got Cris nicely in the head in the 5th. It had no follow-up. It was like catching a perch in a lake full of walleye. Like looking for a needle in a haystack and finding a book by Matt Lauer.
Had it not been for Holm’s superior conditioning, Cyborg would’ve taken her out with the trailer trash. Another thing that kept Cris from knocking out Holly was her shorter legs. I bet Holly had a reach advantage with her meaty thighs. I mean, ah, muscular thighs. I mean, gloriously gangly gams.
The first two rounds were pretty nondescript. Cyborg did land a few blows to the head; but no pleasure was received from the crowd in the way of Holly going down to the canvas.
At the start of Round 3, Holly had a stream of blood running down her cheek from her left eye; but it didn’t look like it really fazed her all-too much. She did throw a few disturbingly lame half-kicks; but then again, Holm still mustered the energy to kick quickly near Cyborg’s head throughout the fight. Cyborg would quickly brush her glove by her ear, like she had just heard a mosquito.
Cyborg’s kicks rarely went near Holly’s head. It was the controlled animal intensity of her punches, and her inside attacks that were the difference in this fight. Holm had no answer for Cyborg when she moved in with her punches. Holm’s kicks kept Cyborg at bay for the majority of the fight. There was a lot of hemming and hawing from both fighters; but, ultimately, Cyborg’s superior animal energy was too much for the frightened girl from the red-rocked desert.
It sort of lived up to my nickname as “The Mother of all Catfights.” I’d rather’ve seen a more cinematic victory by one of the ladies, though — like when Holly beat Ronda; but I’m glad no one got hurt. There was one moment when it looked like Holly may’ve walked into a knockout right; but, again, Cyborg’s inferior reach saved Holm from certain ruin.
It wasn’t cool in that sad fight when Holly hit Ronda after she was out cold; so, I really should be happy with the way this one ended – with the final bell and a mutual lady bear hug – without a single, savory knockdown. Unlike that ultimately ignoble fight, the crowd at B-Dubs was subdued afterwards, not cheering for Cyborg like blood-thirsty asshats, indifferent to the head blow to an unconscious Ronda that split open her lower lip as she lay sprawled helplessly on the canvas. I did see a few silent smiles, though; so there were a few beer guzzlers rooting for the Brazilian.
I think UFC fights need to ban hitting fighters once they are down, especially once they are unconscious. If they won’t do it, then their fights should no longer be sanctioned anywhere on Earth. And not allowing an unconscious person to be punched in the head by a martial artist is not a good example of governmental overreach, if that is where you are going…
I was torn as far as who to root for. But when I gasped at the near-miss into Holly’s head, I realized my heart was with my American sistah. But, part of me wanted Cyborg to give Holm a lesson in karma. I think I owe Cyborg an apple. What do you think? A Granny Smith?
What is next for the bottle-redheaded Cyborg? Well, perhaps Mike Tyson can start taking estrogen and have a shrink sign off on a new gender? That might be a good fight.