LAS VEGAS – Cris Cyborg claimed the championship victory. Holly Holm, at the very least, walked away with a moral victory.
Holm kept up with the UFC women’s featherweight champion for five rounds and pushed her to the distance for the first time since 2008, but Cyborg landed the heavier punches to earn the unanimous decision in the UFC 219 main event Saturday at T-Mobile Arena.
The judges scored it 49-46, 48-47, 48-47 for the Brazilian phenom, who hasn’t lost since her MMA debut 12 years ago.
The fight was closer than people might realize. Two judges gave Holm the first two rounds, which meant it was tied 38-38 on two judges’ cards and a decisive fifth round would have won Holm the fight.
Cyborg, in her post-fight interview, thanked Holm and, when asked what’s next, Cyborg singled out the Invicta FC champion who lives Down Under.
“Thank you to Holly Holm. She is an amazing fighter and I had a great time fighting her tonight,” the Huntington Beach resident said. “I would like to fight Megan Anderson next and I would like to do it in Australia. I’ve got a lot of fans there.”
One potential blockbuster would be against UFC bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes, though Cyborg has indicated she would prefer not to fight a fellow Brazilian and would rather fight a 145-pounder in order to grow the division.
“If (Amanda) wants to fight me, I’ll fight anybody (UFC President) Dana White puts in front of me,” Cyborg said before noting she would only accept a fight with Nunes at 145 pounds, not at a catchweight of 140 pounds.
Holm peppered Cyborg from the start and bloodied her nose in the opening round, but Cyborg (19-1, 1 NC) countered Holm’s lefts with stiff rights.
By the second round, Holm (11-4) was having more success landing in bunches, but her left eye began to swell.
At the end of the third round, Cyborg staggered Holm with a Superman punch. In the championship fourth and fifth rounds, Holm was game and never backed down, but Cyborg…