As far as redemption stories go, Saturday night was a good start for Germaine de Randamie.
The Dutch kickboxer was subjected to widespread scorn in the mixed martial arts world when she relinquished her inaugural UFC featherweight title rather than defend the belt against Cris Cyborg.
But de Randamie returned to the cage at UFC Denver for her first fight since winning the title against Holly Holm 22 months ago, and she returned to the win column in an efficient manner.
In hostile territory against Colorado native Raquel Pennington at Pepsi Center, de Randamie put on a clinic, as she throughly outclassed her opponent with her striking and cruised to a 30-27 across-the-board unanimous decision.
The bout, which was scheduled for bantamweight, was contested at a 138-pound catchweight after Pennington missed weight Friday.
The opening round told the story of the fight. Pennington found some success in the clinch and held her own in that regard. But she was never able to turn that aspect of the fight into any sustained offense. De Randamie, meanwhile, picked Pennington apart with crisp strikes of all sorts when Pennington wasn’t able to close the distance. It was a rinse-and-repeat performance for 15 minutes.
De Randamie improved to 8-3 with her fourth straight win, while Pennington (15-7), who was coming off a loss to bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes, has now lost two in a row.