UFC 208: Holm vs. de Randamie
The UFC makes another foray into the state of New York for UFC 208: Holm vs. de Randamie at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The card features the first ever women’s featherweight title bout, with Germaine de Randamie taking on Holly Holm. In the co-main event, #8 ranked middleweight Derek Brunson faces the #7 ranked and former pound-for-pound king Anderson Silva. I’m here once again to offer my take on each bout, and hopefully that will lead to some money in your pocket! Let’s get to the picks.
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Germaine de Randamie ($8,200) vs. Holly Holm ($8,000)
The UFC will award a new belt in this headlining bout, a women’s featherweight contest featuring Germaine de Randamie and Holly Holm. With the suspension of Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino, the UFC had to scramble to make a title fight in the new weight class. Holm is in desperation mode here, having lost her last 2 bouts following her rise to stardom after brutally knocking out Ronda Rousey at UFC 193. She has the opportunity to become the first woman to be a multi-division champion, and just the 4th fighter overall in the UFC. Germaine de Randamie enters this championship bout on a 2-fight win streak following a TKO loss to bantamweight champ, Amanda Nunes. Despite lacking arguably the best (scariest) women’s fighter on the planet, this fight has the makings of a good one. The UFC definitely set up a fan-friendly stylistic matchup with two elite strikers. This bout could quite possibly take place entirely on the feet. Holm is a multiple-time multi-division champion in boxing, with a lifetime record of 32-2-3. She reached the pinnacle of boxing prior to her move to MMA. de Randamie is also world class, owning an astounding record of 46-0 in Muay Thai and Kickboxing, with multiple titles in both disciplines. This fight is a toss-up, with de Randamie as a slight favorite, and it can truly go either way. I’m going to roll with Holm in this one. The x-factor for me is her experience against high-level experience, as well as high-profile bouts. Since debuting with the UFC in 2013, de Randamie has won fights over much less talented opponents, with 2 of them retiring shortly after. Though Holly has dropped her last 2, she has stood toe to toe with elite level women’s bantamweights. I think she counters de Randamie’s attacks, and hits her with the better combinations. The pick is Holm by unanimous decision.
Derek Brunson ($8,300) vs. Anderson Silva ($7,900)
Derek Brunson and Anderson Silva both will look to right the ship against each other in the co-main event of the evening. Brunson had a 5-fight winning streak snapped in his last appearance, a 1st round TKO loss to Robert Whittaker. Silva has fallen pretty far since his time as the pound-for-pound king, technically winless in his last 5 fights. A decision win over Nick Diaz in 2015 was overturned to a no-contest after both men failed post-fight drug tests. His last victory was over Stephan Bonnar in 2012. I believe this will shape out to be an entertaining fight for the fans, with both fighters employing entertaining styles. Brunson is the favorite here, and rightfully so, but I have a feeling we see a throwback performance from “The Spider.” Silva will be hungry for a much-needed victory, especially after dropping the decision to Michael Bisping a year ago, in a fight that Silva just narrowly missed winning. Bisping looked out cold after a flying knee landed flush just before the end of round three. With Bisping now champion, the middleweight division is wide open, and a win would put Silva seemingly back into the mix. After a competitive first round, I see Silva opening up in the second round, then ending the fight with a classic highlight-reel finish. The pick is “The Spider” by KO in the 2nd round.
Jacare Souza ($9,500) vs. Tim Boetsch ($6,700)
A winner in 9 of his last 10 bouts, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza looks to make a statement in hopes of potentially challenging the winner of the Michael Bisping/Yoel Romero middleweight title fight. Opposing him will be fan-favorite, Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch. Jacare rebounded from a controversial loss to Romero with a dominant victory over Vitor Belfort at UFC 198 in May. He’s on the short list of Middleweight contenders, and could earn a future title shot with a great performance here. Boetsch has been on a bit of a run since a 3-fight losing streak, winning his last 2 bouts by KO and TKO. He’ll face his toughest opponent since a loss to Luke Rockhold in 2014. This bout is one of the simpler ones I’ve ever had to dissect. Jacare is the more skilled fighter in every facet of the game, and should prove that pretty quickly here. He’s a jiu-jitsu wizard, having won multiple world championships. Boetsch has about as much heart as any fighter that has graced The Octagon, and he’s going to need it against Jacare. Not long after the opening bell, Jacare should land a trip, a takedown, or a punch that will put Boetsch on the mat. Once there, Jacare will catch a submission and mercifully end Boetsch’s night. The pick is Jacare Souza via submission in the 1st round.
Glover Teixeira ($8,700) vs. Jared Cannonier ($7,500)
Glover Teixeira will look to bounce back from an embarrassing 13 second KO loss to Anthony Johnson when he faces Alaskan Jared Cannonier. The loss to Johnson halted an impressive 3-fight win streak, all coming by stoppage. In Cannonier, he faces a little-known, but extremely dangerous opponent. Following a loss in his debut fight with the promotion, Cannonier has rattled off 2 straight wins inside The Octagon. Teixeira will undoubtedly represent the toughest test to date for the 32-year-old fighting out of Anchorage, Alaska. As with quite a few bouts on this card, this fight could be an entertaining one, while it lasts anyway. Both men will look to take the center of the cage, and dominate the bout with power strikes. Eventually one of these guys is going to get caught, and I’m banking on it being Cannonier. Cannonier is a capable fighter, and should have a moderately successful career in the UFC, but he’s running into a buzz saw here with Teixeira. Until I see Teixeria slow down, there aren’t many fights I won’t pick him to win. He’s the bigger man here, and has the experience edge. Teixeira overwhelms Cannonier late in the 1st round, taking home a TKO win.
Dustin Poirier ($9,300) vs. Jim Miller ($6,900)
This fight will kick off the main card, and should be a great one based on each fighter’s style. Both men like to put constant pressure on their opponents, and are extremely well rounded. Miller will be making his 26th appearance with the UFC, yet is shockingly only 33 years old. Miller has rebounded nicely from a stretch of 4 losses in 5 fights, emerging victorious in his last 3 bouts against tough competition. Poirier looks to rebound from a brutal KO loss to Michael Johnson in September, and a win over Miller would put him right back in the mix at 155 pounds. Prior to the loss to Johnson, Poirier had ripped off 4 straight wins after moving back to lightweight following a loss to Conor McGregor at featherweight. I can’t stress this enough; this should be a fun one. Poirier had an incredibly exciting fight with Chan Sung Jung in 2012, and I think this fight could resemble that bout. Though Miller has impressed as of late, I think Poirier gets the win here. I see “The Diamond” winning the exchanges on the feet with quicker hands. Should Miller take it to the mat, which is where he could possibly have success, I see Poirier being competent enough to stifle any offense there. I think Poirier avoids the takedown, and picks Miller apart for 3 rounds with the speed advantage. A late TKO could come, but I see Miller toughing it out before dropping the fight on the score cards. The pick is Dustin Poirier by decision.
Randy Brown ($8,400) vs. Belal Muhammad ($7,800)
New York City’s own Randy Brown hopes to ride a tidal wave of home crowd support as the young prospect headlines the preliminary card against Belal Muhammad. Brown has done well for himself in his young UFC career, winning 3 of 4 fights, and now gets a nationally televised fight right before the main card of a pay-per-view event. He’s grown as a fighter from his first career loss, rebounding with 2 straight wins by stoppage. His opponent, Belal Muhammad, has not had the same success in his UFC career to this point. A KO loss to Vicente Luque in November dropped his record to 1-2 inside the UFC, and he desperately needs a win over Brown here to save his spot on the promotion’s ever-growing roster. UFC match-maker Sean Shelby seemingly has decided to feed Muhammad to the wolves here, as I believe Brown is the far superior talent to this point, and will prove so in dominant fashion. Brown will outclass Muhammad, and will cruise to a clear-cut unanimous decision win by dominating the striking exchanges, as well as the ground game should the fight go there. Randy Brown by decision is my pick.
Wilson Reis ($9,600) vs. Ulka Sasaki ($6,600)
Undoubtedly disappointed by not yet securing a title shot against flyweight king Demetrious Johnson, Wilson Reis will attempt to earn a crack at the belt by defeating Japan’s Ulka Sasaki. Originally scheduled to challenge Johnson at UFC 201, Reis instead faced and defeated short-notice replacement Hector Sandoval, after Johnson withdrew from the bout due to injury. Surely wanting to stay active while Johnson fulfilled his obligation to fight the flyweight winner of TUF, he’ll face the seemingly outmatched Sasaki. At 2-2 in the UFC since his debut in August 2014, a loss to Reis will more than likely end his UFC tenure. This is another one of those bouts that won’t be too hard to preview. Reis is by far the more skilled fighter, and should blitz Sasaki. This is MMA, so it’s hardly a sure thing, but barring a monumental upset, Reis will walk away with his hand raised, and quick. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion will take little time in creating an opportunity on the mat to find a submission. Reis makes a strong case for the next crack at Demetrious Johnson with a 1st round submission win in this one.
Islam Makhachev ($8,800) vs. Nik Lentz ($7,400)
If ground fighting doesn’t do it for you, go ahead and skip this bout. The perennial champion in combat sambo, Islam Makhachev takes on former division 1 wrestler Nik Lentz. Lentz is an absolute grinder, and while his style doesn’t appease the casual fan, he’s extremely dominant hwne he can get you down to the mat. I’m interested to see who will get the upper hand in the grappling department, as it is truly a toss-up. Lentz has looked impressive in his return to lightweight, but he’s got his work cut out for him against Makhachev. I think Makhachev has what it takes to be the next young dominant fighter from Russia. This is one of the harder fights on the card to pick a winner, but I’m rolling with Makhachev. The 25-year-old will get the upper hand on Lentz, outmuscling him in the clinch game. Makhachev smothers Lemtz for 3 rounds en route to a dominant decision victory.
Ian McCall ($8,100) vs. Jarred Brooks ($8,100)
After 5 straight bouts were scrapped, Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall will finally (hopefully) get to step into the cage when he fights UFC newcomer Jarred Brooks. Brooks makes his debut with an impressive 12-0 record, replacing Neil Seery. He’ll face a stern test right away, as McCall is still a world-class fighter despite his recent struggles. If his head is on straight, he’s more than capable of beating the best of the flyweight division. McCall will need to be wary of the power Brooks has to offer with his stocky frame, resembling John Lineker, who bullied McCall in his last fight. If McCall gets caught flat footed, it will end up being another miserable night for him. Should McCall come in prepared mentally, and in shape, he has the tools to give the newcomer his first setback. Being the bigger, and lankier fighter, McCall should be able to use his jab from a distance to set up combinations, or a takedown with his above average wrestling chops. Again, if “Uncle Creepy” is on, he’ll take this bout in my opinion. Brooks is a great prospect, but I think he’s overmatched here in his debut. This is a giant step up in competition, and he’s much smaller, having competed at strawweight. To me, this is just McCall’s fight to lose. If he hasn’t improved mentally, then Brooks could easily take this, so hopefully he’s improved everything that has held him back thus far. McCall mixes his striking and wrestling here, and wins a hard-fought decision.
Prelims (UFC Fight Pass)
Marcin Tybura ($8,600) vs. Justin Willis ($7,600)
Heavyweights Marcin Tybura and Justin Willis throw down in the headliner of the UFC Fight Pass portion of the preliminary card. The Polish Tybura is 1-1 in his young UFC career, while Willis makes his debut as a short-notice replacement. Willis was featured frequently in the TV series “Fight Factory,” based on fighters who train at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California. “Big Buff” has won 4 fights in a row since a loss in his professional debut, though he has only fought a total of 5 times since 2012. Though admirable of Willis to take this bout, he seems to be in over his head in this one. Tybura is much more experienced, with a 14-2 professional record. This one ends quick, with Tybura landing a big shot early. The pick is Marcin Tybura by knockout in round 1.
Ryan LeFlare ($9,000) vs. Roan Carneiro ($7,200)
Once one of the brighter prospects in recent memory, Ryan LeFlare makes his return to The Octagon following a long injury layoff, last competing in December 2015. He won’t be eased back into competition, as he faces grappling ace, Roan Carneiro. Carneiro won his return to the welterweight division, where he seems to be most effective. LeFlare rattled off 4 straight wins to open his UFC career before he was derailed by Demian Maia. He won his last bout over Mike Pierce before enduring injuries that would hold him out until now. Carneiro is 2-1 since his return to the UFC, with a KO loss to Derek Brunson chasing him back to 170 pounds where he should have been all along. While a sizable favorite, LeFlare has his hands full here in his return, as Carneiro is extremely underrated, and can submit anyone when he’s on his game. LeFlare struggled against the grappler Maia, and I’m suspicious of his ground game against a solid jiu-jitsu fighter like Carneiro. While he’s no Demian Maia, he’s definitely capable of submitting LeFlare. I think he does end up submitting him. While he may struggle in the striking department, there is no denying Carneiro’s prowess on the mat. Carneiro eventually drags LeFlare to the mat, where he finishes him off via submission in the 2nd round.
Rick Glenn ($8,900) vs. Phillipe Nover ($7,300)
Lightweights kick off the card with Rick Glenn taking on Brooklyn’s own, Phillipe Nover. Nover has been largely unimpressive since Dana White declared him, “The next Anderson Silva” on season 8 of The Ultimate Fighter. He lost his first 3 bouts with the promotion following the show, and is in the midst of a 1-2 run since his return to the promotion. Rick Glenn dropped his debut with the UFC to Evan Dunham, but is an impressive 18-4 in his professional career, including wins over solid competition. It would be a feel-good story for the hometown underdog to walk away victorious, setting the tone for a good card, but I just don’t see it here. Nover has continually lost fights that he “should” win, and is getting a tough, talented opponent here. Until I see different, I can’t comfortably pick Nover in any fight. Brooklyn gets a gut check early, with Glenn walking out of the cage victorious. Glenn will pick Nover apart for 3 rounds, avoiding any serious damage. The pick is Glenn by unanimous decision.
Holly Holm ($8,000)
Anderson Silva ($7,900)
Jacare Souza ($9,500)
Dustin Poirier ($9,300)
Ian McCall ($8,100)
Roan Carneiro ($7,200)