UFC 208 will be the first pay-per-view event of 2017. However, it doesn’t appear to be off to a good start. This card has received lots of criticism about the lack of a main event, especially for being a New York card. Nevertheless, UFC 208 still looks to be a card worth tuning in to! Here are some of the big fights going down as well as a little bit of analysis:
Holly Holm vs Germaine de Randamie
In the main event, two women will duke it out to become the first ever women’s UFC featherweight champion. This newly established 145 lb division is being created so some of the bigger bantamweights, and even fighters above bantamweight, can still fight in the UFC. Both Holm and de Randamie have previously competed mostly at 135 lbs, but theoretically we should be seeing improved versions both since the weight cut will be less severe.
Holm entered the UFC undefeated, but largely disappointed in her earlier appearances. That was up until she landed the infamous left high kick to knock Ronda Rousey out and win the bantamweight title. However, she lost it immediately after when she got choked out in the fifth round by Miesha Tate – a fight Holm was winning. Then, in an attempt to rebound, Holm was upset by Valentina Shevchenko via unanimous decision.
Now, Holm arguably has her back against the fence as she could be facing a third straight loss.
Holm and de Randamie have gone down very similar paths. Of course, Holm has an extensive boxing record, but de Randamie has an equally impressive kickboxing pedigree.
Both Holm and de Randamie have been slowly figuring out how to morph their striking skills into the MMA setting. Holm has had lots of success up until recent, going 10-0 before losing to Tate. De Randamie however has had some speed bumps along the way, including a quick TKO loss to Amanda Nunes for her third professional defeat.
De Randamie hasn’t faced the elite competition like Holm has. This is the main difference. They’re both excellent strikers, but I expect Holm will be willing to bring the fight to other realms that de Randamie isn’t quite as solid. Holm is by no means an excellent grappler, but against de Randamie she’ll likely have the advantage.
On the feet, the two have vastly different styles. Holm does her best work when she’s countering over-aggressive opponents. However, several fighters have put out the blueprint on how to beat her – make her move forward. When Holm is moving forward, her striking becomes much less effective, and she moves in predictable pattersn. De Randamie might be able to exploit this, but I believe Holm and her camp will have a solution to this.
After all, de Randamie is rather aggressive herself, and will likely be moving forward. This plays well into Holm’s game, so I’m banking on Holm for the win.
Anderson Silva vs Derek Brunson
In the co-main event of UFC 208, we have a middleweight contest between top ten fighters. The former king Anderson Silva returns to action against top 10 Derek Brunson.
We last saw Silva stepping up on short notice against light-heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier. Of course, Silva lost the fight, but let’s not forget how much of a force Silva is at 185 lbs. Even though Silva is on a bit of a skid, his only losses are to champion-caliber fighters: Daniel Cormier, Michael Bisping, Chirs Weidman.
Brunson meanwhile is coming off a KO loss to fellow contender Robert Whittaker. Before that, he was on a big 5-fight win streak with 4 finishes.
Compared to Silva’s recent opponents, Brunson is a step down, but that doesn’t mean Brunson can’t win. Brunson has big punching power, and is more than willing to take risks to chase the KO. However, against such a skilled counter striker like Silva, Brunson’s blitzing style could give him some trouble.
The big x-factor in this fight is how quick Silva’s reflexes are. At 41 years of age, Silva is definitely not as sharp or as quick as he used to be. Does he still have the wits to take out a top ten fighter like Brunson? I think so, but we’ll see!
Ronaldo Souza vs Tim Boetsch
In what might be considered a mismatch, big-time favorite ‘Jacare’ Souza meets Tim Boetsch. As is stands, Souza is probably due for a middleweight title shot, but the opportunity hasn’t presented itself yet. So, he meets ranked contender Boetsch, who is on a 2-fight win streak.
If the two ever engage in any striking exchanges, then Boetsch has a chance at pulling off the upset. We know Boetsch has a unique ability to rally back from the jaws of defeat, but will he even get the opportunity in this fight? Souza is one of the very best at neutralizing dangerous strikers, and imposing his sensational grappling skills. I expect Souza will be able to slice his way through Boetsch on the mat.
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