Amazingly, we’re already into February and the UFC is hosting only their first pay-per view of 2017 this Saturday with UFC 208 in Brooklyn. The main selling point of this event is the crowning of the inaugural women’s featherweight champion. This card underwent a number of changes before getting to where we are now. Derrick Lewis was originally scheduled to take on Travis Browne, but that match was moved to the headline fight of the next UFC Fight Night. Despite that we’ve got 5 fights on the main card. I’m gonna do my best to break them down for you guys.
#10 Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier (20-5) vs. Jim Miller (28-8)
Poirier has won 4 of his last 5, but is coming off a first round KO loss to Michael Johnson back in September. If you look at Poirier’s record, his losses in the UFC have only come from really high-caliber fighters including The Korean Zombie, Cub Swanson and Connor McGregor. Miller holds the record for the most wins in the UFC’S lightweight division and is coming in with a 3-fight winning streak. The odds are good as this one is going to go to the ground as both of these fighters have great submission skills. If they keep it in the stand-up the advantage has to go to Poirier, on the ground it’s really anyone’s guess, but the Las Vegas odds have Miller as the second biggest underdog on the main card.
#3 Glover Teixeira (25-5) vs. #15 Jared Cannonier (9-1)
Teixeria is coming off a brutal KO loss to Anthony Johnson in just 14 seconds back at UFC 202 and is looking to get back in the light heavyweight title picture. Cannonier is coming off back-to-back wins including his debut in the light heavyweight division against Ion Cutelaba back in December. Teixeira is the much more rounded fighter as his style is a good mix of striking and jiu-jitsu, but at 37 years-old the question has to be asked how many more good fights he has left in him. Cannonier has shown submission skills in the past, but will definitely be looking to keep this one in the stand-up to use his boxing skills and his speed. Cannonier is the underdog in this fight, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he’s able to pull out the victory and move up into the top 10 in the division.
#3 Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (23-4) vs. #13 Tim Boetsch (20-10)
The first middleweight fight on the main card features what the Las Vegas odds makers consider to be the most lopsided fight of the night. Boetsch is the biggest underdog on the main card and if you look at his record over his past 10 fights it’s not hard to see why. He’s won his last two fights both via KO, but had lost 3 in a row before that. He’s a well-rounded fighter with good wrestling and striking. Souza is the former Strikeforce middleweight champion and his only loss in his last 10 fights came against Yoel Romero via split decision. He might not have the striking power of Boetsch but his takedown and submission skills are some of the best in the division. Neither of these guys is the youngest, they’re 37 and 36 respectively. I think this has the potential to be either the best or the worst fight of the night depending on which Tim Boetsch shows up in Brooklyn on Saturday.
#7 Anderson “The Spider” Silva (33-8) vs. #8 Derek Brunson (16-4)
This fight could probably have headlined UFC 208, or at the very least a Fight Night. Anderson Silva is a true legend in MMA and holds more records in the UFC than just about anyone. At 41 years-old this is almost certainly his last chance to make a run at a title. I don’t know who is responsible for the UFC’S rankings or truth be told how much they even really matter, but Silva being ranked #7 seems a bit odd to me being as he’s lost 4 of his last 5 and the other fight was a no contest. Brunson is coming off a lost in his last outing, but had won the 5 previous before that. Both of these fighters are known for their striking ability, but can also get it done on the ground. Brunson is the Vegas favorite in the fight and the 8 year age difference certainly should give him the edge in speed. Honestly, for me this one is too close call, but I’d give the edge to Brunson.
Holy Holm (10-2) vs. Germaine de Randamie (6-3)
The headline fight of the night as I mentioned in the opener is being used to crown the inaugural featherweight champion in the UFC’s featherweight division. Holm is probably best known for being the first woman in the UFC to defeat Rhonda Rousey, when she KOed her in the second round to win the women’s bantamweight title at UFC 193. But she’s coming off back-to-back losses against Miesha Tate and Valentina Shevchenko. De Randamie was an undefeated kickboxing/Muay Thai champion whose only loss in the UFC came at the hands of current bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes back in 2013. Let’s be honest here, this is a striker versus a striker. These women are both multi-time world champions in fighting and I don’t think that anyone really expects this to go to the ground. One of the biggest issues surrounding this fight is the fact that Cris Cyborg, arguably the best featherweight in women’s MMA was not given the first shot at the title. Yes, she is facing a potential banned substance violation but she is still yet to be suspended. But enough of that. The second big topic surrounding this fight is that bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes has already called out the winner of this fight, saying she wants to be a two-division champion. The Las Vegas odds have this fight as pretty even and the MMA experts are giving Holm a slight advantage. Take that for what it’s worth.
I want to take a second to “fantasy book” what I see as the two most likely scenarios based on whoever wins this fight. If Holm wins, I think that the UFC “scrambles” to try to get the fight between her and Nunes as soon as possible to headline a PPV. This would push back Nunes’ scheduled fight with Valentina Shevchenko back to probably the late fall. If de Randamie wins and depending on what happens with Cyborg, I think Nunes fights Valentina, the UFC has de Randamie fight Cyborg (if possible) or basically anyone else and then has the winner of that fight take on Nunes. De Randamie vs. Nunes just isn’t the draw right now that Holm vs. Nunes is and I think the UFC would want to have de Randamie defend her title at least once before fighting Nunes.
That’s it from us. What do you guys think of the UFC 208 card? Are you watching? Tell us about it in the comments.
Image from www.ufc.com