The UFC is back this weekend with UFC 208, which takes place Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The event features a title fight in the main event as well as a number of other quality fights filling out the rest of the card, and it should be a fun night of fights for fans.
Here are the five things to watch for at UFC 208.
1) Holm, de Randamie Battle
The main event of UFC 208 is a five-round fight for the vacant women’s featherweight title fight between Holly Holm ($8,000) and Germaine de Randamie ($8,200). Holm is 3-2 in the UFC but has lost her last two fights. The 35-year-old is a high-level striker who is known for her devastating knockout win over Ronda Rousey which saw her become the UFC women’s bantamweight champion. However, she lost her belt to Miesha Tate and then lost to Valentina Shevchenko which is why she is moving up a weight class for a fresh start.
As for de Randamie, she’s 3-1 in the UFC and has won her last two fights by knockout. The 32-year-old is a devastating striker, but she hasn’t fought against a high-level of competition and the one top fighter she did fight, Amanda Nunes, destroyed her. Still, in this fight pitting striker against striker, it’s a close one to call, but at the very least should be exciting for the fans.
Analysis: This is a well-matched fight that will determine the first-ever UFC women’s featherweight champion. Both Holm and de Randamie are accomplished strikers and both women possess knockout power. However, I believe the X-factor here is Holm’s experience in five-round fights. If de Randamie doesn’t win the fight early there’s a good chance she gasses and Holm can take over late. It’s a tough fight to call, but I lean towards Holm to outwork de Randamie and win the fight by decision or late stoppage.
2) Silva Returns Against Brunson
Former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva ($7,900) looks to earn his first official victory since 2012 when he takes on Derek Brunson ($8,300) in the co-main event. Silva is 16-4, 1 NC overall in the UFC and is widely considered one of the sport’s all-time greatest fighters. However, he is now 41-year-old and has not won a fight in nearly five years. He is still a dangerous striker, and to be fair to Silva, he’s only lost to elite competition, but his chin has looked very questionable in his last few fights and it’s clear he’s on the downside of his career. Having said that, Brunson is the worst fighter he’s fought in a long time compared to his recent competition, so this is a winnable fight for Silva.
As for Brunson, he’s 7-2 overall in the UFC and is coming off of a KO loss to Robert Whittaker. The 33-year-old is a powerful wrestler who has knockout power in his hands, but he was far too aggressive against Whittaker and paid the price. Brunson still has the potential to be a top-10 middleweight and a win over Silva would put him on the map, but with a questionable chin, this could prove to be a difficult matchup.
Analysis: Brunson was on a roll before the Whittaker fight, but that fight exposed his weakness, which is his chin. Silva is one of the sport’s all-time greatest knockout artists, and if he can connect on Brunson’s chin, he will win this fight. Brunson is too aggressive at times, and Silva is incredible at countering. I’m looking for Silva to catch Brunson rushing in and win the fight by KO.
3) Jacare Looks To Stay Busy
Middleweight title contender Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza ($9,500) looks to build his case for a title shot when he takes on Tim Boetsch ($6,700). Jacare is 6-1 overall in the UFC and is coming off of a knockout win over Vitor Belfort. The 37-year-old is one of the most dangerous and well-rounded middleweights in the sport and on any given day could beat anyone in the division.
As for Boetsch, the 36-year-old is 9-7 overall as a middleweight in the UFC and is currently riding a two-fight win streak with KOs over Rafael Natal and the late Josh Samman. He’s a big-time knockout artist and has shown the ability to surprise in his career. However, his submission defense is lacking, and going against a ground wizard like Jacare, this looks like a big mismatch on paper.
Analysis: Boetsch does have KO power, but overall Jacare is just way better everywhere and should dominate this fight. I think Jacare will get this fight to the ground and win by submission, potentially earning him a middleweight title shot.
4) Teixeira Gets Rebound Fight
Top light heavyweight *Glover Teixeira ($8,700)* looks to bounce back from a KO loss to Anthony Johnson in his last fight when he takes on the emerging Jared Cannonier ($7,500). Teixeira is 8-3 in the UFC and was riding a wave of momentum before running into Johnson’s uppercut and getting knocked out cold. Now the 37-year-old will need to beat Cannonier to get back on track.
Cannonier lost his UFC debut to Shawn Jordan but has since gone 2-0 and looked incredible in his light heavyweight debut against Ion Cutelaba back in December. However, the overall level of competition the 32-year-old has faced has been fairly low and Teixeira represents by far the toughest opponent of his career to date, making for an interesting matchup.
Analysis: Cannonier has been extremely impressive his last few fights, but Teixeira is a big step up in competition. Teixeira should be able to match Cannonier on the feet, and if this fight hits the ground, the Brazilian has a huge advantage. I think Teixeira will get this fight to the ground, where he has a good chance to win via submission.
5) Poirier Takes On Surging Miller
A lightweight battle between Dustin Poirier ($9,300) and Jim Miller ($6,700) kicks off the main card. Since moving up to 155lbs, Poirier has emerged as a serious contender, going 4-1 overall at his new weight class with three knockout wins. However, the 28-year-old was brutally knocked out by Michael Johnson in his last fight and needs an impressive win to bounce back if he wants to be a title contender again.
Miller won’t make that easy, though. The 33-year-old vet is 17-7, 1 NC overall in the UFC, and is currently riding a three-fight win streak. He’s one of the most durable and experienced lightweights in the UFC and should make for a capable opponent for Poirier in what should be an intriguing opening PPV bout.
Analysis: Miller has been on a nice roll lately, but this should be a good matchup for Poirier to bounce back and get a win. Poirier is a lot younger, he’s the better striker, and on the ground he should be able to match up with Miller. I think Poirier will outwork the veteran and either win a clear decision or earn a stoppage victory.
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