The inaugural UFC women’s featherweight title is up for grabs when former bantamweight champ Holly Holm battles Germaine de Randamie in the main event of UFC 208 on Saturday night.
Let’s take a look at how the headlining bout might play as well as the rest of the UFC 208 main card might play out
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Holly Holm vs. Germaine de Randamie
Holly Holm looks for her second UFC title this weekend against gritty striker Germaine de Randamie.
On paper, de Randamie holds many statistical advantages over Holm. She lands more strikes per minute (3.30 to 3.08), is more accurate (landing 48 percent of strikes compared to 32 percent for Holm) and does a great job of avoiding damage by successfully defending 72 percent of the strikes thrown her way.
Holm’s advantage, however, is in the level of competition both fighters have faced. While Holm has faced former champion Miesha Tate, Ronda Rousey and No. 1 contender Valentia Shevchenko, de Randamie has not beaten any fighters with a win inside the Octagon.
You can only fight who is front of you, though, and de Randamie has done that, notching back-to-back knockouts since 2015. She also has an extensive Muay Thai record, with 10 championships under belt, so the moment surely won’t be too big for her.
This fight will come down to whether Holm can use her counterstriking to exploit de Randamie’s aggressive striking style and avoid the clinch. If she can do that, she should be able to box her way to the title.
Prediction: Holly Holm by decision
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Anderson Silva vs. Derek Brunson
If I’d told you five years ago Anderson Silva would be in position to lose his third straight fight, you probably would have laughed. But here we are, a few days out from UFC 208 and Silva desperately needs a win if he ever wants to reclaim his belt.
We aren’t counting him out just yet, however, as Silva, one of the deadliest counterpunchers in UFC history, gets a somewhat favorable matchup against Derek Brunson.
Brunson has a rare combination of speed and power and finished four straight opponents in the first round before his aggression was exploited by Robert Whittaker.
If Brunson answers the opening bell like a bull in a china shop -- like he did against Whittaker -- he’ll have a long night against Silva, who has a long history of surviving firestorms only to embarrass his opponent.
This one could really go either way, but I’m leaning toward the legend.
Prediction: Anderson Silva by second-round submission
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“Jacare” Souza vs. Tim Boetsch
Third-ranked middleweight “Jacare” Souza is probably next in line to fight for the title shot but instead of waiting around, he decided to accept a fight against 13th-ranked Tim Boetsch.
Boetsch has a lot to gain by beating Souza on Saturday but it’ll be much easier said than done. The heavy handed 36-year-old has finished his last two fights by knockout but he’ll be hard-pressed to do so against Jacare, who hasn’t been stopped since 2008.
Boetsch’s strength is his wrestling but given Jacare’s world class ground game, Boetsch would be smart to try to keep the fight standing and only wrestle to combat Jacare’s jiu-jitsu.
It’s a fight, so anything can happen, but odds are, Jacare is just too talented to stumble here against Boetsch.
Prediction: Jacare Souza by first-round submission
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Glover Teixeira vs. Jared Cannonier
After losing his first UFC fight by first-round KO, Jared Cannonier impressed in his next two bouts and parlayed a successful 2016 into a huge fight against third-ranked Glover Teixeira.
The bout will hands down be the toughest fight of Cannonier’s career. Cannonier, like Teixeira, is primarily a boxer and he’s only attempted two takedowns in his UFC career -- so expect this fight to stay standing.
With that being said, Teixeira has a clear advantage on the feet and the longer the fight stays there, the more it tilts in his favor.
Prediction: Glover Teixeira by third-round TKO
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Dustin Poirier vs. Jim Miller
In what could end up at Fight of the Night, well-rounded lightweights Dustin Poirier and Jim Miller kick off the UFC 208 main card.
Poirier has looked fantastic since jumping to lightweight while Miller has seen a career resurgence lately after winning his last three fights.
Miller has devastating combinations and does an excellent job of mixing in takedowns to keep his opponents off balance. When he does get the fight to the canvas, he feverishly looks for submissions, notching at least two submission attempts per fight.
Poirier is also very capable on the ground but has fallen in love with his striking recently and for good reason. He averages over one knockdown a fight, well over the UFC average, and is incredibly accurate despite his high output.
Miller will surely put up a damn good fight, but we think Poirier will be a bit too much at this point in his career.