Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is poised to make history by creating a women’s featherweight division, which begins with a 145-pound championship title fight between former bantamweights Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie.
That takes place in the UFC 208 five-round pay-per-view (PPV) main event tomorrow night (Sat., Feb. 11, 2017) inside Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, the promotion’s third event in “The Empire State” following last year’s legislation.
In the UFC 208 co-main event, ex-middleweight kingpin and former pound-for-pound deity Anderson Silva continues his search for the win column in a dangerous 185-pound showdown against top contender Derek Brunson.
All that and so much more.
Now then, let’s take a closer look at the UFC 208 main and co main event.
145 lbs.: Holly “Preacher’s Daughter” Holm (10-2) vs. Germaine “Iron Lady” de Randamie (6-3)
Holly Holm, a decorated boxing champion, destroyed Ronda Rousey in what can only be described as a masterful performance, the kind of one-sided drubbing that intoxicates fans and creates fertile soil for a promotion that lives and dies on marketing prowess.
What the heck happened to her?
The answer, regrettably, is that she may have never been the fighter she was against Rousey, but instead got a gift from the fight gods, at least in terms of combat sports matchmaking. A powerful, precise counter striker facing a lumbering, flat-footed bomb dropper.
How did so many of us not see that coming?
Take away her “Rowdy” performance and what we’re left with is a very, very underwhelming UFC career at 2-2, with a pair of tepid decisions and two high-profile losses. Holm looked positively pedestrian against Miesha Tate — at least in terms of the ground game — and then forgot to convert her ring punches into cage punches against Valentina Shevchenko.
Can we really blame that on weight cutting?
Interestingly enough, there are parallels here between Holm and fellow UFC 208 headliner Germaine de Randamie. “The Iron Lady” had the kind of run in professional Muay Thai that reads like a work of fiction, going 46 straight fights without a loss and racking up 30 finishes along the way.
That domination did not carry over to the cage and De Randamie only has three finishes in six wins, though she does seem to have finally found her groove. Do we celebrate the decimation of Larissa Pacheco and Anna Elmose?
Both are winless in UFC.
De Randamie does her best work in the clinch (duh) and she’s probably one of the stronger women on the UFC roster. Then again, so is Holm, whose neck is shaped like a fire hydrant. There will be no grappling in this championship encounter and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Might not be a good thing, either.
This contrast in styles could leave us with a bloodbath … or 25 minutes of cat and mouse. Holm does her best work when her opponent does all the work for her, but I’m not sure how eager De Randamie will be to follow the disastrous blueprint set forth by Rousey. The first round will tell us all we need to know about the remaining four.
Final prediction: Holm def. De Randamie by unanimous decision
185 lbs.: Anderson “The Spider” Silva (33-8, 1 NC) vs. Derek Brunson (16-4)
Remember when Vitor Belfort fell off — hard — and fans used to say before every fight, “Well if the old Vitor shows up” … that’s kind of where we’re at with former middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
It’s hard to get a read on what “The Spider” has left just two months shy of his 42nd birthday. It’s not fair to punish him for losing a wrestling match against the bigger and heavier Daniel Cormier at UFC 200, but getting rocked by Michael Bisping?
That’s a fight he ends in the first minute back in 2010.
It’s been over four years since the Brazilian crushed Stephan Bonnar and the striker who put together those combinations lives to fight another day. The problem is, he’s four years older and four years slower. That’s death to a fighter defined by his reflexes.
Opposing him will be the rough-and-tumble Derek Brunson, whose whiz-bang run through the middleweight ranks was halted by the heavy hands of Robert Whittaker. Prior to that, it was four straight wins by way of knockout/technical knockout.
Working in Silva’s favor is the fact that Brunson lives and dies by the sword; meaning, three of his four losses have also come by way of knockout. If Ronaldo Souza can turn out the lights, so can “The Spider.” But in order to do that he’s got to have room to work.
Part of what made Silva so dangerous in his prime was his ability to break his opponent’s before they ever stepped foot inside the cage. Those who endured were usually tripped up by his antics, or the fact that they could throw a blistering combination and hit … absolutely nothing.
That’s pretty demoralizing.
Since that time, Silva has been made human and he’s no longer the myth … he’s just the man. Don’t be surprised to see the Strikeforce import walk though the Brazilian’s notoriously ice-cold start and start unloading against the cage. Brunson may be the one registering the win, but we should credit Father Time with the assist.
Final prediction: Brunson def. Silva by technical knockout
Other fights on the main card include; Jacare Souza vs Tim Boetsch, Glover Teixeira vs Jared Cannonier and Justin Poirier vs Jim Miller.