UFC 208: Holm vs. De Randamie - Preview & Predictions
The inaugural UFC women’s featherweight title is up for grabs at UFC 208 in New York’s Barclays Centre on Saturday night, with former boxer and UFC bantamweight champion, Holly Holm, taking on Muay Thai stylist Germaine de Randamie in the main event.
One of MMA’s greatest ever fighters, Anderson Silva, steps into the cage again, and it is always a treat to see him work even at this stage of his career. While this card may be short on name value it is full of fun and competitive fights.
Main Event: Holly Holm vs. Germaine de Randamie
Holm had a stellar career as a professional boxer before making the transition to MMA. She competed on the regional circuit and picked up some steam in Legacy FC before the UFC came calling. She scored two less than impressive decision victories in the UFC before challenging Ronda Rousey for the bantamweight title, and we all know what happened there. She has lost both of her fights since, first to Miesha Tate and most recently to Valentina Shevchenko.
Holm likes to use a side-kick to the leg and body to maintain long range and then burst forward with a combination. Her left straight is her most used and most dangerous punch. She also has an arsenal of head kicks which she can unleash on her opponent when she senses a finish.
De Randamie is a Dutch kickboxer with nine MMA fights to her name. She has a 3-1 record in the UFC with the defeat coming against current UFC bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes. She beat Anna Elmose in her last outing, which was a bantamweight fight and Elmose was severely undersized; de Randamie took full advantage and ran through her with ease.
De Randamie has all the hallmarks that you would expect of a Muay Thai practitioner and has a lot more tools and options in her striking arsenal compared to Holm. She uses a stiff jab on the outside but she really does damage when she can get close to her opponent. She likes to throw a huge uppercut, which is a good deterrent against the takedown, and also has devastating knees in the clinch.
The Dutch fighter will not be so reluctant to lead as Shevchenko was when she fought Holm. Shevchenko was content to simply let Holm come to her and she caught Holm with a counter right hook almost every time Holm tried to throw her left, which exposed the holes in Holm’s game when she has to lead.
Countering against de Randamie will not be straightforward though, as she will first have to negotiate the jab. After that, she will need to stay away from de Randamie and not allow her to get into the clinch and establish the double collar tie.
Holm is more likely to take this to the ground, though it is still unlikely. De Randamie’s grappling has not looked good thus far in her MMA career and maybe Holm will look to exploit that. Her cardio is also a question mark as she has never gone 25 minutes in MMA.
Those factors give Holm hope, but if this becomes a kickboxing match, de Randamie has too many options and too much power.
Prediction: Germaine de Randamie via Decision
Co-Main Event: Anderson Silva vs. Derek Brunson
MMA legend and all-time great Anderson Silva returns to the octagon to face Derek Brunson, who is coming off a loss to Robert Whittaker in his last outing. It has been a tumultuous few years for Silva; he dropped the middleweight title to Chris Weidman and then broke his leg in the rematch. He had a win against Nick Diaz overturned due to a failed drug test and then lost a decision in a crazy fight with Michael Bisping. Most recently, he stepped in on very short notice to fight Daniel Cormier and lost via decision.
Now 41 years of age, we know what to expect from Silva. He will stay at range and goad his opponent into overcommitting before unleashing a perfectly timed and placed counter shot. He is capable of the sublime, such as the front kick, which stopped Vitor Belfort, and is always entertaining. He has crushing knees from the clinch and a crafty submission game too.
Brunson was on a five-fight winning streak before being stopped by Whittaker and a win over a legend such as Silva could put him right back into contention. Brunson is an aggressive fighter in all aspects of MMA. He moves forward consistently in the striking game and then looks to bully his opponents in the clinch. This is made possible by his incredible athleticism, his great speed and strength and puts these qualities to good use.
Silva certainly still has the quality to find a perfect counter shot and put Brunson out but Brunson’s wrestling game will be tough to deal with and Silva’s chin is not the same as it once was. I expect we will see flashes of the old Silva but ultimately Brunson will punish him on the ground before finishing him with a hard shot.
Prediction: Derek Brunson via Knockout
Ronaldo Souza vs. Tim Boetsch
“Jacare” Souza will put himself next in line for a shot at the UFC middleweight championship if he can overcome Tim Boetsch. Jacare is a decorated grappler who has multiple BJJ world championships to his name. He has added a serviceable striking game in the past few years, built on a plodding come forward boxing style.
Boetsch is a huge middleweight with a bullying style of fighting. He likes to get on the inside where he throws short shots from the clinch and likes to throw a hard right hand on the break. Apart from that, he mainly uses his strength to overcome opponents.
If Jacare can avoid eating a big shot early then he should be able to get Boetsch to the ground and end the fight with punches or a submission.
Prediction: Jacare via Submission
Jared Cannonier vs. Glover Teixeira
Former light heavyweight title challenger Teixeira takes on former heavyweight Cannonier in this slugfest. Teixeira suffered a 13-second knockout at the hands of Rumble Johnson in his last outing and needs a win here to rebound. He is an aggressive striker who likes to stalk his opponent and then pummel them inside.
Cannonier is a long striker with surprisingly nice footwork for a big man. He was able to stop people with shots in the heavyweight category and his power should be even more devastating at light heavyweight.
This one should be fun and competitive, and while Cannonier has a great chance to score a victory and put himself in title contention, I give a slight edge to the more experienced Teixeira.
Prediction: Glover Teixeira via Decision