UFC 208

Holm x de Randamie

Picks, Parlay, and Predictions

Is a New Championship Worth the Weight?

PICKS

de Randamie x Holm
Brunson x Silva (Robbery!)
Souza x Boetsch
Teixeira x Cannonier
Poirier x Miller
Muhammad x Brown
Reis x Sasaki
Lentz x Makhachev
LaFlare x Carneiro


PARLAY

FEATHER FOR A BRICK

de Randamie (-125)
Silva (+110)
Poirier (-350)
Muhammad (+120)
$2.08 to win $20.16

PREDICTIONS

New weight classes and old memories

Holly Holm x Germaine de Randamie for the first Women’s Featherweight Championship

For either experimental or circumstantial reasons, the UFC has decided to build a 145-pound women’s division. Hardcore fight fans will notice the absence of female featherweight legend Cris Cyborg as she sits out on suspension for a banned substance. Not to worry, though, as I’m sure she’ll be given the first shot at the winner of this title fight. Until then, Holm and de Randamie will be kind enough to keep the belt warm.

Holly Holm had a stellar boxing career that spanned multiple weight classes and was laden with world championships. Still, she’ll be forever known as the first woman to send Ronda Rousey into the ether with a brain-hammering head kick. She’s continually found more success with her feet over her fists – telegraphing jabs with emphatic utterances and using a combination of kicks to keep distance and keep fighters guessing. Unfortunately Holm couldn’t hang on to UFC gold for long and has lost both MMA bouts she’s had since defeating Rousey. The enduring issue with her style seems to be an unwillingness to commit. Despite her obvious power, she gives her opponent space to work and chooses to fight tentatively instead of aggressively. I don’t think Holly knows how scary she could be. Saturday night she gets a chance to fight closer to her natural weight for another shot at a belt, but striking might not be the ideal path to victory.

Germaine “The Iron Lady” de Randamie is an undefeated Dutch kickboxer on a two fight win streak inside the UFC. Her only UFC loss was a TKO delivered by the hands of Amanda Nunes, the current female Bantamweight champion. While Holm is technically the more decorated striker, I wouldn’t give her a stand-up advantage in the cage. De Randamie is much better at utilizing her knees and elbows in every position, including the clinch. Also, opposed to Holly, The Iron Lady isn’t afraid to get into a firefight. She wants to trade shots and is fine with getting one to give one. What de Randamie lacks is a complete grappling game, and that’s where Holly can find opportunity. Holm’s team (Jackson Wink) is obsessed with building complete fighters and they have to be working on her takedown offense. Positioning and submissions be damned, but at least Holm would have more than one way to win this fight. However, if I noticed this - so did de Randamie. Germaine knows this isn’t a kickboxing match and will obviously be working her defense.

I’m a Holly Holm fan, but she’s looked a bit glazed over in her interviews and I get the feeling her long combat sports career is coming to an end. I envision Germaine keeping it standing and making it violent. Holly has fantastic footwork, which will come in handy, and a surprise wrestling game that could bring Germaine down, but I don’t think she does more than burn the clock. Best of luck to both of them; I’m rooting more for an entertaining fight than a winner.

Derek Brunson x Anderson Silva

There’s not a lot to gain in this fight for either man. Derek Brunson is a virtual unknown with great wrestling who loves to slug it out with his opponents. That’s the last thing Anderson Silva needs. The once-mighty king of middleweight MMA has lost four of his last five and has had his only recent win overturned due to a positive drug test. Yeesh. Brunson’s uncompromising style and “kill or be killed” mentality isn’t going to make this easy. If history is any indication, I won’t like how this one ends. 

If Silva wins, great. His technique is still sharp enough to take out well-rounded brawler who is eight years younger than him. The only silver lining there is that Anderson won’t ever get beat up in the street, even at 41 years old. He still has no place in the top ten at middleweight. We’ve seen Brunson get knocked around by technical strikers before and he’s not exactly a mainstream name. An Anderson win would be exciting, but far from impressive or important.

If Brunson wins, what? We have a guy in the top ten who’s already taken losses to other guys in the top ten. He’s set up for a successful run, but his style doesn’t equate to longevity. He also seems to have stumbled into a pugilistic pitfall. Derek has been caught chasing KOs instead of sticking to his strength, which is his explosive wrestling. Silva doesn’t normally have issues with wrestlers, but Brunson’s offensive output is going to make things interesting. I don’t like how chinny the ex-champ has looked and one monster shot from North Carolina’s Brunson might leave the legend staring up at the lights.

Unfortunately, I see this as either a mediocre send-off for Silva or another insignificant notch on Brunson’s belt. Both wins won’t mean as much as they should. Silva’s intimidation factor is gone and his movement has become a step too slow to deal with a whirl-winding Brunson, who is much more dangerous than he looks on paper. I think the Spider gets caught slipping and is washed out the water spout.