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UFC 208 predictions: ‘Holm vs De Randamie’ FOX Sports 1 ‘Prelims’ undercard preview

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UFC 208 predictions: Holm vs De Randamie FOX Sports 1 Prelims undercard preview

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing a bevy of “Prelims” fights to both Fight Pass and FOX Sports 1 this weekend (Sat., Feb. 11, 2017) when UFC 208: “Holm vs. De Randamie” storms Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. MMAmania.com’s Patrick Stumberg continues the UFC 208 “Prelims” party with the second (and final) installment of a two-part undercard preview series below.

They don’t come much more credentialed than this.

Two of the best Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) female strikers will do battle this Saturday evening (Feb. 11, 2017) as former boxing champion Holly Holm faces Muay Thai legend Germaine de Randamie in Brooklyn, New York. UFC 208’s pay-per-view (PPV) main card will also feature a Middleweight showdown between Anderson Silva and Derek Brunson, as well as top-ranked 185-pound contender Ronaldo Souza back in action opposite Tim Boetsch.

We’ve got four more “Prelims” undercard matches left to preview and predict (check out the first batch here), so let’s not waste any time:

125 lbs.: Wilson Reis vs. Yuta Sasaki

After splitting his first two UFC bouts at Bantamweight, Wilson Reis (21-6) made the drop to 125 pounds and impressively won three of his next four fights. This put him in line to face Demetrious Johnson at UFC 201, only for “Mighty Mouse” to get injured and leave Reis to submit late replacement Hector Sandoval.

He will give up six inches of height to the 5’10” Yuta Sasaki (19-3-2).

“Ulka” turned heads with an impressive submission of Roland Delorme in his UFC debut, but stoppage losses to Leandro Issa and Taylor Lapilus sapped his momentum. Dropping to flyweight, he made his divisional debut last March with a submission of Willie Gates.

He owns 10 wins by submission, nine of them by rear-naked choke.

I will be extremely surprised if Reis doesn’t dominate here. He possesses the same grappling prowess that Issa used to overwhelm Sasaki, bolstered by a superior wrestling game and massively improved striking. Reis’s only real weakness at this point is his tendency to get clipped once a fight, but “Ulka’s” striking is far too underdeveloped to take advantage of that.

You know me and Japanese mixed martial arts (MMA). When I say a Japanese fighter is going to get thrashed, that means I’m pretty damn certain. Reis with an early submission.

Prediction: Reis via first-round submission

155 lbs.: Nik Lentz vs. Islam Makhachev

Nik Lentz’s (27-7-2) nearly three-year run as a Featherweight came to an end in 2015 when he suffered a submission loss to Charles Oliveira in their long-brewing rematch. Upon returning to Lightweight, he scraped by Danny Castillo two Decembers ago and pounded out late replacement Michael McBride nine months later.

Lentz is two inches shorter than Islam Makhachev (13-1), standing 5’8.”

A long-time training partner of Khabib Nurmagomedov, Makhachev ran through Leo Kuntz in his Octagon debut before winding up on the wrong end a surprise knockout loss to Adriano Martins his next time out. After a brief scuffle with United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), he returned to action in Sept. 2016 with a win over fellow grappler Chris Wade.

Six of his eight stoppage wins have come by submission.

Lentz honestly seems like he’s run out of steam. Against Oliveira and Castillo, he looked slow and vulnerable, a far cry from the furious pace he used to overwhelm the likes of Diego Nunes and Hacran Dias. Without the X-factor of that attrition, he’s in trouble against a superior technician in Makhachev.

Makhachev still lacks the sort of physical dominance that Nurmagomedov uses so well, but he’s so smooth with his takedowns and grappling that it might not even matter here. He puts Lentz on his back over and over for a clear decision victory.

Prediction: Makhachev via unanimous decision

125 lbs.: Ian McCall vs. Jarred Brooks

Once the top-ranked Flyweight in the world, Ian McCall (13-5-1) has seen his career grind to a halt since losing to an overweight John Lineker in Jan. 2015. “Uncle Creepy” has seen five consecutive fights disintegrate, some at the last minute, and will be competing for the first time in two years.

He is two inches taller and nine years older than Jarred Brooks (11-0).

A standout wrestler from Warsaw, Indiana, Brooks has emerged as a top prospect at the age of 23. He has stopped four of his last five opponents, most recently the previously unbeaten Jun Nakamura on Fight Pass. He replaces Neil Seery — who pulled out because of a death in the family — on short notice.

When I say Brooks is a top prospect, I mean it. He’s got great takedowns, solid top control and hits damn hard. He does, however, have two major issues that will likely sink him against McCall. The first is size — he wrestled at 113 pounds and has twice fought at Strawweight in the last 12 months.

The second is striking technique. Brooks charges forward, winging bombs without really moving his head or mixing in other striking styles. That could very well be enough against McCall — who will almost certainly be incredibly rusty — but “Uncle Creepy’s” solid footwork and sharp boxing should be able to overcome that.

Brooks has the skills to win this and has almost every intangible going his way. McCall is just too experienced. Expect him to narrowly edge out a decision with good movement and counter-striking.

Prediction: McCall via unanimous decision

170 lbs.: Ryan LaFlare vs. Roan Carneiro

Ryan LaFlare (12-1) handily dispatched his first four UFC opponents, including The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) veterans Santiago Ponzinibbio and Court McGee, to earn a main event slot opposite Demian Maia in 2015. Though he fell to the resurgent Brazilian, he rebounded with a win over stalwart veteran Mike Pierce.

This will be his first fight in exactly 14 months.

Roan Carneiro (21-10) — who first joined the UFC in 2007 — returned to the Octagon after 6.5 years away to submit Mark Munoz at UFC 184. Since then, he’s suffered a knockout loss to Derek Brunson and eked out a split decision over Kenny Robertson to raise his record to 4-4 in the promotion.

He owns 10 wins by submission overall.

Literally, the only real concern here is how confident I am in LaFlare — fighters tend to massively underperform when I put this much faith in them. He’s the better striker, the better wrestler, and his top game is more than enough to shut down Carneiro’s submissions.

LaFlare’s layoff is a bit troubling, but it’s not terribly longer than ones he’s had before. He should cruise to a decision.

Prediction: LaFlare via unanimous decision

UFC 208’s main event should be fun at the very least and there are some solid match ups to be found on the pay-per-view (PPV) and elsewhere. Is it worth $60? That’s ultimately up to you to decide. See you Saturday, Maniacs!

Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 208 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. ET, and then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on PPV.

Current UFC “Prelims” Prediction Record for 2017: 16-6

Source:: mma mania