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UFC 208 predictions, preview, and analysis

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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.

Of course, no major PPV event would be complete without “Prelims” on both FOX Sports 1 and UFC Fight Pass, which our very own Patty Stumberg deconstructed here and here. UFC 208 odds and betting lines for “Holm vs. De Randamie” can be located here.

Now then, let’s take a closer look at the UFC 208 main card.

145 lbs.: Holly “Preacher’s Daughter” Holm (10-2) vs. Germaine “Iron Lady” de Randamie (6-3)

Nostradumbass predicts: 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.

Fingers crossed.

Final prediction: Holm def. De Randamie by unanimous decision

185 lbs.: Anderson “The Spider” Silva (33-8, 1 NC) vs. Derek Brunson (16-4)

Nostradumbass predicts: 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.

Remember this?

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

185 lbs.: Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (23-4, 1 NC) vs. Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch (20-10)

Nostradumbass predicts: Fans expecting a detailed analysis of this fight are likely to be disappointed. There simply isn’t that much to unpack. Tim Boetsch has only one way to win and that’s by barbaric death punch of doom. Sure, he’s got five submissions, but three of those are by guillotine and the remaining two are by way of punches.

Boetsch has not submitted anyone in UFC and he’s been competing inside the Octagon since early 2008. In fact, why the hell am I even talking about the ground game? Ronaldo Souza won gold at Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) and finishes 70-percent of his fights by way of tap, nap, or snap.

“The Barbarian” has always been known as a rugged wrestler who wins most fights by out-toughing his opponents. But as we saw against Yoel Romero, “Jacare” can take a punch. And, as we also saw against Vitor Belfort, he can give one, too. Simply put, the Brazilian can win the fight anywhere it goes.

Boetsch cannot, save for the one-hitter quitter.

Souza is going to stand-and-bang for as long as he feels comfortable doing so. If his opponent can make contact or decides to fall back on his wrestling, then it’s only a matter of when, as opposed to if.

Final prediction: Souza def. Boetsch by submission

205 lbs.: Glover Teixeira (25-5) vs. Jared “The Killa Gorilla” Cannonier (9-1)

Nostradumbass predicts: Any chance Glover Teixeira had of getting himself back into the 205-pound title hunt went right out the window — along with his ability to chew solid food — when Anthony Johnson took him to the woodshed at UFC 202 back in August.

It’s nothing to be ashamed of, as “Rumble” does that to just about everyone.

The real question for me, is how well the Brazilian recovers from that knockout at the ripe old age of 37. While it was his first knockout loss in over 15 years — and just his second overall — he has been rocked in previous fights, so the concern is still there.

G-Tex is the same fighter he’s always been, which is usually enough to beat most opponents. He swings hard and often, mixing wrestling with jiu-jitsu when the hands are getting the job done. The biggest weapon for this fight is his experience.

Jared Cannonier has never faced a top 15 opponent in his combat sports career.

The closest he came was a heavyweight bout against Shawn Jordan in early 2015, where the “Killa Gorilla” was poached in under three minutes. On the offensive front, Cannonier is a prolific finisher with seven finishes in nine wins. Unfortunately, it’s just not enough.

Unless Teixeira has completely fallen off, or suffered a rapid decline over the past few months, this should be his fight to lose. His defense gets shaky in a phone booth fight, but he’s been there before and persevered.

This will be no different.

Final prediction: Teixeira def. Cannonier by knockout

155 lbs.: Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier (20-5) vs. Jim Miller (28-8, 1 NC)

Nostradumbass predicts: Any fight that features lightweight veteran Jim Miller is an early contender for “Fight of the Night,” but this one in particular is probably the best way to warm up the PPV crowd.

Miller had a dreadful run from 2014-16, where he found himself in a 1-4 hole. But the longtime AMA standout was able to right the ship and get back into the win column with three straight wins, including last November’s unanimous decision victory over Thiago Alves.

He’s about as well rounded as you get, but his submissions are particularly nasty.

That’s part of the appeal when considering his match up against Dustin Poirier, a complete fighter who could even be considered a longer, leaner version of Miller — though perhaps not as durable.

He may have the edge in power to compensate.

“The Diamond” was shining after jumping up to 155 pounds in 2015, rattling off four straight wins over some very tough competition. That run came to a screeching halt when Michael Johnson slept him at UFC Fight Night 94.

“The Menace” wasn’t necessarily better, he was just much, much faster.

Expect this curtain-jerker to be action-packed from start to finish. While it’s generally a pick ‘em — based on their similar skill sets — the better wrestler is likely to win this one on points, but there are no losers here.

Especially not the fans.

Final prediction: Miller def. Poirier by split decision

There you have it.

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

To see who else is fighting at UFC 208 click here.

Source:: mma mania