411’s MMA Roundtable Preview – UFC 208: Holm vs. de Randamie
The UFC’s first women’s featherweight champion will be crowned in the main event of UFC 208 as Holly Holm battles Germaine de Randamie! In the co-main event, Anderson Silva takes aim for a title shot against Derek Brunson. Also at middleweight, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza fights Tim Boetsch. Plus, Glover Teixeira faces Jared Cannonier, Dustin Poirier vs. Jim Miller, and more!
THE PRELIMINARY CARD:
First three prelims on UFC Fight Pass, rest on Fox Sports 1.
Featherweight Bout: Phillipe Nover vs. Rick Glenn
Jeffrey Harris: Rick Glenn Decision
Robert Winfree: Rick Glenn, Decision
Dan Plunkett: Nover, Decision
The staff picks Rick Glenn, 2-1.
Welterweight Bout: Ryan LaFlare vs. Roan Carneiro
Jeffrey Harris: Ryan LaFlare, Decision
Robert Winfree: Ryan LaFlare, Decision
Dan Plunkett: LaFlare, Decision
The staff picks Ryan LaFlare, 3-0.
Heavyweight Bout: Marcin Tybura vs. Justin Willis
Editor’s Note: Since Justin Willis was added to this fight on Tuesday as a late replacement, the staff wasn’t asked to pick this bout.
Dan Plunkett: Marcin Tybura, Decision
Flyweight Bout: Ian McCall vs. Jarred Brooks
Jeffrey Harris: Ian McCall, Decision
Robert Winfree: Jarred Brooks, Decision
Dan Plunkett: McCall, Decision
The staff picks Ian McCall, 2-1.
Lightweight Bout: Nik Lentz vs. Islam Makhachev
Jeffrey Harris: Nik Lentz, Decision
Robert Winfree: Nik Lentz, Submission, Round 2
Dan Plunkett: Makhachev, Decision
The staff picks Nik Lentz, 2-1.
Flyweight Bout: Wilson Reis vs. Ulka Sasaki
Jeffrey Harris: Wilson Reis, TKO, Round 1
Robert Winfree: Wilson Reis, Submission, Round 1
Dan Plunkett: Reis, Decision
The staff picks Wilson Reis, 3-0.
Welterweight Bout: Randy Brown vs. Belal Muhammad
Jeffrey Harris: Randy Brown, TKO, Round 1
Robert Winfree: Randy Brown, Decision
Dan Plunkett: Brown, TKO, Round 2
The staff picks Randy Brown, 3-0.
THE MAIN CARD:
Lightweight Bout: Dustin Poirier vs. Jim Miller
Jeffrey Harris: The top 10-ranked lightweight Dustin Poirier faces the battle-tested veteran who is Jim Miller. Miller is not the top lightweight he used to be. However, he is going into the fight with three wins in a row. Albeit, one of those fights was a closely fought split decision with Joe Lauzon. I like this fight a lot. Miller is generally in good fights, and Poirier is also an exciting fighter. I will look forward to seeing if Poirier can get back on track here, or if Miller can extend his run and break back into the top 10 of the lightweight rankings. Overall, I like Poirier here. He does have holes in his striking game, but he has knockout power. And, he’s incredibly sharp on the ground as well. Though, one shouldn’t sleep on Miller’s submission and grappling game either. I see this being a tough fight, but Poirier edges it out.
Winner: Dustin Poirier, Decision
Robert Winfree: This is actually my favorite fight on this card. Both of these guys are action oriented fighters, both are just hard nosed blue collar style fighters, both have great grappling and offense oriented striking. Miller is slowing down despite his three fight winning streak, given his years and miles in the sport it’s perfectly understandable. Poirier was on a very good streak at lightweight before abandoning defense and proper angles against Michael Johnson and getting knocked unconscious. Both guys have a history of struggling against southpaws a bit as well. I’m really anticipating some violence, brawling, fun grappling exchanges, and just a good blood and guts fight from both men. I’m leaning towards Miller but I’m hardly confident as either man could take this.
Winner: Jim Miller, Decision
Dan Plunkett: This could be very good. Miller is as tough as they come, while Poirier is dangerous on the feet and underrated on the ground. I see a close battle with Poirier having the edge, but Miller toughing it out to the distance.
Winner: Poirier, Decision
The staff picks Dustin Poirier, 2-1.
Light Heavyweight Bout: Glover Teixeira vs. Jared Cannonier
Jeffrey Harris: This is actually a strong light heavyweight battle between a former title contender, still ranked in the top five, against a potential light heavyweight prospect in Jared Cannonier. Cannonier is 9-1 and has been getting some buzz since his move down to light heavyweight and scoring a win over Ion Cutelaba. Still, I like Teixeira for this fight. Teixeira is coming off a tough loss, but he’s still a very seasoned and talented light heavyweight fighter. Teixeira is well rounded with heavy hands, good boxing, and takedowns. I believe he will use all those techniques to win out here.
Winner: Glover Teixeira, TKO, Round 2
Robert Winfree: With Ryan Bader apparently on his way to Bellator Glover Teixeira is the lone bridge/guard between the elite four of the light heavyweight division and the rank and file. Jared Cannonier is a potential prospect in a division that needs it, but he’s shown a tendency to brawl and drop his hands while relying on his chin to carry him through those exchanges. That’s a terrible strategy against Glover Teixeira who’s only got a single reliable punch set up, long right lead to set up a left hook, but hits very hard as well as possessing solid wrestling and jiujitsu. Teixeira is a little on the older side, but he’s more tested and Cannonier hasn’t yet displayed the necessary skills to take him down.
Winner: Glover Teixeira, TKO, Round 1
Dan Plunkett: I’m not certain that this is Cannonier’s time. He’s certainly talented and a tough out, but this is a major step up for him. Teixeira has been a consistent high-level fighter for years, although now he’s 37 and coming off a 13 second knockout loss. I see Teixeira getting the win, but it won’t be easy and people will come out impressed with Cannonier.
Winner: Teixeira, 3-0.
Middleweight Bout: Ronaldo Souza vs. Tim Boetsch
Jeffrey Harris: Tim Boetsch has scored some big upsets at middleweight before, specifically when he scored a come from behind victory over Yushin Okami. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza has meanwhile been constantly overlooked for a title shot. It’s frustrating he’s yet to receive one in the UFC. I can’t pick against Jacare here. On paper, I see no way that Boetsch wins. I’m picking Jacare to destroy Boetsch pretty much however he wants here.
Winner: Ronaldo Souza, TKO, Round 1
Robert Winfree: The ongoing saga of “Jacare” Souza getting the short end of the stick is both intriguing, infuriating, and sad. Souza has been one of the very best middleweights in the world for several years now, yet here he’s again fighting someone who isn’t the champion. Tim Boetsch is a rugged fighter, but he tends to make poor in cage decisions and just doggedly stick to a game plan until it either works or fails. Boetsch has decent power and good wrestling, but I feel he’s totally over matched in this one. Souza should take him out, and likely will wind up fighting someone who isn’t the champion yet again just because why ruin the joke at this point.
Winner: Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, Submission, Round 1
Dan Plunkett: I don’t put it past Tim Boetsch to take out Jacare, but every way you look at this fight, it favors the Brazilian.
Winner: Jacare, TKO, Round 1
The staff picks Ronaldo Souza, 3-0.
Middleweight Bout: Anderson Silva vs. Derek Brunson
Jeffrey Harris: A bit of a weird fight to predict, and a weird fight for Anderson Silva at this point in his career. Silva’s last actual win in MMA was over Stephan Bonnar in 2012. Regardless, Silva can still be dangerous, which he showed against Anderson Silva and even Daniel Cormier on two days’ notice. I think if Brunson just throws caution into the wind and abandons any type of defense like he did in his last fight, Silva could take advantage of that and win. However, at this point in his career, I’m not super confident in picking Silva to get the win here.
Winner: Derek Brunson, TKO, Round 1
Robert Winfree: So two guys coming off of losses occupy the co-main event spot based on the name value of a man who hasn’t won a fight since 2012 when he beat an over the hill Stephan Bonnar. What a world we live in. Anderson Silva is nearly impossible to predict at this point, the flaws in his game that we used to write off because of his general brilliance are now more apparent as his chin and reflexes have begun to fall off with age and miles. Derek Brunson is also hard to figure out, one fight he looks good with controlled aggression and a good wrestling game, the next he’s charging with his chin forward and his hands at his waist just begging to be countered into oblivion. If Brunson decides to charge with wide hooks and his chin being forward as he did in his previous fight then Silva could sleep him as Robert Whittaker countered him nicely and Silva is a much better counter striker than Whittaker. If Brunson fights smart, distance control, wrestling, and using his power at the right time, he should take out the aging legend. Another pick I’m not sold on, but Silva’s chin is a bit of a liability at this point and Brunson hits very hard.
Winner: Derek Brunson, TKO, Round 1
Dan Plunkett: I have no idea. Anderson has something left, but we’ve seen him choose to sit back and do very little many times. Brunson is dangerous; he has the wrestling and power to be a real threat here, and in fact, the betting favorite. I’d lean much more in his favor had he not had that baffling performance in late November against Robert Whittaker. It’s worth noting that that knockout loss wasn’t long ago, just two months and change. Ultimately, I consider it blasphemous to pick Derek Brunson to beat Anderson Silva.
Winner: Anderson Silva, TKO, Round 2
The staff picks Derek Brunson, 2-1.
UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship Bout: Holly Holm vs. Germaine de Randamie
Jeffrey Harris: This is a very good striker vs. striker type of battle. Holly Holm is a very good boxer and kickboxer. Meanwhile, Germaine de Randamie kickboxing and Muay Thai fighter, who has more limited experience in MMA. While he’s 3-1 in the UFC, she’s 6-3 in MMA overall. Holm is a very good counter-striker, and she fights very well at a distance. She tends to struggle more when fighters get in close and push the pace. I think Holm will fight smart here and earn a very technical win to take home the women’s featherweight title by decision.
Winner: Holly Holm, Decision
Robert Winfree: I like this fight, but hate the made up belt in a division with all of three fighters in it. These are two of the more decorated and talented female strikers in the sport, Holm being one of the best female boxers ever and de Randamie one of the best female kick boxers and Muay Thai fighters. Neither woman has demonstrated extreme ability on the mat so we’re likely to see an extended striking display. Holly Holm is a very effective counter striker who punishes aggression, at distance she fires three or four blow combinations that end with a left kick to either the body or head. Holm also has an experience edge in high level MMA and has proven she can fight for five rounds while de Randamie hasn’t been in that position yet. Holm is also the best fighter de Randamie has ever fought in MMA by a substantial margin. That being said I’m leaning towards de Randamie. Holm struggles to lead the dance, Valentina Shevchenko had tremendous success baiting Holm into being first and responding with lightning fast counters. The other key to Shevchenko’s success was removing one of Holm’s best distance weapons in the form of her lead leg side kick to the body or leg. Shevchenko properly positioned relative to Holm and constantly punished her attempted offense. Now de Randamie isn’t the same level of counter striker that Shevchenko is, but she’s a much more devastating striker in terms of power. De Randamie also has a wicked clinch game with some of the best knees in the sport. I’m rooting for Holm as I’m a fan, but elements of this on paper seem to favor de Randamie.
Winner: Germaine de Randamie, Decision
Dan Plunkett: Let’s ignore the title UFC made up for no reason other than to sell this card to focus on what a good fight this is, because it’s a very good fight. Holm is a great counter fighter when her opponents are offensive-minded; what hurt her in her last fight was that Valentina Shevchenko was better and perhaps Holm slowing down a bit. She’s giving away a bit of height and reach to de Randamie, so she’ll need to get inside for her counters. Germaine de Randamie is a good finisher and strong in the clinch, but she is very unproven in high level MMA. That’s what makes me lean toward Holm here.
Winner: Holm, Decision
The staff picks Holly Holm, 2-1.
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