Source: UFC

The UFC returns to New York with UFC 208: Holm vs de Randamie in Brooklyn. The main event features the inaugural Women’s Featherweight Title on the line, with two of the most decorated strikers in UFC history, Holly Holm vs Germaine de Randamie.

In the co-main event, we have the octagon return of one of the greatest of all time in Anderson Silva, against the explosive finisher Derek Brunson.

We take an in-depth look at the three main fights and will provide our predictions for every match-up on what will be a spectacular night of fights.

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Holly Holm 10-2 vs Germaine de Randamie 6-3

NICK: When this fight was first made, I couldn’t look past the UFC neglecting Cyborg. She was the legitimate number one contender for any featherweight title in the UFC, and I failed to see any fight without her. After Dana White indicated that Cyborg will 100% get the winner of this fight, I cooled on that and started to appreciate this fight for what it is. These certainly are the two next best deserving girls. It’s a strikers delight. The boxing / kickboxing superstar that has world-class counter striking skills, against a muay thai legend with length, range and pure aggression. I think the way de Randamie comes forward will definitely suit the way Holm likes to let her opponent call the shots and then react with smart counters. We saw in the Shevchenko fight that when Holm has an opponent sitting back on her too, she looked a little lost and void of answers. Unless de Randamie has studied that tape and is willing to reshape her approach, that shouldn’t happen here. In saying that Holm is yet to face an aggressive striker with the pedigree or power of de Randamie. Her relentless pressure may very well crack Holm, who will surely be desperate to get her career back on track in a new division, after her recent losses. I think Holm is mentally tough though, and has the more diverse skill set here. She should find a way to win the fight, particularly as the fight extends over the later rounds. PREDICTION: Holly Holm via unanimous decision.

ZAC:This is a great match-up for the inaugural Featherweight Title. Both these girls are decorated strikers. Holly Holm had a brilliant and dominant boxing career before moving into MMA. She aslo has kickboxing experience which will be very important in this fight. Germaine De Randamie also has a kickboxing and may thai background with a record, unbeaten streak of 37 fights. She is slightly taller and has a couple of inches reach advantage, something Holm will not be used to. However in de Randamie’s previous UFC fights, despite being much taller and longer than her opponents, she has fought very aggressively because she has been a far superior striker. That is not going to be the best tactic against Holm, Holly prefers it when her opponent comes at her so she can play her counter attack game and stay on the outside sticking and moving. De Randamie will definitely look to close the distance and work her dangerous knees in the clinch, in a similar way to Valentina Shevchenko in Holm’s last fight. I think the winner of this fight will be the girl with the best game plan, we’ve seen Holm pick apart aggressive strikers in the past, but none with the resume of De Randamie. One thing we haven’t seen is Germaine go five hard rounds, so if Holly can take her to deep waters who knows what might happen. It’s a very tough fight to pick, both fighters have the skill set to trouble the other and it will just depend on who can dictate the terms of the fight the best. PREDICTION: Holly Holm via TKO Round 3

Anderson Silva 33-8 vs Derek Brunson 16-4

NICK: I have an incredible feeling that this fight might produce something extra special. The saying ‘styles make match-ups’ is certainly relevant here. Looking at the fight on face value, there is a number of ways it could go. You have perhaps the greatest, most creative counter puncher of all time in Anderson Silva, up against an explosive Brunson with KO power, unbelievably strong wrestling, but a real defensive weakness with his striking. I haven’t seen many other fighters put his chin in the openly vulnerable positions, something we witnessed get dramatically exposed in the Whittaker fight. If anyone can capitalise on Brunson leaving his chin out to the wolves with his aggressive rushes, it is Anderson Silva. There’s been a lot of talk about how far away Silva has looked recently, from the champion he was years ago. I don’t fully buy into that. Yes, he has slowed down a little, but the signs are still there. Against Bisping, he fought a guy that had the style to really test him. He also chose to slow the fight down, and didn’t attack enough. When he did, he looked sharp. The biggest indicator for me was against Cormier. When that fight got to the feet, Silva put the hurt on a much bigger man. His body kicks had Cormier, hunched over at times and I haven’t seen anyone else put Cormier in that position. Yes he lost the fight, but it was against perhaps the best MMA wrestler on the roster, in a higher weight class. He has looked sharp enough to handle the middle of the road middleweight like Brunson. There’s always the chance Brunson catches Silva with his powerful left hand and ends the night. His four fight KO streak showed just how damaging his power can be and I’m not sure anyone that eats it remains in the fight. His competitive advantage here though, is definitely on the floor. A smart Brunson would be looking to take this down and suffocate Silva for the three rounds, just like Cormier did at UFC 200. I’m going for the return of a legend though. PREDICTION: Anderson Silva via TKO in Round 2

ZAC: I can’t help it, every time Anderson Silva is matched up for a fight I get excited. However recently after his fights, I keep thinking to myself that I wish he’d just hang up the gloves. I think there’s still a part of me that hopes the G.O.A.T will show up on fight night and just put on a clinic like he did in his prime. If there has been an opponent with a style that would allow the Spider one last highlight reel finish, it’s Derek Brunson. We saw what can happen when you run forward swinging wildly with your chin in the air, when Robert Whittaker knocked him out in his last fight. I can see Anderson Forrest Griffining him, if he tries that in this fight. On the other hand, Brunson is still a dangerous fighter who will be desperate to get back in the win column and recapture the momentum he had prior to his loss against Whittaker. The best way to do that will be to go back to his wrestling fundamentals, take Anderson down, control him and work some ground and pound. For the sake of the fans I hope it doesn’t go that way, but it’s a real possibility. PREDICTION: Anderson Silva via KO in Round 2

Jacare Souza 23-4 vs Tim Boetsch 20-10

NICK: Not a fan of this fight. Not necessarily because I think it won’t be an exciting fight, but its a fight that shouldn’t be happening. Taking nothing away from Boetsch, but in what is becoming an increasing trend with the UFC, highly ranked opponents are fighting divisionally irrelevant opponents that haven’t earned that shot. Where it becomes extremely frustrating, is when the lower ranked guy pulls of an upset and it throws the division into disarray. I don’t see that happening here though. Boetsch is an incredibly tough guy with a chin of steel and legitimate KO power. This is a huge jump in quality though and by far his toughest opponent in recent times. If Jacare is to get the finish, I think it will come in the last round when Boetsch starts to slow down, as father time eats away at him. I think his wrestling pedigree will help nullify some of the submissions that the silky Jacare throws his way and his granite chin will protect him on the feet. I think Jacare will avoid the KO shots early, win the striking exchanges and get the better positions on the ground. The hard part for me here is deciding between the late finish or a decision. PREDICTION: Jacare Souza via submission in Round 3

ZAC: This is one of the stranger match-ups the UFC have put together in recent times. Jacare #3 ranked middleweight could have made a good case to be the next in line for a title shot a few months ago, now he is fighting #13 ranked Tim Boetsch. Two MMA veterans with a total of 57 fights between them, Boetsch a NCAA Div 1 wrestler and Jacare a former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion and 8 time World Jiu Jitsu Championship Gold Medallist. The Barbarians best chance to win this fight is to catch Souza with a knockout strike, despite his wrestling pedigree I still don’t think he can match it with Jacare on the ground. When you grapple with Jacare it’s not a matter of if he will tap you out but when, he is that dangerous. He’s no slouch on the feet either with (T)KO wins over Vitor Belfort, Yushin Okami and Derek Brunson. One thing I will say about Boetsch though is he is a guy you have to put away, he’s incredibly durable and has some amazing come from behind wins. Jacare definitely has all the tools to do so. PREDICTION: Jacare Souza via submission Round 2

UFC 208

 NICKZAC
Holly Holm vs Germaine de RandamieHolmHolm
Anderson Silva vs Derek BrunsonSilvaSilva
Jacare Souza vs Tim BoetschJacareJacare
Glover Texeira vs Jared CannonierTexeiraTexeira
Dustin Poirer vs Jim MillerPoirerMiller
Randy Brown vs Belal MuhammadMuhammadBrown
Wilson Reis vs Ulka SasakiReisReis
Nik Lentz vs Islam MakhachevMakhachevLentz
Ian McCall vs Jarred BrooksMcCallMcCall
Marcin Tybura vs Justin WillisTyburaTybura
Ryan LaFlare vs Roan CarneiroLaFlareLaFlare
Phillipe Nover vs Rick GlennGlennGlenn
SCORE TALLY:9590