In the main event, two of the most accomplished female strikers in MMA history will battle for the UFC’s inaugural women’s featherweight title as Holly Holm takes on Germaine de Randamie.
Holm, the former UFC women’s bantamweight champion, will be looking to rebound from a two-fight skid at 135 pounds. De Randamie comes in with two-straight bantamweight wins, but against much lesser competition.
The co-main event will mark the return of one of the sport’s all-time greats in Anderson Silva, who is fighting for the first time since he stepped in on short notice to face light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier at UFC 200. “The Spider,” who has gone 0-4-1 (no contest) in his last five fights, will try and right the ship against #8-ranked middleweight Derek Brunson, who has won five of his last six.
Keep it locked here for the latest news and notes to come out of UFC 208 as I cover the event from Octagon-side at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
-Only three $50,000 bonuses were handed out by the UFC tonight, as all but one fight went to a decision. Jacare Souza received a Performance of the Night bonus while Dustin Poirier and Jim Miller took home Fight of the Night honors. The official gate total is $2,275,105 with an attendance of 15,628.
-It appears Cris "Cyborg" Justino is eyeing a different opponent at 145 pounds if Germaine de Randamie is forced to miss time after hand surgery. The long-reigning Invicta featherweight champ is currently seeking a USADA exemption following her positive drug test in December.
-Derek Brunson has already taken to social media to dispute his controversial decision loss to Anderson Silva (read more on that below). His words: "Wow unreal I put my heart & soul out there on 3 weeks notice only to get it taken from me. I just outclassed the greatest of all time."
-Dominick Cruz will be calling the next UFC pay-per-view alongside Joe Rogan and likely Jon Anik. This third commentator competition should make the Cruz-Daniel Cormier Fox bromance that much more fun.
-Nice tribute to the local crowd by Bruson, who walks out to Juicy by The Notorious B.I.G. Anderson Silva, for the first time in his UFC career, makes his walk without DMX's "Ain't No Sunshine." Instead, he's going with a single produced by his son.
-The UFC has announced that fan favorite Diego Sanchez will face a returning Al Iaquinta on the Swanson vs. Lobov Fight Night card.
-A lot of Mike Goldberg soundbites in the video package created for the main card — still feels strange not having Goldie in the booth. With that said, the three-headed monster of Jon Anik, Joe Rogan and Cormier have sounded pretty good from what I've managed to catch.
-Three big-time fights were announced during the preliminary card: Michelle Waterson vs. Rose Namajunas (UFC on Fox 24 on April 15), Cub Swanson vs. Artem Lobov (UFC Fight Night on April 22) and Will Brooks vs. Charles Oliveira (UFC 210 on April 8). The Swanson vs. Lobov booking is a bit head-scratching considering the former's surging stock in the featherweight division, but I guess this goes to show the power of trash-talking. Should be a slobberknocker, regardless.
-Both Ian McCall and Jarred Brooks will receive their show money despite being pulled from the event, per Sirius XM's Luke Thomas. McCall vs. Brooks was scrapped earlier today after the former fell ill, likely due to the effects of his weight cut.
In another hard-to-score matchup, de Randamie eked out a decision victory over Holm. And much like the co-main event, the fight wasn't without controversy.
In both the second and third rounds, de Randamie appeared to land big shots on Holm after the five-minute horn sounded. Her late overhand right to close out Round 2 was particularly notable, as Holm was visibly rocked heading back to her corner.
That aside, it's fair to say "The Iron Lady" did enough to earn the W. Though Holm was the more active striker of the two, de Randamie landed the more damaging blows in the matchup, including several right hands and hard knees in the clinch that had the former bantamweight champion looking worse for wear.
Credit Holm for battling back to edge out Rounds 3 and 4, which left the fight up in the air on most media scorecards heading into the fifth. The final frame really could've gone either way, but as was the case for most of the fight, de Randamie's shots were more significant, even when Holm had her pressed up against the fence.
After the fight, fans booed the decision, but de Randamie took the high road. The Dutchwoman apologized for her late shots, saying she was lost "in the heat of the moment." GDR also said she would need surgery on one of her hands, potentially delaying her first title defense — likely against "Cyborg," who had the spotlight on her in the stands after the decision had been rendered.
De Randamie def. Holm by unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)
Middleweight: Anderson Silva vs. Derek Brunson
Wow. In what was a close matchup that Brunson seemed to get the better of, the judges scored it a unanimous decision victory for Silva, much to the delight of the fans in attendance. One could make an argument for the 29-28 scorecards, as Silva did land consistently throughout the fight and was never rocked, but 30-27 is a hard sell.
Brunson landed a lot more volume than Silva, particularly in the clinch, but did have a lot of his punches rolled or shrugged off by the former middleweight champ. After landing a late takedown and finishing Round 3 on top, it certainly looked as though Brunson had tipped the scales in his favor.
Ultimately, though, it was Silva who came away with his hand raised. It wasn't the type of win that's going to merit an immediate title shot, but "The Spider" has certainly positioned himself for a marquee matchup at 185 pounds. Perhaps Luke Rockhold when he's healthy enough to return, or the winner of Chris Weidman vs. Gegard Mousasi.
Silva def. Brunson by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Middleweight: Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza vs. Tim Boetsch
Well, that didn't take long. After a few minutes of feeling each other out, Jacare got Boetsch down on the second takedown he attempted, swiftly secured mount and locked in a fight-ending kimura 3:41 into the first round.
It's going to be hard to deny the Brazilian the next shot at the middleweight title after a performance like this, even if "The Barbarian" isn't all that high up in the UFC's rankings at 185 pounds.
It will be interesting to see where Boetsch, who is now a free agent, will go from here given the UFC's recent trend of letting second-tier veteran contenders walk.
Souza def. Boetsch by kimura submission
Light heavyweight: Glover Teixeira vs. Jared Cannonier
Though he was hit hard a couple times, Teixeira turned in a dominant performance over the up-and-coming Cannonier, suffocating the American with his superior grappling skills in Rounds 2 and 3.
The crowd really let the Brazilian hear it whenever he stalled the action on the mat, which is understandable considering this fight followed the action-packed Poirier vs. Miller fight. Credit Glover for tuning out the boo birds and sticking to his game plan.
Teixeira def. Cannonier by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
Lightweight: Dustin Poirier vs. Jim Miller
Is it too early to call Fight of the Night?
Poirier and Miller, a New Jersey native, engaged in all out-war that received a huge pop from the crowd at the Barclays Center. Poirier got the better of most of the stand-up exchanges, and secured a takedown at the end of the second and third rounds to help solidify the W.
Despite coming up short, Miller deserves a ton of credit for the toughness he displayed throughout the bout. I think it's safe to say that he's back to his old self despite an ongoing battle with Lyme disease.
Poirier had to be helped out of the cage after his interview with Joe Rogan. It appears that he sustained a serious injury to his right shin.
Poirier def. Miller by majority decision (28-28, 29-28, 30-27)
|Holly Holm dropped a close decision to Germaine de Randamie at UFC 208. (Anthony Geathers/Getty Images)|
UFC 208 results: Next matches to make for ‘Holm vs de Randamie’ main card winners
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was back at it again, as the world's largest mixed martial arts (MMA) organization staged UFC 208 last night (Sat., Feb. 11, 2017) live from inside Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
In the main event of the evening, Germain de Randamie defeated Holly Holm via unanimous decision to become the promotion’s first-ever women’s Featherweight champion (see it again here).
In the co-headlining act, Anderson Silva returned to the win column for the first time in a long time, topping Derek Brunson in a three-round affair that wasn’t exactly thrilling for the eyes to see (video replay here).
There was plenty of action in Brooklyn, so let’s see what fights could be on the horizon.
Winner: Germain de Randamie
Who She Should Fight Next: Cris Cyborg
This one is easy. Cyborg was present for the historic bout, as she was personally invited by UFC president Dana White to sit front and center to see who she could possibly be facing next. Sure, she has some unsettled beef with USADA, but since that looks good at the moment, Cris could be inside the eight-walled cage pretty soon. Of course, de Randamie revealed that she’d be going under the knife after her win, which could delay the bout for a little bit.
Winner: Anderson Silva
Who He Should Fight Next: Loser of Gegard Mousasi vs Chris Weidman
Yes, I said the LOSER. Silva isn’t exactly setting the world in fire inside the cage, and despite ending his four-year long slump that saw him drop four fights and having one win overturned to a no-contest for a failed drug test, he didn’t do it in impressive fashion. In fact, many -- Dana White included — felt Brunson should’ve been awarded the victory. Giving a Silva a streaking top contender simply isn’t in the cards, for me at least. That said, if he gets Mousasi or Weidman -- who will throw down at UFC 210 on April 8, 2017 — it makes sense on many levels. A trilogy fight against Chris could be interesting and an easy sell, while Gegard has long asked for a showdown against "The Spider," so it’s safe to say he’d be up for the challenge.
Winner: Ronald Souza
Who He Should Fight Next: Michael Bisping vs. Yoel Romero winner
The anticipated Middleweight title fight between "The Count" and "Soldier of God" doesn’t have a time and a place yet, but "Jacare" firmly cemented his spot as the next title challenger. The only problem is, he could have to wait a while for his championship fight after submitting Tim Boetsch (see it), as Bisping is currently on the mend following knee surgery. A proposed timeline for Bisping vs Romero is in May, which means if Souza is willing to wait, he won’t be back in the cage until September or October of this year. That’s quite a long layoff, so don’t be surprised if the submission wizard takes yet another bout in the interim. Or, he could be a fill in for Romero should he not be able to make his date with Bisping for any reason.
Winner: Glover Teixeira
Who He Should Fight Next: Alexander Gustafsson
While this fight is a long shot, seeing as how "The Mauler" is currently recovering from a back injury, it is the fight to make. Alex is sitting at No. 2 in the rankings, while Glover is right behind him at No. 3. Matching them up against anyone else simply doesn’t make sense. The winner could have a big case to face the winner of the upcoming title fight between Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson, which is set to go down at UFC 210 this April. After Jon Jones, of course.
Winner: Dustin Poirier
Who He Should Fight Next: Michael Chiesa
After pulling out of his scheduled fight against Tony Ferguson citing a back injury, last summer, nothing has been heard of from "Maverick." While back injuries can be tricky, if it isn’t too drastic of an injury, Chiesa could be gearing up for a return soon. And since he and "The Diamond" are only separated by one spot on the official rankings, I’m digging the fight.