Saturday, 11 February 2017
UFC 208 picks
If the UFC wanted to add another women's division, 125lbs should have been it. It bridges the gap between 115 and 135 for intermediate fighters and opens the possibility of a superfight grudge match between Future title challenger Valentina Shevchenko and strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Also, people won't like hearing this but it's true - the smaller girls are more marketable. Now they've backed themelves into a corner it'll be interesting to see what they do. Even though Dana White said Amanda Nunes would not be allowed to come up and challenge for a second belt, JI bet it ends up happening if she wins her next fight because what the hell else are they gonna do?
Picks after the jump
Holly Holm vs Germaine de Randamie
Beyond the idea there was no need for a featherweight belt, the main reason this is a bogus title fight is because neither woman has really earned their shot, especially not Holly Holm coming off back to back losses where she frankly got out-gritted both times. De Randamie is 3-1 in the UFC but her three wins are against opponents with a combined 0-6 UFC record, two of whom have since retired.
I know MMA math is ridiculous, it's the kind of thing that Conor fangirls resort hen trying to help their guy dodge challenging fights but bear with me here. Holly Holm was submitted by Miesha Tate who was KO'd by Kaitlin Young who went on from there to get stopped by Gina Carano. So when you think about it, maybe Gina has much mroe business being in this fight than Holly Holm! I believe she is still technically under Zuffa contract. Let's make it happen, guys.
When the fight was announced, I thought it seemed like an attempt by the UFC to cling on to Holm's value and prop her up with a belt. I don't think that will go so well, I think she will lose this fight. De Randamie is an elite striker as evidenced by her undefeated kickboxing career and it seems like in this fight she won't have to worry too much about takedowns either. While Holly also has striking credentials, the only fight she has looked above mediocre in was vs Ronda. I don't think I'm the only one who has picked up on this - she opened as a -125 favorite but has been bet back up to evens. I think Holly probably has enough defense to avoid getting finished but loses a clear decision.
 Anderson Silva vs  Derek Brunson
I have real misgivings about this card because the matchmaking is so awful for three of the main card fights. Holm-de Randamie would make sense if it were at bantamweight and Poirier vs Miller should be a blast. But what has Derek Brunson done to deserve Anderson Silva? Surely you could be more creative than to match up the greatest of all time vs some rando dude next to him in the official rankings. it smells like someone in head office thinks Brunson could be marketable going forward and want to give him a 'push'. I'm not fired up about it.
As for the matchup, I think Brunson will win. If he is smart, he will control Anderson Silva with his wrestling and with only three rounds to work, should be able to avoid gassing out or getting marked up too badly. At this point in his career and life, I'm not sure how much Silva has left. Brunson certainly has the power to KO him but if he learned anything from his last fight with Robert Whittaker, he won't charge straight into Anderson's fists on this occasion.
 Jacare Souza vs  Tim Boetsch
This is simply not the right matchup at this time. Jacare should be fighting a top contender, not a guy who goes WLWLWL. I know Rockhold is injured but you have Whittaker and Mousasi who are surging and I'm sure would have been interested and I'm sure would make for a better fight also. I just don't think Tim Boetsch has the skills to keep Jacare from finishing him on the ground. He has power but a lot of middleweights do.
 Glover Teixeira vs Jared Cannonier
I had to check that this was the original matchup and not a late replacement. This is another bout that makes no sense whatsoever. While we're on the subject with the Light Heavyweight division so thin on contenders, I don't understand the logic in allowing Ryan Bader to saunter over to Bellator. The guy had some personality and finishing power. He should have the title shot that ended up going to Gustafsson at UFC 192. I can only assume it's a money thing - Reebok strikes again.
Back to Teixeira-Cannonier. At least Tim Boetsch has a following and has more than fifteen fights in the UFC. Who is Jared Cannonier? He has some tools but Teixeira is a top contender and this seems like the wrong fight at the wrong time. Perhaps they are just trying to prop up Glover because there is no one else around. He ought to win this going away and should be utterly ashamed of himself if he doesn't.
Hopefully New York Times reporter Ben Rotherberg isn't watching this fight, it could get awkward when Bruce Buffer introduces Cannonier as "The Killa Gorilla".
 Dustin Poirier vs Jim Miller
This one should be a fun, maybe even a 'Fight of the Night' contender. While this is a striker vs grappler matchup, Poirier has some slick chokes and Miller is certainly willing to stand and trade. +325 is crazy value on Miller as I feel like he's a tough out at Lightweight but I have Poirier winning this - I think he'll have a clear advantage in the striking department and his speed and power are made to hurt.
I pick: de Randamie, Brunson, Souza, Teixeira, Poirier
Chris picks: de Randamie, Brunson, Souza, Teixeira, Miller