UFC 208: Lightning Picks

Seeing Ronda Rousey get brutally finished in under 50 seconds feels like a lifetime ago, but the UFC is back with the first Pay-Per-View event of 2017. UFC 208 takes place this Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Although the card was initially met with strong criticism from fans and media alike, I think it's safe to say that the return of an MMA legend and a historic title fight has everyone excited to see the event unfold. Without further ado, let's get to the lightning picks.

Jim Miller vs. Dustin Poirier

'The Diamond' Poirier (20-5 MMA, 12-4 UFC) and Jim Miller (28-8 MMA, 17-7 UFC) will get the PPV festivities started when they meet in what should be a fun brawl in the Lightweight division. Miller has been picking up a lot of steam lately, banking in three victories in a row. That said, they all have been against great fighters who are going through a rough patch in their respective careers (Thiago Alves, Joe Lauzon, and Takanori Gomi). On the other side, Dustin is a power puncher who is trying to come back after a tough loss to Michael Johnson. I believe Poirier has the motivation, athleticism, and skills to come out with the victory. Miller is incredibly resilient so I wouldn't be surprised if it goes to the judges.

Prediction: Dustin Poirier

Jared Cannonier vs. Glover Teixeira

Following a brutal KO defeat to Anthony Johnson back UFC 202, Glover Teixeira (25-5 MMA, 8-3 UFC) looks to get the next title shot in the light heavyweight division when he faces off against Texas' own Jared Cannonier (9-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC). Now, this bout makes a ton of sense on paper. Jared is 4-1 in his last 5 and Glover could definitely use a "tune-up" fight. But I simply think there's too big a gap between the fighter's abilities. Sure, Jared is a good fighter and this sport is mostly unpredictable (especially at the heavier weight classes), but I firmly think Teixeira is the superior martial artist. I predict he'll get the finish.

Prediction: Glover Teixeira

Ronaldo Souza vs. Tim Boetsch

Moving down to the middleweight division, Ronaldo Souza (23-4 MMA, 6-1 UFC) will be a 5-1 betting favorite when he fights Tim Boetsch (20-10 MMA, 11-9 UFC). To be honest, I believe the UFC is doing Jacare a disservice by matching him up against Boetsch. No disrespect to Tim, but these guys are in very different spots in their respective's careers. Souza is a fight away from serious title shot contention while Boetsch has solidified his spot as one of the division's gatekeepers. There is a particular difference when it comes to their ground games. I see Ronaldo getting the finish via whatever method he decides.

Prediction: Ronaldo Souza

Anderson Silva vs. Derek Brunson

In the co-main event, former longtime middleweight champ Anderson, The Spider, Silva (33-8 MMA, 16-4 UFC) steps into the octagon once again to take on Derek Brunson (16-4 MMA, 7-2 UFC). I was slightly surprised by the fact that Brunson stands as the betting favorite. It's undoubtedly true that the all-time great's best days are past him. But if Derek's bout against Robert Whittaker taught us anything, it's that his high-pressure style truly suffers when met with excellent counter striking, patience, and precision. Believe you me buddeh, those previously mentioned skills are Silva's bread and butter. I obviously expect Brunson to be more patient and focus on his wrestling, but I believe Anderon's killer instinct will help him obtain another finish to his already impressive highlight reel.

Prediction: Anderson Silva

Holly Holm vs. Germaine de Randamie

In the night's main event, former women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm (10-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) takes on Germaine de Randamie (7-3 MMA, 3-1 UFC) for the inaugural women’s featherweight title. Not only is this a very important moment for WMMA, it is an excellent contest between two elite strikers. I believe the deciding factor in the bout's outcome will be how each lady controls and imposes their desired range. Holm does most of her work from outside range, outpointing her opponents while staying away from the pocket. De Randamie likes to get her hands dirty, pressuring her opponents against the cage and using her world-class clinch skills to do serious damage. I've gone back and forth over the past couple of weeks, but I'm leaning towards Holm. The last time she fought an opponent that was looking to close distance (Rousey) she successfully used her footwork to keep the fight at her desired range. De Randamie is definitely a more proficient striker and distance cutter, but I'm trying to focus on Holm's ability to remain calm and stick to a gameplan. As a sidenote, USA Today's Mike Bohn pointed out that Germaine de Randamie has never beaten an opponent with a UFC win. Her three UFC victories are over opponents with a combined 0-6 record.

Prediction: Holly Holm

January 2017 Accuracy (Thus Far): 100% (10/10)
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