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The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns this weekend on pay-per-view. The inaugural women’s featherweight championship is up for grabs. This card has seen many changes, including a venue switch from Anaheim to Brooklyn. UFC 208 will take place in the Barclays Centre, New York. 

At the top of the bill, is the featherweight bout between Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie. The former Bantamweight Champion Holm will look to make history. On Saturday night, she become the first woman to have held UFC belts in two divisions.

 A long time boxing world champion and kickboxing world champion, Holm’s MMA career has lived up to the hype. Going nine straight victories before destroying Ronda Rousey.  Holm looked like she was going to take over as the face of women’s MMA. When Holm knocked out Rousey to claim the title, she arguably pulled off the greatest upset in UFC history. Since then, she's fell on difficult times. Two fights, two losses. Submitted by Miesha Tate last March to lose her title. She was then outstriked by Valentina Shevchenko on the way to a decision loss. Holm is in desparate need of a win, not to become MMA's Buster Douglas. A win here could be the spark to reignite the career of Holly Holm.

Looking to make it a trio of losses for Holly is Dutch striker Germaine de Randamie. Another lady with a decorated stand-up background, de Randamie comes to the octagon with an illustrious list of World Championships in the discipline of Muay Thai. ‘The Iron Lady’ had struggled with the transition to MMA, going 3-2 before gracing the UFC octagon. Since then she has improved with each fight and is 3-1 in the promotion. Her only loss in the promotion coming at the hands of current Bantamweight Champion, Amanda Nunes.

So how does the fight play out? Simple enough to say, it should stay on the feet. Holm likes to counter when her opponents come towards her. Germaine de Randamie likes to be aggressive and come towards her opponents. It is a direct clash of styles. Holm’s use of range is her best weapon. She remains on the outside with a long jab and excellent lateral movement, allowing her to enter her opponent’s space without being hit with counters in return. Holm often ends her striking combinations with long front kicks and side kicks to again keep her opponents at distance. Holm doesn’t throw a whole lot of round kicks, but when they come they do a serious damage such as the head kick that floored Rousey. Germaine de Randamie will use her jab to set up her aggressive combinations of hands and kicks. Where she is most strong is her clinch work. Her muay thai background will allow her to get a strong grip of her opponent's neck before driving a series of knees into their head or body.

Holm looked good at defending the clinch when she faced Ronda, so it should serve her well here. I find this incredibly close to call with a decision win for either lady most likely. I’m taking de Randamie to edge this and come away with the upset.

 

Long time Middleweight King Anderson Silva squares off with Derek Brunson in the co-main event. Brunson is presented with an opportunity of taking out a legend of the game. Silva looks to get his first win since 2012, which was over Stephan Bonnar. If Brunson can pot shot with his power he has a chance. If he is wild he can be eaten up on the feet by Silva. This is if the aging Silva performs to his capability and his chin hold up. Fancy Silva to get the win here.

Elsewhere Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza takes on Tim Boetsch at Middleweight. Jacare looks most likely to be next in line to face Michael Bisping for the Middleweight strap. In what appears to be fairly one sided, the former Strikeforce Champion should have far too much for Boetsch skillwise. I’m taking Jacare by an early stoppage here.

Also look for Dustin Poirier and Jim Miller to provide a large amount of entertainment with their fan friendly styles. Wilson Reis and Ian McCall will both look for wins in their respective bouts and attempt to push themselves towards a shot at Mighty Mouse later this year.

Kieran’s Predictions:

Holly Holm vs Germaine de Randamie – Germaine de Randamie

Anderson Silva vs Derek Brunson – Silva

Ronaldo Souza vs Tim Boetsch – Jacare and in the 1st

Glover Teixeira vs Jared Cannonier – Teixeira

Dustin Poirier vs Jim Miller – Poirier

Randy Brown vs Belal Muhammad – Brown

Wilson Reis vs Ulka Sasaki – Reis

Nik Lentz vs Islam Makhachev – Makhachev

Ian McCall vs Jarred Brooks – McCall

Marcin Tybura vs Justin Willis – Tybura

Ryan LaFlare vs Roan Carneiro – LaFlare

Phillipe Nover vs Rick Glenn – Glenn

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