UFC 208: Holly Holm, Anderson Silva Return To The Octagon


She had been making it all look so easy, glowering with dark objective inside the cage and glistening with a golden smile under celebrity spotlights. Following a record-setting 2016 that featured five events topping 1m purchases, the mixed martial arts company heads into its first full year under a new ownership group as ambitious as its ever been.

This isn't to say that the UFC doesn't need a women's featherweight division.

This fight isn't just important to Holm because of the chance to become the women's featherweight champion. With Justino still awaiting a decision on a potential penalty and a lack of 145-pounders added to the roster, the women's featherweight era could be short-lived.

If only the plot were that untwisted. The fight will decide the promotion's first female featherweight champion.

While Holm is desperately in search of a victory to snap the first two-fight losing streak of her storied career, she will do so with a title on the line.

Last time fans saw Silva, he lost in a unanimous decision to current light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and looked pretty off his game. However, just eight months later she found herself dropping to 10-2.

A fascinating matchup between two elite strikers with sensational stand up skills and based on form from their previous two bouts, De Randamie has the edge having emphatically stopped both opponents whilst Holm has been substandard. The 32-year-old from the Netherlands, though a five-time world champion in kickboxing, will be in only her 10th professional MMA fight. Holm's two losses were to opponents who were bad matchups for her. Justino fight last September for the UFC at a 140-pound catch-weight was debilitating. Had it not been for the UFC forcing a featherweight title on February 11, we could have seen Anderson come off her win last month and enter the Octagon later this year to compete for the inaugural UFC women's 145-pound belt, and the company could have sold the storyline of her being a champ from the best all-woman promotion on the planet. When Justino was subsequently flagged for a violation of the organization's anti-doping policy, the bout between Holm and de Randamie fell into place. Rarely do we see such contrast created from the direct result of one fight.

"I'm a Christian guy, I'm a firm believer in God, and I know where I'm coming from and where I'm going", he said.

If Brunson fights the way he did last time out in his TKO loss against Robert Whittaker then he should be easy meat for Silva, who would have a field day countering him as he recklessly charged forward with his chin out and his hands low, swinging wild haymakers. One might argue that Holm has some sparkle. Holm no longer has the distinction of being The Only Woman To Beat Ronda Rousey, after Nunes did so six weeks ago in 48 seconds of brutal dominance.

"I fought a man who had 40 pounds over me and I knocked him out", she said. The fight went all five rounds, and Silva was declared the victor at the end, but it ended up being a "no contest" for both fighters because after the fight it had been discovered that the Brazilian had had banned substances in his system.