History will be made Saturday night in Brooklyn.
The first UFC women’s featherweight champion will be crowned as Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie face off in the octagon for the inaugural belt at Barclays Center.
It’ll also be an important night in the men’s middleweight division. No. 7-ranked Anderson Silva will aim to snap a five-fight winless streak in a showdown against No. 8 Derek Brunson that could propel the winner to title contention soon. Also, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza will try to continue his hot streak against hard-hitting No.13-ranked Tim Boetsch.
Here is a complete breakdown for all of the fights on the main card, along with betting odds, courtesy of OddsShark, and some predictions.
Lightweight: Dustin Poirier (20-5, -450) vs. Jim Miller (28-8, 1 NC, +325)
Poirier is an excellent striker, as evidenced by his 10 knockout victories and an impressive significant strike rate of 4.81 per minute. In fact, Poirier has the best significant strike differential per minute among all lightweights, and he also has landed the most strikes per minute. If Poirier avoids the mat against Miller, who used to be an NCAA wrestler, he can finish him early.
Prediction: Poirier via first-round TKO
Light heavyweight: Glover Teixeira (25-5, -210) vs. Jared Cannonier (9-1, +170)
Teixeira is trying to bounce back from a devastating 13-second loss against Anthony Johnson at UFC 202, and he’ll try to do it against an up-and-comer striker in Cannonier. Cannonier has excellent striking accuracy, having connected on 64 percent of his punches. However, his weakness comes in the ground game. Cannonier has yet to record a single takedown in his short UFC career, and he has been taken down quite a bit. In his last fight against Ion Cutelaba, Cannonier was knocked down six times. Teixeira has the experience advantage, owns a similar significant strike rate to the hard-hitting Cannonier and is the more versatile fighter (seven submission victories.) Also, there’s no doubt Teixeira will be a much tougher test for Cannonier than Cutelaba or Cyril Asker were.
Prediction: Teixeira via second-round submission
Middleweight: Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (23-4, 1 NC, -550) vs. Tim Boetsch (20-10, +375)
This is a very risky fight for Jacare. The No. 3-ranked middleweight contender could really postpone his shot for a title if he loses to heavy-underdog Boetsch. That said, the only way Souza will lose this fight is if one of Boetsch’s powerful punches strikes him in the right spot and knocks him out. Jacare likely will try to take this fight to the mat. He averages nearly two submissions and 3.48 takedowns per 15 minutes. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner also owns 16 career submission victories.
Prediction: Jacare via first-round submission
Middleweight: Anderson Silva (33-8, 1 NC, +125) vs. Derek Brunson (16-4, -155)
The last time Silva took the octagon, it was on two days’ notice against light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier at UFC 200. He lost the fight via unanimous decision, but there were moments when the legend looked like his former self. Spider hasn’t won a fight in nearly three years, and there’s no doubt he’s entering this fight starving to get back in the win column. Brunson lost his last fight against Robert Whitaker, but he won his four previous ones via first-round knockout. He’s a dangerous striker, but ultimately, he’s never fought anyone like Silva. Spider’s defense, movement, experience and hunger, and the fact that he has more than two days to prepare for the fight, should boost him to victory.
Prediction: Silva via unanimous decision
Women’s featherweight title: Holly Holm (10-2, +105) vs. Germaine de Randamie (6-3, -135)
Ever since she defeated Ronda Rousey in November 2015, Holm has fallen on hard times, losing her bantamweight belt to Miesha Tate and then dropping a heartbreaker to Valentina Shevchenko. Fighting in the featherweight division shouldn’t be a problem for Holm, who fought in higher weight classes during her illustrious boxing career. Like Holm, de Randamie also is an excellent striker, and there’s a good chance this match will be fought standing up the whole way through, especially when you consider the fact de Randamie has never recorded a single takedown in her UFC career. While de Randamie has the better defense metrics, Holm recently has gone up against tougher fighters.
Prediction: Holm via third-round TKO
Thumbnail photo via Kamil Krzaczynski/USA TODAY Sports Images