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UFC 208 fight card primer: Anderson Silva vs. Derek Brunson

The co-main event of UFC 208 pits former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva against top-10 ranked Derek Brunson. All the details are here in our Bloody Elbow primer.

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The co-main event of UFC 208 in Brooklyn, New York will be a matchup of an MMA legend against one of the rising contenders in the middleweight division. Anderson Silva (33-8, 1 NC MMA; 16-4, 1 NC UFC) is searching for his first win since 2012, while Derek Brunson (16-4 MMA, 7-2 UFC) is looking to bounce back from a tough TKO loss in his last outing. You can catch the UFC 208: Holm vs. de Randamie main card exclusively on PPV at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT, with prelims available on FS1 at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT, and on Fight Pass at 6:30 PM ET/3:30 PM PT.

Silva vs. Brunson was officially announced less than a month ago, and the prevailing belief is that this fight was made to help bolster a card that was lacking in name value. From a rankings perspective, Silva is #6 while Brunson is #7, so this is a fine matchup made on shorter-than-normal notice.

How do these two stack up?

Silva: 41 years old | 6’2" | 77.5" reach
Brunson: 33 years old | 6’1" | 77" reach

What have these two done recently?

Silva: L - Daniel Cormier (UD) | L - Michael Bisping (UD) | NC - Nick Diaz (failed drug test)
Brunson: L - Robert Whittaker (TKO) | W - Uriah Hall (KO) | W - Roan Carneiro (KO)

How did these two get here?

“The Spider” once reigned atop the middleweight division from 2006-2013. It’s been downhill for Silva since his KO loss to Chris Weidman at UFC 162. The immediate rematch led to a broken leg which fans feared would be a career-ender. Silva returned to the cage against Nick Diaz at UFC 183, winning by unanimous decision, only to see that result overturned to a no contest due to failing his drug test. Anderson returned from his ban to face Michael Bisping, and in a back-and-forth thriller which saw both men badly hurt and knocked down, Bisping took the unanimous decision. Amazingly, Silva took on current light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier almost literally at the last minute, as Cormier needed a new opponent after Jon Jones failed his pre-UFC 200 drug test, but unsurprisingly lost that by decision. Will one of the sport’s greatest ever fighters turn back the clock and get back in the win column, or will it be another sad chapter in the decline of Anderson Silva? We shall soon find out.

Brunson came over from the Strikeforce merger in 2012, and won by unanimous decision over Chris Leben in his UFC debut. After quickly beating Brian Houston, Brunson faced Yoel Romero in early 2014, and after winning the first two rounds, Brunson found himself TKO’d in the final round. From there, Brunson went on an absolute tear through the middleweight division, winning five consecutive fights, including four straight (T)KOs against Ed Herman, Sam Alvey, Roan Carneiro, and Uriah Hall. He earned main event honors against Robert Whittaker at UFC Melbourne last November, and engaged in one of the wildest one-round fights you’ll ever see. Unfortunately for Brunson, he was stopped by Whittaker via head kick and punches with just under a minute to go in round 1. Now he gets the opportunity to defeat a legend of the sport and elevate his profile.

Why should you care?

It’s a fading legend’s last stand against one of the rising contenders at middleweight who is looking for the biggest win of his career. This is highly unlikely to go the distance, and is a genuinely compelling matchup.