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UFC 208: Holm vs. De Randamie fights to make

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All the best, most interesting, and coolest fights that the UFC should book following this weekend’s card in Brooklyn, New York.

MMA: UFC 208 Holm vs de Randamie Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

UFC 208 is in the books and it’s hard not to think that things went a bit awry for the promotion. Not only did Holly Holm not end up with a shiny new UFC title around her waist, but the bout was marred by some controversial work from the referee. That makes three straight losses for Holm and a new champ that, so far, has yet to grab fan attention in any way shape or form. Add in another bizarre Anderson Silva fight and the bookings coming out of this card could get weird.

I’ll be using the classic UFC booking style for this card (these days I have less and less idea what the modern UFC booking style is). So that means I’ll be putting winners against winners, losers against losers, and similarly tenured fighters against one another. Just to keep things lively, I’ll be joined by BE reader zeropctassimilated. If you want to grab a spot in next week’s Fights to Make start a comment below with: “I back, trust me, I back.” I’ll pick one winner from the comments below.

Hey all, my name is Andy (zeropctassimilated in the BE comment sections) and I’m happy to spend a little time contributing to a site I’ve been visiting for years. My love affair with MMA began when I happened to flip past Ben Rothwell vs. Roy Nelson in the IFL back in 2007, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’m an extremely broke PhD student who somehow convinced himself to spend $50 on last night’s event, so the least you could do is read this article. Now let’s pick some fights!


Andy - This should be as easy as it gets – the UFC and Uncle Dana have done a 180 in their tone with regards to “Cyborg”, there are rumbles that her positive test could be retroactively overturned, and she was in the audience last night looking downright dangerous and ready to go. I refuse to even consider another fight, despite de Randamie saying she needed surgery on her hand. Germaine de Randamie vs. Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos for a more believable 145 lb. belt.

Zane - I want to by hype for Cyborg vs. de Randamie. I want the fight to happen, and I want to be excited now. But, White and Co. were also talking about how well Jon Jones’ case was going with USADA right up until Jones ate a year-long suspension. So, until Cyborg gets the all clear, I can’t book her. Instead, I’m going to say that the UFC should bring in Megan Anderson if they can. Or, if they can’t make that fight happen, see if Julianna Pena would be interested in moving up to 145. There’s also the chance that the UFC books GDR vs. Amanda Nunes in a belt-vs-belt matchup, but with GDR getting surgery, I’m guessing they’ll go to Nunes vs. Shevchenko II instead. Time to build a real 145 division and bring in Anderson.


Andy - This one is a lot tougher, since there is literally no one else in the division. It’s complicated by the fact that, while she’s on a three-fight skid, I personally believed she did enough at least for a draw (especially since the refs were under the impression that last night was a No Holds Barred event, apparently). We can either draw ladies from 135 or from other organizations. In the first case, Julianna Pena is coming off a loss and is probably more than big enough for the division. Alternatively, bring in an Invicta fighter who is also talented and has fallen on hard times – Charmaine Tweet. Let’s do Holly Holm vs. Charmaine Tweet.

Zane - Holm’s commitment to 145 seems like it was all about getting another run at a belt. She was there for a quick shot at UFC gold. Otherwise, she talked about how interested she’d be in moving back to 135, even if she were champ. In that case, I say book her against Cat Zingano. Heck, they could even make that fight at 145 if they wanted to, and both of those ladies need a win bad right now.


Andy - Well. Ahem. Seeing as how Anderson…won…does he move up in the rankings? Does he want to? I’m at a loss, both because I didn’t expect this at all, and I still don’t fully buy it. Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort for the Pleaseretireweight Championship is my ideal, but since Vitor is set to get finished by fight Gastelum, maybe…just wait and see about the possibility of a superfight with St. Pierre? To hell with it. Anderson Silva vs. Georges St. Pierre.

Zane - Yeah, booking Anderson Silva right now is... not a happy task. The fights it feels like he should take are few and far between. It sounds like he’ll be taking a long break after this one, so I’d be totally fine seeing him take on Vitor Belfort again (win or lose) or even better, Rashad Evans. I don’t care if Evans loses to Dan Kelly or not, that’s at least a new matchup between two seasoned vets in the twilight of their careers. If the UFC can find a way to make GSP vs. Silva after all these years, great, but that seems like a dim possibility given current negotiations between GSP and the UFC. So Silva vs. Rashad (post-Kelly) is my pick.


Andy - Bad spot for Brunson in a suddenly very crowded Middleweight top ten. I thought he should have gotten the nod, but it was closer than it should have been and he frankly didn’t look elite out there. I’d like to see him against the winner of Hector Lombard vs. Johny Hendricks next time out.

Zane - Oooh, I love that Lombard/Hendricks winner idea. That feels like a great fight for Brunson right now. So much so that I’m tempted not to offer anything in-between. But, assuming Brunson wants to fight again ASAP and not wait for another bout to end and fighters to heal up, then I would be totally cool with seeing him fight Krzysztof Jotko to see if the young pole can keep his momentum going. Book Jotko vs. Brunson now, or wait for Lombard/Hendricks, either works for me.


Andy - If Jacare doesn’t get a goddamn title shot I will lose my mind. He called for a fight with Luke Rockhold, which I find really weird, but if he wants it…sure? I guess? Can you force someone to take a title shot? It would be weirdly fitting if after all this time the only way Jacare gets a title shot is because he doesn’t want one. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. Michael Bisping-Yoel Romero winner.

Zane - That’s a good/bad move from Jacare, because when it comes to title contenders, ask for something other than the belt and you shall receive. I totally agree that Jacare should get the next shot at the Bisping/Romero winner, but since he said he’d be fine fighting Rockhold, the UFC will probably want to book that first. They need “big” fights for their upcoming cards and that’s still one of the best to be made at 185. Rockhold vs. Jacare II (since Jacare is interested).


Andy - Glover made Cannonier look like what he was – an unranked fighter in the cage against a long time elite veteran. But what on earth does he do in a light heavyweight division where everyone is either recently cut, near the end of their career, or has recently beaten him? If Alexander Gustafsson is ever coming back, I’d like to see that fight. Failing that, the only fight that makes sense to me is Glover Texeira vs. the Corey AndersonJimi Manuwa winner.

Zane - Yep. Glover vs. Gustafsson is the only immediate fight worth making, and Anderson/Manuwa winner is the only backstop. With Jones likely getting next shot at the title, and Johnson/Cormier having the chance to jump back into top contention with any win after that, Glover has no other options than to fight whoever’s top ranked coming off a solid win. Get Gus healthy and get him in the cage with Glover Teixeira ASAP.


Andy - Despite a lot of talk about reinventing himself defensively, Poirier looked largely unchanged and took a lot of damage off a guy who was supposed to not be nearly as offensively potent as him. As fun as that was, between a closer-than-it-should-have-been fight and an injury, I’m not sure about trying to put him in high level fights anymore – he’s a good, exciting gatekeeper to me. With that in mind, Evan Dunham is a guaranteed blast. Book it – Dustin Poirier vs. Evan Dunham.

Zane - I really love seeing Poirier in top flight fights. He definitely takes too much damage, but he’s a near-elite action fighter that can really bring the best out of his opposition. Since it seems likely he could be on the shelf for a while, it’s hard to know what matchups will be open for him. Assuming he and his leg heal quickly, I’d love to see him fight Eddie Alvarez. Alvarez loves to brawl and I just think a fight between him and Poirier would be a hell of a lot of fun. The Dunham fight would also be really solid, or potentially Michael Chiesa. Heck, you could throw the Barboza/Dariush winner in there too. Poirier will always come to scrap.


Andy - His phantom title shot that was given then taken away, combined with being one of the only Flyweights on a win streak who hasn’t already lost to the champ, means he should probably get Demetrious Johnson, despite the fact that I think DJ vs. Me, an overweight PhD student, would do comparable PPV numbers. You could gamble and put Reis up against Sergio Pettis, hoping to get a more exciting match up out of it, but I don’t want to risk burning Pettis while he’s still developing. Let’s do Wilson Reis vs. Demetrious Johnson.

Zane - There’s some talk of DJ vs. Formiga out there too, if Formiga beats Ray Borg, but either way, Reis and Formiga both seem like less than compelling challengers for the champ. As long as DJ is set on breaking Silva’s record before approaching a rematch with Dominick Cruz, however, then I’m all for feeding fighters to DJ as quick as the UFC can. Assuming they don’t go with Reis, however, the UFC could book Reis vs. Horiguchi. Terrible style matchup for Reis, but would be another step toward a second title shot for Horiguchi.


Andy - Despite some criticism from Joe Rogan, I was impressed with what Makhachev brought to the table last night. That dominant brand of top control may not be thrilling, and he was never close to finishing, but he looked dangerous for an unranked fighter in a deep division. I’d like to see him against someone who could stay upright long enough to trouble him on the feet, while also being a more serious threat from the bottom than Lentz. If Marcin Held is sticking around, that could be a fun fight, but if Held gets the WME kiss of death, I’ll take a fight with the next best thing – Joe Lauzon. Islam Makhachev vs. Joe Lauzon is the fight for me.

Zane - Makhachev vs. Lauzon definitely has some thrill to it, but I don’t think Lauzon would actually stay upright. Counter-wrestling has never been the heart and soul of Lauzon’s game. Instead I’m going to say the UFC should go with Olivier Aubin-Mercier. I’d really like to see him against Francisco Trinaldo right now, but Trinaldo is booked against Kevin Lee. The other sensible fight would be Leonardo Santos, who has quietly run out to 5-0-1 at lightweight. So, Makhachev could campaign for the Trinaldo/Lee winner, but I think a bout between him and Aubin-Mercier would make for a really solid grapple/scramble fight.

OTHER BOUTS: Boetsch vs. Camozzi, Cannonier vs. Lil’ Nog, Miller vs. Dunham, Muhammad vs. Mina, Brown vs. Moontasri, Sasaki vs. Benoit, Lentz vs. Held, Glenn vs. Rivas, LaFlare vs. Cummings, Carneiro vs. McGee