UFC 208 went down at the historic Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, NYC, but was far from a classic event. Out of 10 bouts, there was but one finish on the night, a first round submission of Tim Boetsch at the hands of Ronaldo Souza. The night was capped off with the crowning of the first ever UFC women’s featherweight champion, after Germaine de Randamie picked up a unanimous decision over former UFC bantamweight champion Holly Holm. With such an underwhelming card, the biggest losers may be the fans.
Germaine de Randamie: Not many people knew who de Randamie was before she won the inaugural UFC featherweight belt, and many people still might not, but she will at least go down in the history books as the first female featherweight queen. She also puts herself in position for a big fight with Cyborg, which should be a huge draw. Against Holm, de Randamie showed she can pack a punch, stop a takedown, and that she can last for 5 rounds. Some after the bell strikes may not have won over any fans, but her next fight will give her the chance to redeem herself. All in all, UFC 208 was a huge win for de Randamie.
Ronaldo Souza: Jacare did exactly what the #3 ranked UFC middleweight should do when pitted against someone outside of the top 10. He smoke checked Boetsch with a first round Kimura submission, reaffirming just how dangerous he can be, and why a title shot should be on the horizon. The current middleweight king Michael Bisping just might be facing Yoel Romero in his next fight, but if not, Jacare just made a convincing argument to be the next to step in. The former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold is currently sporting the #2 tag in the UFC rankings, but Jacare’s first round finish could catapult him up a spot from #3.
Dustin Poirier: Poirier bounced back from a brutal loss to Michael Johnson with a hard-nosed win over Jim Miller. With a UFC 208 card that left a lot to be desired in terms of excitement, Poirier put on for the New York crowd by delivering and a plethora of punches to his opponents head. Poirier showed a ton of grit as a third round leg injury forced him to adjust, and take a dangerous grappler in Jim Miller to the ground. Hanging tough through an injury and being able to adjust mid-fight is definitely the type of behavior that draws in more fans. Poirier also proved that he belongs in the UFC’s lightweight top 10, and positioned himself to face a high ranking opponent in his next outing. Aside from the injury, it’s all ‘W’s’ for “The Diamond.”
Ulka Sasaki: Losing has never looked so good. Yes, the unranked Sasaki lost to the #5 ranked Wilson Reis, but he made it really fun for the fans in the process. With constant taunting and an unbreakable attitude, Sasaki was able to survive on the ground against a very dangerous grappler, and even rallied to win the third round on all 3 scorecards. Despite the loss, such a spirited performance from Sasaki’s has only raised his stock.
Holly Holm: Just when Holm had the chance to be more than ‘the first one to beat Ronda Rousey,’ she found herself on the losing end of a unanimous decision in a monumental fight for the first-ever UFC women’s featherweight belt. Failing to capture the 145 belt now makes 3-straight losses for Holm, which makes her next move a bit of a mystery. The comparisons to boxing’s Buster Douglas, the first man to KO the infamous Mike Tyson, are even more relevant as Holm has been unable to find any success following her win over Rousey. It’s a tough spot to be, but Holm is hanging out in the loser’s lounge.
Phillipe Nover: Nover gave it a go against Rick Glenn, but it just wasn’t enough as the New Yorker pushed his losing streak to 3. With the UFC trimming down the roster left and right, linking losses together is the last thing you want to do to ensure job security. Unfortunately, Nover’s last meaningful win for the UFC was on TUF season 8, so the chances of us seeing him in the Octagon again seem rather slim. At least he has a nursing career to fall back on.
The Fans: When 9 out of 10 fights go to a decision, there is a good chance of some unhappy fans. With stars on deck like Anderson Silva and Glover Teixeira, a pay-per-view caliber card is to be expected, but a pay-per-view caliber card is not what was delivered. Aside from Jacare’s sub, Poirier vs. Miller, and Holm vs. de Randamie, the rest of the card was basically a dud. Anybody who paid $59.99 is probably bummed out, and rightfully so. This card seemed to be a bit weak, but had some names that could have added to the dazzle, but they didn’t. We really expected more from a Brooklyn card. Grrrr.