Anderson Silva, who is one of the greatest competitors in the sport of mixed martial arts returns to action at UFC 208 to battle the ferocious Derek Brunson. Silva is a key draw for the Brooklyn card and will attract plenty of attention, and deservingly so when you consider his striking capabilities inside the octagon. Not just that, but he can also make opponent’s look straight foolish at times, making him one of the most entertaining fighters in the history of the sport as well.
The Spider has an extremely tough opponent in front of him this weekend as Derek Brunson looks to make life difficult for his opponent’s in the cage with overwhelming pressure and can make the cage seem half the size than it is. Brunson’s five first round finishes are the most in UFC Middleweight division history and speak volumes for his power, athleticism and timing. Brunson’s last fight, a battle against Robert Whittaker in November, was an absolute brawl in which there was seemingly no strategy other than rushing Whittaker with overwhelming volumes of punches. It looked sloppy, undisciplined and outright amateurish, and Brunson paid the price when he was stopped inside the first round by the Australian.
At first glance, it seems like a dream matchup for Silva, who likes to play games with his opponents and make them miss. However, there are a few uncertainties that creep in when analysing Silva these days, especially when you have historically relied on speed, precision and timing to evade punches and score with your own. Brunson has two keys to victory, in which he can either land flush with a punch as Silva leaves his chin up or grind Silva out for a decision via wrestling. Silva has many win conditions of his own, as well, but my belief is that a loss will do wonders for Brunson who will come in and finish Anderson Silva. For us, there is some incredible value on Brunson to finish!
Tip: Derek Brunson by KO/TKO
Jacare Souza vs. Tim Boetsch is one of the most important fights on the card, in the essence of rankings for Souza. Souza could potentially have waited it out for the winner of Bisping vs. Romero and had a shot at the title, but instead, he has taken a fight with ‘The Barbarian’ Tim Boetsch.
Firstly, don’t undersell Tim Boetsch in this event. He has recently put together two exciting finishes against Josh Samman and Rafael Natal and will use this momentum in the hope of shocking Jacare Souza, one of the most renowned grapplers in the sport of MMA.
Souza was on an eight-fight win streak before losing against Yoel Romero in December 2015. He returned to the winner’s column by defeating Vitor Belfort in the first round in a bout in May before being pencilled in to battle Luke Rockhold in Melbourne, Australia – a fight that was later cancelled as Rockhold suffered an injury. The Rockhold fight was supposed to be a battle between two of the top contenders in the Middleweight division and Souza unfortunately missed his chance to prove himself yet again.
It’s hard to see Souza losing this one. He’s too skilled all across the board and is likely to finish Boetsch early in the fight and cement himself as a real contender and next in line for a title shot. Souza is such a heavy favourite that it makes it difficult to find value on him apart from the usually riskier bets. If that’s the case, I like Jacare Souza to win via early stoppage, but there is better value on total rounds betting in this case.
Tip: Total Rounds – Under 1.5
Glover Teixeira was climbing the rankings like it was 2013 again before losing to Anthony Johnson in August 2016. The fight against Johnson was supposed to be both exciting and competitive; however, Johnson stopped Teixeira in just 13 seconds with a precise strike to the head of Glover. The MMA world was stunned when this fight that everyone was looking forward to finished in just a matter of seconds. Teixeira gets a chance to instantly redeem himself and remind the UFC and fans everywhere why he is deservedly considered one of the best in the Light Heavyweight division.
Jared Cannonier, or known as the ‘Killa Gorilla’, has bounced straight into the spotlight after his impressive victories over both Cyril Asker and Ion Cutelaba of recent. Cannonier has now been involved in three straight ‘bonus’ awards with a fight of the night award to his name after the Cutelaba fight and a performance of the night award after the Asker fight. He was on the receiving end of a knockout in January 2015 that warranted a performance of the night for Shawn Jordan, also.
Jared Cannonier struggled through the early stages of the fight against Cutelaba but eventually found his way as the bout progressed as he improved his timing, range and accuracy. Cutelaba managed to land with strikes early and often on Cannonier but wasn’t able to put the ‘Killa Gorilla’ down and out. One thing is for sure in this fight, if you’re getting tagged by Glover Teixeira, you’re going to sleep. As much as I like Cannonier’s next 1-2 years in the UFC, this is a difficult spot for him, and Teixeria has a big point to prove after losing to Anthony Johnson.
Tip: Glover Teixeira by KO/TKO
Derek Brunson by KO/TKO
Derek Brunson vs. Anderson Silva
Sunday 12th February, 02:30 GMT
Odds: +400 – BetVictor
Total Rounds – Under 1.5
Ronaldo Souza vs. Tim Boetsch
Sunday 12th February, 02:00 GMT
Odds: -125 – Bet365
Glover Teixeira by KO/TKO
Glover Teixeira vs. Jared Cannonier
Sunday 12th February, 01:30 GMT
Odds: +250 – BetVictor