UFC 208 was a peculiar card for many reasons. Of the 10 fights, 9 ended in a decision which exposed some strange score cards. Either I have no idea how to judge a fight (the likely answer) or the two New York cards had some inexperienced judges. The last two fights of the night ended in controversial fashion, especially the inaugural women’s featherweight fight which is already being rumored for a rematch.
This was my first UFC PPV without Mike “catch phrase” Goldberg which added to the weirdness of the event. He was replaced with Jon Anik and Daniel Cromier making it a three man booth with Joe Rogan. I have never been a fan of the three man booth in any sport (except for Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, and Marc Jackson) and this grouping was no exception. Anik was a glorified ad reader while Cromier chuckled constantly like a retired NFL player on any of the 15 NFL pregame shows. Rogan was good as always, but if this is going to be the commentating group for the foreseeable future, it will take some time to work out the kinks.
Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)
Welterweight – Ryan LaFlare def. Roan Carneiro – Decision unanimous – (30-26, 30-27, 29-28)
The only fight pass prelim fight saw three different score cards from three different judges setting the tone for the night. LaFlare beat Carneiro in a decision winning all three rounds in my opinion.
In the first round LaFlare attempted a spinning back kick that missed. In the clinch Carneiro scored a takedown. LaFlare was able to slide into top position before the fighters got back to their feet in the clinch. LaFlare landed more strikes in the first round, most notably several body kicks.
The second round saw more action starting with both fighters trading kicks. Carneiro slipped to the ground giving LaFlare an opportunity to jump on top of him. The fighters got back to their feet and LaFlare dropped Carneiro with a left jab while the fighters were up against the cage. LaFlare jumped on the compromised Carneiro where he landed several strikes. Carneiro kept grabbing the cage with his feet in spite of the ref warning him not do so multiple times.
In the final round LaFlare chased down Carneiro who hit the back of his head on one of the cameras. The fight eventually went to the ground where LaFlare took the dominant position. The fighters got back to their feet where Carneiro landed a leg kick before clinching up with LaFlare. Out of the clinch LaFlare landed a combo which forced Carneiro into a level change where he scored a takedown. On the ground Carneiro landed several strikes and looked for a fight ending submission. LaFlare’s face opened up and defend against the late round barrage from Carneiro.
Preliminary Card (FS1)
Featherweight – Rick Glenn def. Phillipe Nover – Decision split – (27-30, 30-27, 29-28)
A featherweight fight between two fighters I have never heard of opened up the preliminary card on fuck shits 1. All three judges scored this fight differently as well. I thought Glenn defeated Nover in all three rounds but could understand a 29-28 scorecard in his favor. But the 27-30 score card made no sense at all. There is no way that a judge could have scored all three rounds for Nover. Maybe the mustache Glenn was sporting threw the judge off?
Nover landed an overhand right and a high kick early in the first round. Glenn responded with a counter left which was met with another high kick from Nover. Glenn charged forward towards Nover, eating an elbow in the process. Nover then retreated and the two fighters clinched up. The second round saw a high kick from Glenn which led to the clinch. Nover landed a knee to the body in the clinch and showed good takedown defense preventing Glenn from taking the fight to the ground. After separating Glenn landed a straight left which led to another clinch where Glenn landed a knee to the body of Nover.
The third round started with both fighters trading strikes. They clinched up for a long time and the ref separated them for inactivity. They clinched up again shortly after, separated, and Glenn started to connect with punches. The fighters then clinched up again where Glenn threw some foot stomps and landed an elbow right before the final bell.
Lightweight – Islam Markhachev def. Nik Lentz – Decision unanimous (30-25, 30-25, 30-27)
This boring victory of Markhachev saw multiple 10-8 rounds from two of the judges. In the first round Markhachev and Lentz traded kicks early. Markhachev scored a takedown and remained in the power position until the fighters got back to their feet in the clinch. Markhachev scored a second takedown and controlled the ground game until the end of the round.
I missed the first 15 second of the second round as a commercial promoting NASCAR on Fox featuring the chuckle fucks from the NFL pregame show sporting NASCAR suits went long. Not a lot happened in the second round as Markhachev scored a takedown and dominated the ground fighting the rest of the round. The third round started with both fighters trading kicks and Lentz throwing a spinning back fist. Markhachev landed a body kick and another takedown form the clinch. Markhachev took the back of Lentz and landed some ground and pound. He looked for the rear-naked choke but was unable to finish Lentz before the final bell.
In his post-fight interview with the tight black dress shirt sporting Rogan, Markhachev called out Floyd Mayweather. This was met with a condescending tone from Rogan as it was a ridiculous call out.
Flyweight – Wilson Reis def. Ulka Sasaki – Decision unanimous – (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
The least shocking result of the night is that the only flyweight fight went to a decision. Sasaki is a very tall flyweight standing at 5’ 10” making him long and lanky. In the first round Reis brought Sasaki to the ground and after the fighters got back to their feet, Reis landed a jab and taunted Sasaki. Reis scored another takedown and was almost submitted by Sasaki who attempted a kimura. Reis landed some elbows before the first round came to a close.
Reis brought the fight to the ground again in the second round and took the back of Sasaki. He wasn’t able to accomplish much before the fighters got back to their feet. The fight went back to the ground where Reis was able to reclaim the back of Sasaki and looked for a rear-naked choke. He couldn’t get under the chin of Sasaki but did attempt to submit him by crushing his chin. Sasaki survived, got to his feet, and was brought back to the ground again to end the second round.
Reis scored two more takedowns in the third round. On the second trip to the ground, Sasaki was able to maneuver and take the back of Reis. From there Sasaki controlled the rest of the round landing elbows looking to earn the finish. Reis survived the onslaught and earned the victory.
Welterweight – Belal Muhammad def. Randy Brown – Decision unanimous – (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Brown entered his match with Muhammad with a 6 inch read advantage. That reach did not help him earn the victory as Muhammad beat him decisively.
The first round saw both fighters trading strikes. Brown whiffed on a spinning back kick but landed on many leg kicks. Muhammad landed leg kicks of his own and Brown connected on some jabs. Brown held his hands out illegally with his fingers pointed straight out throughout the entire fight. The ref called him out on it several times in the second round but it didn’t seem to deter him from doing it. In the second round, the fighters clinched up multiple times before Muhammad scored a takedown. On the ground Muhammad took the back of Brown where he landed several hammer fists and heavy strikes.
Brown kept his fingers extended illegally in the third round. He never poked the eye of Muhammad but there was a nut shot on Muhammad. The ref didn’t grant a time stoppage but Brown didn’t attack until Muhammad lifted his glove signaling he was ready to continue. Muhammad scored another takedown and Brown attempted submissions while on his back looking to steal a victory.
Main Card (PPV)
Lightweight – Dustin Poirier def. Jim Miller – Decision majority – (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
The match between Poirier and Miller was the fight of the night. Both dudes crushed each other. Poirier earned the victory but left the octagon with the aid of his trainers as he could put weight on his swollen and injured shin.
Poirier is a giant lightweight. He has big broad shoulders and has to cut and insane amount of weight to get down to 155. In the first round he landed leg kicks and defended takedown attempted from Miler. He broke up a clinch by landing an upper cut and a jab. The fight eventually went to the ground and Miller was able to take the back of Poirier. After maneuvering on the ground Poirier gets on top and back to his feet. The two fighters end the first round with a slug fest.
Miller landed powerful leg kicks in the second round. Poirier responded by clipping Miller which forced Miller to level change. While doing so, Miller ate right and several more jabs as the fighters separated. Poirier smelled blood and unleashed a flurry of strikes. Miller swung back but Poirier began to overpower him with fast and power strikes. Poirier scored a takedown and another combo to end the round.
Miller dropped Poirier with a leg kick in the third round leaving Poirier hobbled. Miller was unable to take full advantage of the injured Poirier because he was brought to the ground after Poirier caught one of his kicks. This takedown was the most important move of the fight for Poirier because it allowed him to keep weight off from his destroyed shin. Miller attempted an arm lock which Poirier escaped and followed up with strikes to end the fight. Both fighters were weak after the fight and went immediately to the hospital.
Light Heavyweight – Glover Teixeira def. Jared Cannonier – Decision unanimous – (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
Teixeira easily beat Cannonier in their light heavyweight match up. All three judges scored the fight 30-26 making it an impressive victory for Teixeira. In the first round Teixeira scored a takedown and attempted a guillotine on Cannonier. The guillotine looked tight but Cannonier was able to escape. Teixeira controlled the ground fighting but ate a knee and upper cut from Cannonier when the fight got back to the standing position. In the second round Teixeira scored a takedown and was controlled the fight. The ref stood the fighters up which Rogan and Cromier loudly disagreed with. Teixeira scored another takedown and dominated the ground in the third round. The ground fighting was highly technical but the Brooklyn crowd didn’t seem to enjoy it as they boo’ d this fight loudly.
Middleweight – Ronaldo Souza def. Tim Boetsch – Submission kimura – (RD 1 – 3:41)
It is shameful to admit that I often think about what my walk out music and demeanor would be if I were a UFC fighter on a PPV card. I appreciate the effort and sacrifice that is required to earn such an honor but watching Souza make his walk to the ring was painful. He walked impossibly slow soaking up all of the attention and love from the Brazilian fans. The dude is not lacking confidence and presents himself in an unlikable manner. Again, this is coming from a fat white guy watching the fights from his lazy boy so my criticism’s carry zero weight.
Souza finished Boetsch with a kimura in the first round. The arm lock looked painful and it probably did some damage to Boetsch. Souza brought Boetsch to the ground after catching a leg kick. He slid into side control, placed a knee on the stomach of Boetsch and found the opening for the kimura.
Souza has a buggy eyed coach who kept flapping his arms back and forth after the victory. He was probably the most entertaining guy in the ring that night.
Middleweight – Anderson Silva def. Derek Brunson – Decision unanimous – (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Every fighting organization claims to have “the greatest of all time” on their roster. The UFC claims that Anderson Silva is the greatest of all time and despite being in his early 40’s, past his prime, and failed drug tests on his resume, he is still a big draw and a good fighter.
His victory over Brunson wasn’t a great fight, but I don’t think Silva should have received the unanimous decision. I through Brunson struggled but was the clear winner. The fight started off slow with both fighters doing nothing but getting a feel for each other for the first couple of minutes. Silva was never the aggressor in this fight only looking to land counter attacks. In the first round he landed a counter left and several kicks. Silva threw a flying knee at the end of the first round that missed badly. Brunson landed some leg kicks and threw some heavy blows that didn’t connect.
In the second round Silva showed great takedown defense. Brunson landed an overhand left and eventually scored a takedown. He wasn’t able to keep Silva down long as the fighters got back to their fee the clinch shortly after. Brunson landed an upper cut in the break and Silva landed multiple jabs and a leg kick before the second round ended.
Silva showed more good takedown defense in the third round. Brunson was only successful on 2 of his 11 takedown attempts in this fight. Brunson connected on some strikes and absorbed a spinning back kick from Silva. Brunson scored his second takedown in the third but was not able to accomplish much on the ground. After the final bell both fighters at on the mat and talked to each other for quite a while.
As I typed out my notes I can see how Silva was awarded the victory but watching the fight live felt like Brunson had won. This fight was probably closer than I believe it was, but my initial thoughts after the decision was announced was that Brunson was robbed.
Women’s Featherweight – Germaine de Randamie def. Holly Holm – Decision unanimous – (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)
Arguments probably can be made for both sides on the Silva/Brunson fight, but I don’t think they can for the first UFC women’s featherweight fight between Holm and de Randamie. Holm was a victim of terrible officiating. This was a good close fight and I believe the score cards from the judges were accurate minus the illegal strikes landed by de Randamie.
Holm struggled with the powerful de Randamie. Holm landed more strikes but de Randamie’s were more powerful and effective. Holm couldn’t bring de Randamie to the ground and absorbed powerful knees in the clinch. But Holm did clip de Randamie with a high kick in the 3rd round and with left in the 5th round.
The story of the fight took place after the second round bell and the 3rd round bell. The bell rung signaling the end of the second round but de Randamie kept swinging and clipped Holm with a right. The blow was clearly after the bell and the ref didn’t even warn de Randamie. After the third round bell de Randamie threw two, not one but two strikes after the bell that hit Holm. That is when the ref warned de Randamie but didn’t deduct a point.
At the very least one point should have been taken away after the second late strikes, but in my opinion a point should have been taken away for both offenses. That would have either ended the fight in a draw or a win for Holm. Instead de Randamie cheated and won the fight.
Very audible curse words from the crowd could be heard during Rogan’s post-fight interview with de Randamie. He did ask her about the late strikes and she claimed it was in the heat of the moment and weren’t malicious. That isn’t a worth excuse as arguably the heaviest shot of the fight came after the bell in the second round.
Doing some research I learned that the found isn’t over when the bell rings. It is over when the ref jumps in between the two fighters. The bell is there as a reference and the fighters are told to stop fighting when they hear the bell. The ref was getting a lot of complaints from Holm’s corner and realized he was late in getting in between the fighters at the end of the rounds. At the end of the 5th round he was essentially in between the fighters for the last 5 seconds trying to prevent another late strike. What a bummer way to end the card and to crown the first women’s featherweight champ. Holm should have won the fight if the rules were followed correctly.
The media is awash with hot takes and opinions on this fight. I haven’t looked into much of it, but I did read de Randamie is willing to fight Holm again even though she did mention taking time off after the fight.
UFC Fight Night 105 is this Sunday, February 19th.