Earlier today, MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting odds for the main card of UFC 208. The main event between Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie for the newly minted UFC women’s featherweight title has had a line out for a couple of weeks now. It has bounced all around even, with Holm opening at -130 and de Randamie now sitting at -120. The co-main event of the card sees the return of the legendary Anderson Silva. The longtime middleweight champion will be looking to bounce back from what was a somewhat controversial outing last time against current champion Michael Bisping. He’ll be faced with Derek Brunson this time out, another fighter on the rebound. Brunson came out too aggressive for his own good against Robert Whittaker in his last outing and ended up getting stopped in the opening round to snap a five-fight winning streak. Brooklyn’s Barclays Center will also play host to one of the top middleweight contenders in the world, as Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza seems to have been inexplicably lined up with #13 Tim Boetsch. Over the past five years, ‘Jacare’ has gone 9-1, with his only loss coming in a razor-thin split decision to Yoel Romero. Boetsch, on the other hand, has gone 6-6 over that same time. One thing to Boetsch’s credit is that his last seven bouts have seen a stoppage, win or loss, so he’s always willing to go for it. Following a cut to 205, Jared Cannonier is suddenly one of the more intriguing fighters in the light heavyweight division. He’ll face a massive step up in competition as he gets matched up with former title contender Glover Teixeira in his second bout at the weight. Opening up the pay-per-view portion of the card are action lightweights Dustin Poirier and Jim Miller. Poirier has gone 4-1 since moving back up to 155, but hopes to rebound from his lone loss against Miller, who brings a three-fight win streak into the contest. The odds for these fours bouts see a pick em between Silva and Brunson, ‘Jacare’ as a massive favorite over Boetsch, Teixeira favored slightly over Cannonier, and Miller a solid dog to Poirier. This evening, Kalikas finished off the odds for the card with six preliminary bouts released at 5Dimes Sportsbook. Those include a pair of flyweight scraps, as highly-ranked Wilson Reis takes on Yuta Sasaki, and *fingers crossed* Ian McCall finally gets to step back in the cage against late replacement Jarred Brooks. Speaking of returns, Ryan LaFlare is set to step back into the Octagon for the first time since 2015 against Roan Carneiro in a welterweight bout. In the same division, a pair of solid strikers go head-to-head, as Randy Brown takes on Belal Muhammad. The final two matchups on the card feature Nik Lentz and Islam Makhachev at lightweight, as well as Rick Glenn getting a second crack in the UFC — this time at his real weight class — against a much more suitable opponent in Phillipe Nover. ——————– MAIN CARD (PPV, 10pm ET)
——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (Fox Sports 1, 8pm ET)
——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 7:30pm ET)
——————– Brad’s Analysis: Yuta Sasaki is the type of slick grappler who can catch a lot of people off guard if they’re not careful. I can’t see Wilson Reis falling into one of his traps however. Reis should be able to get Sasaki to the ground with ease, and once he sets up in top position he’s one of the most controlling grapplers at 125. Even on the feet, despite having a massive height and reach advantage, Sasaki hasn’t figured out to use that range yet which means Reis should get entry to his takedowns with ease. Nik Lentz is a perfect test for Islam Makhachev at this point. Makhachev wants to get inside on opponents and grind on them with his grappling. If he can do that against someone like Lentz it will be a very impressive feat. Through 17 fights in the UFC, the only person who has really been able to beat Lentz in that manner has been Chad Mendes. There’s a lot of hype behind Makhachev in general, and it could push this line further in the Russian’s favor despite a tough matchup. That may be enough for me to take a shot on a fighter who has been very good to bettors over the years. Since coming into the UFC, Ian McCall has had six fights. He’s also had to withdraw from fights six times due to injury or illness. That doesn’t include the three times opponents have pulled out of fights with him in the past year. It’s now going on two years since McCall stepped into the Octagon, his body is absolutely falling apart, and he’s gone through four consecutive training camps to get to this fight, with no payoff at the end. If he’s even close to 100%, I’ll be absolutely shocked. Jarred Brooks probably isn’t the unknown guy you want to be facing in that situation as the undefeated fighter is a very solid grappler, and this would probably be fairly competitive with McCall at his best. I may have to take a shot on the youngster, although he could be in over his head accepting this bout on short notice. He hasn’t been out quite as long as McCall, but Ryan LaFlare hasn’t seen the cage in well over a year. Before the layoff, his only UFC loss came to Demian Maia, and LaFlare was able to do better than most against the current, dominant incarnation of Maia. LaFlare has been put on his back before, and that could be trouble if he ends up there against Carneiro, but on the feet LaFlare should be busier, and he should be the one getting top position more often than not. I’ll be picking LaFlare, but can’t trust him in this spot. Rick Glenn was in a horrible spot to make his UFC debut, but should rebound nicely here. He doesn’t have to worry about being put on his back in this fight, and Nover isn’t a particularly high-volume fighter which should allow Glenn to control the pace. I think the end result is a decision for Glenn, but I’m not too interested in betting it at the current price, as Nover tends to make all of his fights competitive.