Unfortunately, UFC 208 did not carry the name value or deliver the greatest action we’ve ever seen. However, fighters did show up to fight, and there are always matches to make following each event. The card went down February 11th from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, the promotion’s first trip to the city. In the main event, Germaine de Randamie defeated Holly Holm by unanimous decision to become the UFC’s first women’s featherweight champion. The fight came with controversy, as Randamie landed strikes after the bell in both the third and fourth rounds. In the co-main event, Anderson Silva edged out a unanimous decision victory over Derek Brunson. The closely contested bout saw both men have moments in the fight, with 19 of 23 media outlets scoring it in favor for Brunson.
Following the UFC’s first event in Brooklyn, we provide the top five fights to make after UFC 208.
5. Dustin Poirier vs. Michael Chiesa
Despite a first round submission scare and an injured leg near the tail of the fight, Dustin Poirier came out victorious with his majority decision victory over Jim Miller. Poirier returned to the lightweight division in 2015, earning four straight victories before suffering a first-round knockout loss to Michael Johnson in September of last year.
The well-rounded and powerful 28-year-old is near the top of the division, and a reasonable fight next could come against Michael Chiesa. “Maverick” found success on The Ultimate Fighter 15, winning that season after submitting Al Iaquinta in the finals. It has been almost a year since he has stepped in the octagon; however, his current three-fight win streak puts him in line to receive another high-level talent. Poirier may be that guy.
4. Wilson Reis vs. Demetrious Johnson
Wilson Reis earned his third straight victory by earning a unanimous decision Saturday night, utilizing takedowns and scrambles to control the positioning of Ulka Sasaki for most of their fight. Reis had a successful UFC career thus far, compiling a 6-2 record in the promotion spanning back to September of 2013. The former Bellator and EliteXC fighter has earned some notable wins in his career, holding a decision over top bantamweight Bryan Caraway and a submission over Zach Makovsky.
Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson has practically cleaned out the entire flyweight division. As the rankings stand on the UFC’s website during the time of this post, he has scored victories over three of the top five including two over Henry Cejudo, Kyoji Horiguchi, and Joseph Benavidez. Reis has jiu-jitsu that could pose a threat to Johnson if the fight were to hit the canvas. The fight was already planned once before; might as well go for take number two, right?
3. Germaine de Randamie vs. Cris Cyborg
Aside from the illegal and more than likely purposeful shots after the bell from Germaine de Randamie, she performed well and earned the decision over former UFC bantamweight champion Holly Holm. After compiling a 48-0 record in Muay Thai, Randamie started off her mixed martial arts career with a 4-3 record. She has now earned three straight victories, the previous two coming by knockout, and now holds UFC gold for the first time in her career.
It is hard to deny that Cris Cyborg is probably the greatest female fighter alive. A loss in her debut never kept her back, winning 17 fights straight with 15 coming by knockout. The former Strikeforce and Invicta FC Featherweight Champion is 2-0 in the UFC, but currently is under a slight bit hot water. She was was notified of a potential USADA doping violation in December, but Dana White recently said her position is looking good. I’d imagine Randamie vs. Cyborg is our next featherweight fight to see who really is the best women’s 145-pound fighter.
2. Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort
Despite most fans and media scoring the fight in Derek Brunson’s favor, Anderson Silva was awarded from the judges a unanimous decision victory. The win was his first on record since defeating Stephan Bonnar in October of 2012. Silva rode a 17-fight win streak before dropping two losses to Chris Weidman, a No Contest to Nick Diaz, and two decisions to Michael Bisping and Daniel Cormier.
No matter the outcome of Vitor Belfort’s upcoming fight with Kelvin Gastelum, an understandable fight to make could come against Silva. Both are past their prime, old in age, have depleated chins, and have faced off before. Silva found success in their first meeting, earning one of the greatest knockouts the sport has ever seen. Could Belfort find revenge, or could Silva prove once more that he still has game? We would see.
1. Jacare Souza vs. Michael Bisping/Yoel Romero winner
Jacare Souza has looked totally unstoppable, easily finding the first-round kimura victory over Tim Boetsch. His grappling capabilities fall among the best in all of mixed martial arts, holding 17 of his 24 victories by submission. The fight before hand, Souza earned a dominate TKO victory over Vitor Belfort. His only UFC loss came back in December of 2015, dropping a close and debatable split decision loss to Yoel Romero. Following his loss of the Strikeforce Middleweight Championship to Luke Rockhold, Souza compiled eight straight victories seeing seven come by finish.
Michael Bisping vs. Yoel Romero has yet to be announced and may not happen. However, the two have built up animosity between each other, and it is safe to assume the UFC may plan for this middleweight title fight next. Souza should not have to fight again until he receives a shot at the possible winner of that fight, unless he chooses otherwise.
Other fights to make after UFC 208:
Glover Teixeira vs. Jimi Manuwa/Corey Anderson winner
Belal Muhammad vs. Yancy Medeiros
Islam Makhachev vs. Bobby Green
Rick Glenn vs. Drew Dober
Ryan LaFlare vs. Tarec Saffiedine
Holly Holm vs. Lina Lansberg
Derek Brunson vs. Brad Tavares
Tim Boetsch vs. Uriah Hall
Jared Cannonier vs. Ilir Latifi
Jim Miller vs. Rustam Khabilov
Randy Brown vs. Dominique Steele
Ulka Sasaki vs. Ryan Benoit
Nik Lentz vs. Abel Trujillo
Phillipe Nover: released
Roan Carneiro vs. Mike Pyle