UFC 208 Takeaways: Holly Holm at a Crossroads

February 12, 2017

Let’s call it the Ronda Rousey curse. On November 14, 2015, Holly Holm and Rousey entered the Octagon for one of the biggest women’s fights in history. Holm won that night, but since that day, NEITHER WOMAN HAS WON A FIGHT. Holm and Rousey are a collective 0-4.

Rousey is on the verge of retirement. Can Holm be far behind? Holm was gifted a title shot in the new UFC women’s featherweight division, and came up short against Germaine de Randamie. Holm suffered her third consecutive defeat (!!!), losing a close, unanimous decision. She started slow and paid the price.

Anderson Silva, on the other hand, benefited from the judges’ scorecard, coming up on the long end of the stick. You could argue that Silva should have lost, but he’s Silva and he found a way to win. But despite the haziness of the decisions in the top matches, one thing is clear. Jacare Souza deserves a title shot. Like, yesterday.

Let’s dive into our Hot Sauce takeaways with the smoothness of a Souza kimura and the flash of a Silva spinning back kick. Silva is back (thank you, judges).

5. Anderson Silva Still Has Some Groove

He wasn’t exactly lighting up the Octagon against Derek Brunson, but he was doing enough to show that he still has something left in the tank. He did enough to win a decision over a guy who was eight years younger than him. Yes, the decision was controversial, but Silva scored a lot to the head and body and he displayed some of that old confidence. Silva would certainly be competitive in a fight with the elite of the division, whether it be against middleweight champion Michael Bisping or former champion Luke Rockhold. The best days of Silva are behind him, but under the right circumstances, Silva has a shot at wearing UFC gold again.

4. Derek Brunson Choked

Brunson can make a case that he was robbed. He could say that he won two of the three rounds. But here’s also what he can say: “I am in the ring with the greatest mixed martial artist of all time, I better not coast in the third round to victory here.” Brunson, like Silva, got tired in the final round and he left the door open ever-so-slightly to a robbery; that’s what happened. When you are the young guy fighting one of the best you have to finish the job. You can’t pound the nail three-fourths of the way into the wall and expect the picture to hang perfectly. Brunson hopefully learned his lesson and the next time he’s in there in a big fight he will need to pound the nail all the way through.

3. The Mystery of Glover Teixeira

At 37 years old, Teixeira is at the crossroads. He’s either going to find something in him to make one more title run, or he’s going to fade away, figuring out how to win against mid-level competition, but continually falling short against the big stars. Teixeira dominated Jared Cannonier, but let’s be honest: he absolutely should have. Teixeira showed a superior ground game and won every round. It’s what we expected. This was a good match for Teixeira, coming off his 13-second knockout loss to Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. But he will need to figure out a way to win a fight against a top guy in his prime before he makes believers out of us again.

2. Give Ronaldo Souza the Title Shot Already

What more evidence does the UFC need? Souza deserves a title show. He is clearly the best submission specialist in the game. He is truly a dangerous fighter. He submitted Tim Boetsch in one round. Realistically, Souza has not lost a fight since 2012. Yes, he wasn’t the winner against Yoel Romero, but the fight could have gone either way. He arguably won that fight. Souza has ripped through the likes of Gegard Mousasi, Derek Brunson and Ed Herman. He also holds victories over Robbie Lawler, Tim Kennedy and Yushin Okami. Souza is a great fighter. He deserves a title shot in his next fight.

1. Holly Holm: DOA

What happened to Holly Holm? The destroyer of Rousey, the future of women’s MMA, the heir apparent to the throne, can’t even beat Germaine de Randamie. So now, the UFC women’s bantamweight champion, Amanda Nunes, holds a knockout victory over of the UFC women’s featherweight champion. This was a missed opportunity for Holm to become a two-weight division champion and rebound from her recent losses. Unfortunately, she started late and couldn’t rally enough to win the championship. It was a close fight. De Randamie probably should have lost a point for hitting Holm after the bell. But quite simply, she is not an elite women’s mixed martial artist. Yes, she defeated Rousey, but Rousey had lost her fire by then. What’s next for Holm? Rousey is probably retired, so that fight it is out. Miesha Tate is retired so that fight is out. She could push for a rematch with de Randamie. In any case, she’s just a fighter these days, nothing special and nothing particularly marketable. It seems like Ronda Rousey is the only fighter, Holm can beat.

Follow Joshua Molina on Twitter: @JECMolina.

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