If it feels like a while since the last UFC pay-per-view, that's because it has been. UFC 208 on Saturday night will be the promotion's first pay-per-view event since Dec. 30.
In the main event at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., former women's bantamweight champion Holly Holm will face Germaine de Randamie for the inaugural women's featherweight title. Both fighters are similar from a stylistic and statistical perspective, but there are key differences that could end up being the difference Saturday.
Both fighters land a respectable number of significant strikes per minute. De Randamie has the slight edge with 3.19, while Holm is right behind her at 3.08. However, they seem to be trending in opposite directions. In their past two fights, de Randamie has had a much larger advantage. Against Larissa Pacheco and Anna Elmose, she increased her output and landed 4.35 significant strikes per minute. In the process, she scored two knockouts in a little under 11 minutes. Holm, on the other hand, landed only 2.33 significant strikes in losses against Miesha Tate and Valentina Shevchenko. In her prior three fights, all wins, Holm landed 4.09. If the trend from the past two fights continues, the Dutch fighter could have a sizable advantage on fight night.
During her UFC/Strikeforce career, de Randamie has been the more accurate fighter. She has landed 44 percent of her significant strikes compared to only 32 percent for Holm. De Randamie is at her best when she can close distance and land accurately at close range. In half of her UFC fights, she has landed over 60 percent of her significant strikes. For the most part, accuracy has been an issue for Holm. She has landed more than half of her significant strikes in only one fight, 71 percent against Ronda Rousey. In two of her five UFC fights, she has landed under 30 percent, including her last fight against Shevchenko in which she landed only 25 percent. Holm uses her striking to control distance, which means she will never be a high-accuracy striker. However, her best performance came when she was able to land at a high percentage. She will need to get back to being accurate to have success against de Randamie.
Despite using her striking to control distance, Holm absorbs more strikes than de Randamie. Holm absorbs 2.49 significant strikes per minute, while de Randamie's opponents land only 1.87 significant strikes per minute against her. Things are also not trending in the right direction for Holm. In her previous two fights, she absorbed 3.3 per minute. With the exclusion of her one loss, de Randamie's defense has been exceptional in the UFC. In her three UFC wins, none of her opponents landed more than two significant strikes per minute. Holm employs a more cautious approach to avoid eating strikes from her opponent. However, de Randamie's best defense seems to be her offense. As she comes forward and lands strikes, her opponents fail to land.
Neither fighter uses offensive wrestling often. Both fighters mostly use their wrestling in reverse to thwart takedown attempts. Holm stops 77 percent of opponents' takedown attempts, while de Randamie stops 82 percent. If Holm decides to try to wrestle in a battle between strikes, she might have the advantage. De Randamie has never landed a takedown in her UFC/Strikeforce career, while Holm has landed both of her attempts, one against Rousey and one against Marion Reneau. With that being said, this fight likely will remain on the feet.