Is there anyone on the Bloody Elbow staff feeling nostalgic enough to pick Antonio Rogerio Nogueira to upset Ryan Bader? Nope. However, our video producer Case Harts has got Albert Morales pulling off the shocker and putting away Thomas Almeida in the co-main event of tomorrow’s UFC Fight Night 100 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Note: Predictions are entered throughout the week and collected the day before the event. Explanations behind each pick are not required and some writers opt not to do so for their own reasons. For example, if Phil Mackenzie entered all of his predictions on Wednesday without adding in any explanations, he has no idea if he's going to be the only one siding with one fighter for any given fight.
Ryan Bader vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Mookie Alexander: Right, so … this is a main event. I guess there’s always the chance Lil’ Nog plants Bader with his left hook and Bader enters free agency on a disastrous note, but outside of that? This is just gonna be sad. 2016 Bader is so clearly ahead of 2016 Lil’ Nog, and the only thing I’m thankful for is that Gustafsson isn’t here to wreck Nogueira instead. Ryan Bader by unanimous decision.
Fraser Coffeen: This feels like an obvious slam dunk pick for Bader, but Lil Nog is a guy who still manages to surprise me from time to time. I didn’t really give him a shot against either Evans or Cummins, but he came out on top there. Plus, Bader is one of those guys who is always able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Still, when you have to go back nearly 4 years to find 2 wins, that’s an issue. I just can’t go with anything other than the obvious here, though I would not be stunned to be wrong. Ryan Bader, KO, R1
Phil Mackenzie: Whyyyyyyyyyy Ryan Bader by unanimous decision
Case Harts: Ryan Bader, TKO, R3
Staff picking Bader: Bissell, Mookie, Nick, Phil, Fraser, Stephie, Case, Tim
Staff picking Lil’ Nog:
Thomas Almeida vs. Albert Morales
Mookie Alexander: Did somebody put THOMAS ALMEIDA VIOLENCE on speed dial to help boost a so-so FS1 card? Well I’m definitely there. Thomas Almeida by KO (something cool), round 1.
Phil Mackenzie: Morales is hyper aggressive and tough, but I don't think he has the necessary speed and power to put Almeida away, and perhaps not even enough to hurt him. He's basically a pocket brawler rather than someone who blitzes across space like Garbrandt. Almeida's better head movement and far superior strike diversity should have him pulling away quickly. Thomas Almeida by TKO, round 2.
Case Harts: I don’t know why but I think Morales upsets here Albert Morales Unanimous Decision
Staff picking Almeida: Bissell, Mookie, Nick, Phil, Fraser, Stephie, Tim
Staff picking Morales: Case
Claudia Gadelha vs. Cortney Casey
Mookie Alexander: “Castiron” Casey has looked very good in her last two fights, but it’s a hell of a leap from Stanciu (since released) and Markos (inconsistent) to someone who was fairly close to unseating the current champion. Gadelha has pretty evident issues with being “inefficient with energy usage,” but comparing skills, this is a no-brainer. Claudia Gadelha by unanimous decision.
Phil Mackenzie: Disappointing title loss which makes Gadelha unlikely to challenge again in the near future; talented but historically underperforming opponent; some basic technical flaws which haven't been addressed (namely pawing her strikes and blowing a ton of energy on them)... it's a recipe which could conceivably lead to an upset. Realistically though Claudia Gadelha by unanimous decision.
Case Harts: I think she should dominate the grappling Claudia Gadelha Submission, R2
Staff picking Gadelha: Bissell, Mookie, Nick, Phil, Fraser, Stephie, Case, Tim
Staff picking Casey:
Thales Leites vs. Krzysztof Jotko
Mookie Alexander: I have no idea how to pick this fight. It’s so atypically middle-of-the-road middleweight. This is more of a measuring stick for Jotko than anything, as Leites 2.0 is nowhere near title contention caliber. He’s been on a good winning streak, but Leites is demonstrably better than anyone he’s beaten. I see this being close for about 5-6 minutes through Jotko’s striking before Leites’ takedowns and great use of his top game to submit the Polish fighter late. Thales Leites by submission, round 3.
Phil Mackenzie: This is an interesting fight. There's a small pool of fighters in middleweight where it's pretty difficult to tell how good they are, because they've only really fought one another and haven't been matched up with any of the more "traditional" upper tier. Magnus Cedenblad is the most accomplished of the group, but Jotko is #2, so this is a chance to see how he matches up with a solid top 10 fighter. I still don't quite trust Jotko's defensive wrestling, reliant as it is on footwork, but I can very much understand why anyone is picking him. Thales Leites by unanimous decision.
Case Harts: Jotko is durable and has decent wrestling but I think Leites just swarms him to the ground and then makes quick work of him Thales Leites Submission R1
Staff picking Jotko: Bissell, Stephie, Tim
Staff picking Leites: Nick, Fraser, Phil, Mookie, Case
Warlley Alves vs. Kamaru Usman
Mookie Alexander: Little concerned that Usman doesn’t have particularly dangerous offense on the ground to add to his great wrestling abilities, but perhaps I’m underselling Alexander Yakovlev’s durability, as that’s a fight Usman should’ve been able to finish from full mount multiple times. Alves has a bit of a glass cannon feel to him, and the Jouban and Barberena fights essentially exposed he’s heavily reliant on his strength and athleticism to overpower his opponents. Striking advantage is Alves’, but beyond that, the Blackzilians’ Usman is the safer bet to win a fight that goes past round 1. Kamaru Usman by unanimous decision.
Phil Mackenzie: Sadly Jacare Jr. seems to have hit a bit of a wall of late, namely durability. If he can't get his opponents out of there in one round, he's in trouble. Usman seems to be more of a wild card- if he's as dependent on wrestling as he was in the past, he might just throw himself straight into a guillotine. From sparring footage (as reliable as that is!) he looks fairly well improved, long enough to survive and for Alves to gas himself out. Kamaru Usman by unanimous decision.
Case Harts: Alves is so wild I think he might just catch him but he could also get out grappled by Usman, still thinking Alves catches him Warlley Alves KO, R2
Staff picking Alves: Bissell, Case, Tim
Staff picking Usman: Mookie, Nick, Fraser, Phil, Stephie
Sergio Moraes vs. Zak Ottow
Mookie Alexander: Ottow fought very well on short-notice against Josh Burkman, and it’s tempting to pick him here given Moraes is way too much of a defensive liability on the feet. He’s surprisingly powerful when he can string together good strikes, but his bread-and-butter is his BJJ. I think he’ll find a way to get it to the mat and outgrapple Ottow for the win. Sergio Moraes by unanimous decision.
Phil Mackenzie: Ottow actually impressed me a lot against Burkman. He was consistent, showed good footwork and distance awareness, and was totally unfazed by any attempts to change the fight with weird stuff which came from Burkman. That should be key against Moraes who is, as Mookie mentioned, surprisingly dynamic but also completely without process. Zak Ottow by unanimous decision.
Staff picking Moraes: Bissell, Mookie, Fraser, Stephie Tim
Staff picking Ottow: Nick, Phil
Cezar Ferreira vs. Jack Hermansson
Mookie Alexander: Just out of principle, I cannot trust Mutante to win damn near any fight in the UFC against guys who are capable of hurting him on the feet. Hermansson has such qualities that offset any worries I have about Hermansson being outmatched by Mutante on the ground. Jack Hermansson by TKO, round 2.
Phil Mackenzie: The barmaid winked at Jack. "Don't worry about keeping those covered."
Jack started. She nodded down at his arms, resting on the table and concealed by his cape as usual. "I can see you're worried about them. Don't worry. We're not a Scrapper tavern. We don't have your... restrictions."
Jack relaxed slightly. "I'll keep them covered anyway, if you don't mind."
"Why do your people worry about such trifles?" she asked, curious. "It seems a small thing to have long arms, to me at least."
"I don't know," admitted Jack. "We've long been the poorest of the factions. We don't have money or nobility to keep us in line, so instead we have the Watsons, and our restrictions on... attributes, and flash. I have heard it said that there are others like me though... a resistance of sorts..."
There was a commotion from another table. A large, muscular man raised his voice. "You! Tavern girl! Cease your dalliance with that Scrapper fool and come and serve me!"
The maid flushed, and turned too quickly. She slipped. Jack's arms snaked out instinctively and he caught her, but the tray she had been carrying slipped from her grasp, flew across the room and brushed against the muscular man's chin.
He immediately collapsed in a heap. The men around him sighed. One pulled a small vial from a pocket, while two others grabbed the man under the armpits and pulled him to his feet. The first unstoppered the vial and waved it under the man's nose. Jack got the impression that they had re-enacted this ritual many times before.
The man's eyes opened, and swam into focus on Jack.
"You sir! Putting your hands on a serving wench! One of our very own!"
Jack suddenly realized that he was still holding the maid, and let her go with a start. They both blushed.
"... and you, madam! Surely your mother raised you better than to carry on in such a way with a... with a freak!"
The maid's lips tightened. She marched over to the man, and slapped him once across the face. He collapsed again. His men gave her a reproachful look and set about their ritual once more.
When the man regained consciousness he pointed one trembling finger at Jack.
"You sir!" he said. "You! Fight me! BJJ Guy against Scrapper, freak though you may be! I will have my satisfaction, sir!"
Jack Hermansson by TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Mutante: Bissell, Tim
Staff picking Hermansson: Mookie, Nick, Fraser, Phil, Stephie
Gadzhimurad Antigulov vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima
Mookie Alexander: I mean, there are literally 25 UFC fights from noon-to-midnight eastern time on Saturday. We just had a ridiculously stacked UFC 205 last week. The end result is this sort of fight and I’m trying to muster up reason to be interested. I remember Lima tearing apart Clint Hester, and he’s got a style that lends itself to rarely ever getting out of round 1, and he’s fighting a newcomer known for grappling more than his striking. Um … Marcos Rogerio de Lima by TKO, round 1.
Phil Mackenzie: Bit like the fight between Erick Silva and that one dude, this is going to be fast, furious and sloppy. Antigulov is going to go all-out grappling, and Lima is going to try and annihilate him on the feet. If they were that clearly defined I think I'd pick Antigulov, but de Lima has just enough grappling that I think he can survive the early blitz. Marcos Rogerio de Lima by TKO, round 3
Staff picking Antigulov: Bissell
Staff picking Lima: Mookie, Nick, Fraser, Phil, Stephie, Tim
Johnny Eduardo vs. Manny Gamburyan
Mookie Alexander: This fight has high potential to be utterly miserable to watch. Gamburyan is undersized here and I don’t trust him to effectively close the distance and grind Eduardo out. Eduardo picks him apart from range and gets the stoppage. Johnny Eduardo by TKO, round 2.
Phil Mackenzie: Eduardo is going to do almost nothing apart from wait around at range and wait for a big right hand or leg kick. I think Manny will have enough trouble closing the distance (he's still a pretty short BW) that he'll get cracked. Johnny Eduardo by TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Eduardo: Mookie, Nick, Phil, Fraser, Stephie, Tim
Staff picking Gamburyan: Bissell
Christian Colombo vs. Luis Henrique
Phil Mackenzie: Colombo basically proved that he's decently tough, enough to outlast Jarjis Danho who doesn't appear to have the heart to go with his frame, but Henrique is one of the second-tier solid heavyweight talents who had the misfortune of running into the top tier. Luis Henrique by submission, round 2.
Staff picking Colombo:
Staff picking Henrique: Bissell, Mookie, Nick, Fraser, Phil, Stephie, Tim
Pedro Munhoz vs. Justin Scoggins
Mookie Alexander: Munhoz feels like a really good prospect who’s not had the benefit of favorable matchmaking. Raphael Assuncao in his debut (on short notice), Jimmie Rivera, and then a really intense fight with Russell Doane that he abruptly turned in his favor with a slick guillotine choke. That’s 60% of his UFC career right there. Scoggins looked outstanding against Ray Borg, and we’ll soon see how much of his skill set is transferable to 135 from 125. I’m siding with Phil’s reasoning for picking Scoggins over the Brazilian. Justin Scoggins by unanimous decision.
Phil Mackenzie: This is an absolutely fantastic fight. Munhoz is likely the better pure grappler and hits harder, but if he's had a problem in fights it's just been getting outworked and outpaced. He was getting wrecked by Russell Doane before locking up a magical choke finish, and I think Scoggins showed how far his anti-grappling has come against Borg. Justin Scoggins by unanimous decision.
Case Harts: If it's a return to form I see Scoggins just beating Munhoz on the outside Justin Scoggins. This could be a fantastic grapple fest though. Justin Scoggins Unanimous Decision
Staff picking Munhoz: Eddie, Tim
Staff picking Scoggins: Bissell, Nick, Phil, Fraser, Mookie, Stephie, Case
Francimar Barroso vs. Darren Stewart
Phil Mackenzie: Darren Stewart is a debuting middleweight and Barroso is large, strong and experienced. He may be incredibly boring but that also makes him relatively consistent in fights that he should win. Francimar Barroso by unanimous decision.
Staff picking Barroso: Nick, Phil, Fraser, Mookie, Stephie, Tim
Staff picking Stewart: Bissell