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UFC Fight Night: Lineker vs. McDonald staff picks and predictions

Check out the Bloody Elbow staff's picks and predictions for the Wednesday, July 13th UFC Fight Night event on FS1, headlined by bantamweights John Lineker and Michael McDonald.

Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

How many more UFC events can there be? Four in six days? Well here's the Bloody Elbow staff's predictions for UFC Fight Night 91 on Wednesday, July 13th. John Lineker is almost the unanimous choice over Michael McDonald, but Nick Baldwin is going out on his own in the main event. Nobody is picking Landon Vannata to pull off the upset against Tony Ferguson in the co-main event, though. This is quite a short predictions post due to having just been through three shows in as many days, plus we have some staff unavailable this week, thus they don't have the time to submit/write up their picks.

Note 1: 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 Monday 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.

Note 2: You may notice that we've omitted Josh Samman vs. Tim Boetsch from the predictions list. Obviously Samman is a Bloody Elbow staff member, so in the interest of journalistic integrity and avoiding conflict of interest issues, we will not be picking fights he's involved in. We wish Samman the best in his fight tomorrow night.

John Lineker vs. Michael McDonald

Mookie Alexander: By the time John Lineker is finished with Michael McDonald, you will really not understand what the hell McDonald is singing when he does the lyrics to Sweet Freedom or Minute By Minute. Lineker throws with every intention of breaking you. He's proven he can take a punch/doesn't give a shit about being punched. His takedown defense has improved considerably. McDonald boxes 99% of the time, so Lineker doesn't have to worry too much about a varied stand-up game. I see this as a fast-paced fight where Lineker's head-and-body combos and pure speed really mess McDonald up, and then Lineker will go in for the kill. John Lineker by body-snatching, round 2.

Jed Meshew: John Lineker is the tiniest little man and it would be way cooler if he could get his weight in order to challenge Mighty Mouse. That being said, McDonald damn near lost to Chris Cariaso who Lineker would put in a pine box. The tiny little man is gonna put his tiny little hands all over McDonald until he falls over unconscious. Lineker by TKO, round 3.

Staff picking Lineker: Phil, Stephie, Iain, Mookie, Lineker, Jed
Staff picking McDonald: Nick, Tim

Tony Ferguson vs. Landon Vannata

Mookie Alexander: Landon Vannata called Tony Ferguson "predictable." I guess he's saying Ferguson is predictable in his unpredictability? Anyway, props to Vannata for the short notice step-up, but the outcome here is going to be predictable. Tony Ferguson via d'arce choke, round 2.

Phil Mackenzie: Bit like Khabib-Horcher where the guy coming in on short notice is obviously talented, but is likely literally years behind on the experience curve. Doesn't even have the small style edges / paths to victory that Horcher had. Think Ferguson will avoid taking risks in the first so Tony Ferguson by submission, round 2

Jed: After the ration of shit Ferguson gave Khabib for fighting a no name guy, I kinda hope Vannata pulls out a miracle. But that ain't gonna actually happen. Ferguson by choke, round 1.

Staff picking Ferguson: Nick, Bissell, Phil, Stephie, Iain, Mookie, Jed, Tim
Staff picking Vannata:

Kyle Noke vs. Keita Nakamura

Mookie Alexander: Noke's gotta win this early or else I don't trust his offensive output or his takedown defense against Nakamura. Not impossible, but we saw Nakamura get the shit beaten out of him by Jingliang Li, only to survive that and get the win. K-Taro by unanimous decision.

Phil Mackenzie: This fight is all kinds of grim. Noke lost an Alvarez-Pettis decision his last time out, namely a fight where he sort of got robbed, but he fought so poorly that it's difficult to care. Nakamura showed that he can take down giant people last time, and Noke hasn't exactly had bulletproof takedown defense, so I guess K-Taro by unanimous decision

Staff picking Noke: Nick, Jed, Tim
Staff picking Nakamura: Bissell, Phil, Stephie, Iain, Mookie

Daniel Omielanczuk vs. Oleksiy Oliynyk

Mookie Alexander: Heavyweight MMA! Well you know the drill, if this goes beyond round 2, run for cover. Oleksiy Oliynyk by submission, round 1.

Phil Mackenzie: Pretty much have to pick MMA's weirdest resurgence story to continue. Oliynyk's got more dynamic offense and a more defined game. Omielanczuk has had pretty mediocre takedown defense against determined grapplers, so Oleksiy Oliynyk by submission (scarf hold) round 1.

Staff picking Omielanczuk:
Staff picking Oliynyk: Nick, Bissell, Phil, Stephie, Iain, Mookie, Jed, Tim

Ben Nguyen vs. Louis Smolka

Mookie Alexander: Great fight. Smolka has been a bit overlooked in the flyweight division, but I think he's made serious strides since losing to Chris Cariaso. His striking is coming together and he's using his range better than in previous outings. He has a crafty submission game and quality wrestling. I like Nguyen, who definitely has a chance here with his dangerous finishing abilities on the ground and (more considerably) on the feet, but Smolka is the more well-rounded prospect here. Louis Smolka by unanimous decision.

Phil Mackenzie: Best fight on the card, with the possible exception of the main event. Nguyen has improved out of sight in recent years, developing into a fast-twitch striker with real power for the division. Smolka is hittable, which is always a concern, but he has a decent kicking game at distance, and greatly improved counter-double legs and scrambling should Nguyen over-commit on forward motion. Louis Smolka by submission, round 3

Jed: I think Smolka is hittable on the feet and Nguyen has good output. Really, I just like Ben Nguyen and think his defensive work will carry the day here. Nguyen by decision.

Staff picking Nguyen: Nick, Jed, Tim
Staff picking Smolka: Bissell, Phil, Iain, Stephie, Mookie

Katlyn Chookagian vs. Lauren Murphy

Mookie Alexander: This is interesting matchmaking because Murphy really has strong cases for getting the McMann and Carmouche decisions, while Chookagian is a bright prospect out of the regional scene. One thing that sticks out to me is that Chookagian is a flyweight, and Murphy is strong with her top control and is likely to physically overwhelm her with takedowns and ground-and-pound. Tough debut opponent, to be honest. Lauren Murphy by unanimous decision.

Phil Mackenzie: Chookagian is about as good as the UFC is going to do for WBW scouting (assuming that's where she ends up). Relatively young, fighting out of a solid camp, good basic kickboxing style and takedown defense. That said, Lauren Murphy should probably be undefeated in the UFC. Lauren Murphy by unanimous decision.

Staff picking Chookagian: Jed
Staff picking Murphy: Nick, Bissell, Phil, Stephie, Iain, Mookie, Tim

Sam Alvey vs. Eric Spicely

Mookie Alexander: Favorable matchup for Alvey after he was unable to fight against Elias Theodorou. Sam Alvey by unanimous decision.

Phil Mackenzie: We've seen what works against Alvey, namely people who stay outside of right hook range. Spicely is a grappler so that's a no no. Expect Alvey to nicely and precisely counter Spicely. Sam Alvey by TKO, round 2

Staff picking Alvey: Nick, Bissell, Phil, Stephie, Iain, Mookie, Jed, Tim
Staff picking Spicely:

Cortney Casey vs. Cristina Stanciu

Mookie Alexander: This could be a really fun fight, if not solely because both women are relatively unseasoned and may be willing to engage in some reckless battle. I believe Casey's gas tank (which admittedly faltered against Joanne Calderwood) will hold up better than Stanciu's in the later rounds, and she'll outstrike Stanciu to win on points. Cortney Casey by unanimous decision.

Phil Mackenzie: Super, super hard fight to pick. Both are sloppy and do very questionable "regional MMA" things, like pulling guard or going for submissions which will never work. Casey is bigger and throws more volume, Stanciu has more pure power and probably has the higher ceiling. In general I think I'll take Casey's size and pace, particularly as TKOs are relatively rare at this class so volume is more of a factor. Cortney Casey by unanimous decision.

Staff picking Casey: Mookie, Phil
Staff picking Stanciu: Nick, Bissell, Stephie, Iain, Jed, Tim

Scott Holtzman vs. Cody Pfister

Mookie Alexander: I totally pforgot that Pfister is still in the UFC. Holtzman pfigures to put an end to that with a pfirm beatdown. Scott Holtzman by unanimous decision.

Phil Mackenzie: Holtzman is bigger, more athletic, more diverse, etc and will likely give Pfister his walking papers, with the sole caveat being how weirdly terrible his TDD looked after his team built it up. Scott Holtzman by unanimous decision.

Jed: After this weekend, I'm of the opinion that if you lose to Sage Northcutt you should be cut from the UFC. He keeps the gate for entry into the world's premier fight organisation and all for the low low cost of $100K per fight. Cody Pfister couldn't make it past. Also, with a last name like Pfister he chose "the Pfist" as his nickname which is the worst one in the UFC. He had so many options available and that garbage is what he trots out? I wish fighters were more creative folk. Holtzman by decision.

Staff picking Holtzman: Nick, Phil, Bissell, Stephie, Iain, Mookie, Jed
Staff picking Pfister: Tim

Matthew Lopez vs. Rani Yahya

Mookie Alexander: Rani Yahya has reached the point where he's just uninteresting to watch. I'm amazed he's only 31, but he has been competing professionally since 2002. Yahya still can control and smother, but unless he's fighting guys who are bad on the ground, the submissions threat is long gone. If Lopez can avoid getting smothered, he can win this fight just on having better offense and cardio. Matthew Lopez by unanimous decision.

Phil Mackenzie: Lopez comes closer to the Niinimaki archetype than the guys who have traditionally lost to Yahya, who tend to be sucky grapplers or those who are even more offensively inert than him. Even given this, Yahya has been the benefit of some dodgy decisions (Kanehara). Think Lopez can not get smoked in the grappling, but more than that is just a far better offensive fighter. Bit of a risk and/or #zanepick here but Matthew Lopez by unanimous decision.

Jed: I'm feeling just as crazy and risky as Phil and will also be picking the betting favorite. Lopez by decision.

Staff picking Lopez: Phil, Bissell, Stephie, Iain, Mookie, Jed
Staff picking Yahya: Nick, Tim

Devin Clark vs. Alex Nicholson

Mookie Alexander: When in doubt, copy Stephie and Nick. Alex Nicholson by unanimous decision.

Phil Mackenzie: If you care about this fight (you don't), flip a coin. I'll take Nicholson. His takedown defense isn't great, but he's fought better competition and he's fairly dynamic. Both fighters might have a future in the division but they're both too raw to really tell. Alex Nicholson by TKO, round 2.

Jed: Quick without looking this up, which one of these guys has fought in the UFC before? If you got the answer right, congratulations, you're related to Alex Nicholson. In a card that is pretty much an afterthought, this is the most after of those thoughts. I flipped a coin. It said don't pick the guy who got tapped by a neck crank in his UFC debut. You're welcome for the hard hitting analysis. Clark by decision.

Staff picking Clark: Nick, Iain, Jed
Staff picking Nicholson: Phil, Bissell, Stephie, Mookie, Tim

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