The Bloody Elbow staff has submitted its predictions for UFC on FOX 26 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and surprisingly only Tim Bissell has Rafael dos Anjos defeating Robbie Lawler in the main event. As for the co-main event, everyone is backing Ricardo Lamas to take care of Josh Emmett, whereas opinion is divided on who will win between welterweights Santiago Ponzinibbio and Mike Perry.
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.
Mookie Alexander: Hot damn I love this fight, I’m torn on who wins this. Leaning Lawler because of his power, which is something RDA hasn’t dealt with yet at welterweight, but dos Anjos can easily chop Lawler down with leg kicks, and he’s a mean clinch striker who can at least compete with Lawler on the inside. I struggle to see RDA getting takedowns off of his pressure fighting, and even if he does, Lawler is just so damn hard to keep down, even though dos Anjos is excellent on the mat. This is going to be a fascinating, tactical affair, and I can see Lawler willing to concede a round to conserve energy for a late push in a five-round fight. I’m backing Lawler to hurt RDA at crucial points in the fight to win him favor on the scorecards, and take the decision. Robbie Lawler by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: If RDA can get his takedown game working regularly, and chew up Lawler’s legs from range, and shut him down in the clinch, he can win this fight. But It’s hard not to see Lawler as the more dangerous, powerful fighter in this matchup. And I have the distinct feeling he’s the better clinch fighter of the two of them. If that’s the case, I think that Lawler can make RDA pay for his pressure early and often, and then find enough moments throughout the fight to take the rounds he needs to win, in classic Lawler style. Robbie Lawler via decision.
Fraser Coffeen: Wow. I fully expected to come here and see that I was one of the lone riders of the Ruthless train, but right now, he’s the favorite. Which in a weird way gives me pause. Because my pick of him is to a certain degree emotional. He’s been knocked down and gotten back up so many time in his career that I expect/want to see him do it again. But this is a tough fight for him in many ways. RDA has the legkicks, and the ability to win rounds by outlanding. But does Lawler’s power and superhuman ability to win round 5 give him enough tools in his arsenal? Adding to that is the fact that I think RDA had a tremendous peak - great, no doubt about it. But the time before that peak was mediocre, and the time since has either been losses or impressive wins, but impressive wins over guys lower on the totem pole than Ruthless. So let’s do this. Robbie Lawler, decision
Victor Rodriguez: Watching Werdum and dos Anjos leaving Cordeiro to go at it on their own has been worrisome to me. Especially in the case of dos Anjos, who is in a deeper and more competitive division. Rafael had gotten really good at breaking up his opponent’s pace and smart, accurate striking. Here? He’s got a steep uphill climb where the margin of error is smaller than it was in the Alvarez fight. Meanwhile, Lawler is a freak athlete that thrives in dogfights and can time his shots better and hit harder in any exchange. Handspeed will be the biggest difference here, and I suspect dos Anjos will have trouble with the way Lawler sets shots up with his left hand. May dos Anjos be greeted with open arms and merry wishes in Valhalla. All hail Bobby Violence. Robert Glenn Lawler by TKO.
Ryan Davies: How tough is Welterweight RDA? Tough enough to eat Robbie Lawler’s best shot? I don’t believe so, over five rounds Lawler will land one of his haymakers that will level the healthy weight RDA. Robbie Lawler Knockout 2nd
Staff picking Lawler: Nick, Mookie, Tim, Zane, Dayne, Phil, Fraser, Victor, Stephie, Davies
Staff picking RDA: Bissell
Mookie Alexander: Rooooough fight for Emmett. He’s not a finisher and Lamas seizes any opportunity you give him. Struggle to see how Emmett can pull of the upset on short notice. Lamas is more skilled virtually everywhere, so this is his fight to lose. Ricardo Lamas by TKO, round 2.
Zane Simon: Somewhat by his own design, I think Emmett is just working with too few tools to beat Ricardo Lamas. For a wrestler-turned-MMA fighter Emmett mostly just wants to box in the cage, and he throws almost all his shots at one speed and power. To his credit, he works at a much higher pace than Lamas, but Lamas is great at picking off opponents who want to bully him. Ricardo Lamas via submission, Round 2.
Victor Rodriguez: This is actually pretty ballsy matchmaking. Emmett coming into this fight with a 4-1 UFC record and a win over Felipe Arantes was big enough to net him a fight against a #3 featherweight? That’s nuts, even if you consider the fact that Lamas was supposed to fight Jose Aldo, who was moved to main event against Max Holloway at UFC 218. Still, Emmett’s wrestling is his strongest asset, but Lamas is going to be too much here. Lamas also has great wrestling (though not as complete), great submission defense and a much more aggressive striking game. As talented as Emmett is, there’s nothing he can do that Lamas can’t prepare for. Ricardo Lamas by TKO, round 2.
Ryan Davies: Lamas owes Emmett a debt of gratitude for stepping up to save this fight after Aldo pulled out. Unfortunately for Emmett, Lamas will show his appreciation by dropping him on his head. Lamas is better than Emmett everywhere, he will put it on the long-time Alpha Male and get him out of there late. Ricardo Lamas TKO 3rd
Staff picking Lamas: Bissell, Nick, Mookie, Phil, Tim, Zane, Dayne, Victor, Fraser, Stephie, Davies
Staff picking Emmett:
Mookie Alexander: The Ponz is the more technical striker and it’s quite conceivable he wins the same way Alan Jouban did, but I just can’t shake off the idea that Perry is just going to spark out Ponzinibbio with some ridiculously powerful shot. Either way, I’m expecting this to be Fight of the Night. Mike Perry by KO, round 2.
Phil Mackenzie: Perry is tremendously talented and is improving over time, but improvement also leads towards specialization; areas of strength and weakness becoming defined. So, I think he's a phenomenal natural clinch fighter (Ellenberger elbow etc) and very dangerous in the pocket, but the level of craft and depth to his game falls off with distance: the more he has to navigate to the outside, the more he mostly defaults to overhand and lunging left hook. He throws them with a lot of power and decent timing, but there's a limit to their utility. The Ponz' jab and footwork have been his most notable improvements in late fights, so I think he just strands Perry at mid range and peppers him. Santiago Ponzinibbio by unanimous decision.
Victor Rodriguez: I keep picking against Perry, and he keeps making me look like a fool. Ponzinibbio is faster, hits very hard and has more clean, technical and accurate striking. He should be able to dart in, strike, then weave back out. Problem is, Perry’s near-indestructible. If Santiago gasses out or goes too aggro early on, the Bionic Redneck will probably hang tough and hunt him down once Ponzi’s gas tanks starts to fail him. Unless Ponzinibbio brutalizes Perry’s legs with kicks early to ruin his mobility and take away his power, Perry’s absolutely got a shot in this. Not sure Santiago can do that without getting countered at some point. On paper, Santiago’s the smarter and more composed fighter. He should clearly win this, but my heart’s sticking with Perry pulling another rabbit out of a hat and brutalizing him late. It’s either that or Santiago by decision, but at this point it should be clear I barely know what I’m doing. #TeamChaos. Mike Perry by TKO, round 3.
Zane Simon: I can’t help feeling that any athletic, talented MMA fighter, who can stay cautious and has a good chin can beat Mike Perry. Perry is very good at the few things he does well, but they really are just a few things. If you can figure out how to avoid them, like Jouban did, Perry is just a guy who is going to walk forward and get hit a lot while swinging wildly. Of course, there’s always the chance that Ponzinibbio can’t avoid them, he has been KO’d before. But usually it’s by guys who have the speed to shock him. Perry has tons of power, but he’s not so fast that I don’t think Ponz can stay on his bike and pick him off on his way to a win. Santiago Ponzinibbio via decision.
Ryan Davies: A character like Mike Perry is not uncommon in Florida, but the average grill sporting, face-tatted Floridian mall rat, would turn and run if asked to backup their tough guy talk. Perry on the other hand is exactly as advertised. A “Platinum” Perry hater goes through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, but once you come out on the other side it’s pretty dope. Mike Perry Knockout 2nd
Staff picking Ponzinibbio: Bissell, Nick, Phil, Tim, Zane, Fraser
Staff picking Perry: Mookie, Victor, Dayne, Stephie, Davies
Mookie Alexander: No idea on how to pick this fight. Cirkunov is really good when he has top position and has dangerous submissions. Teixeira has very good takedown defense and is also a quality top-control grappler. Cirkunov’s striking is not up to the level of Teixeira, whose power may be overstated, but he definitely has the boxing to trouble Misha. There’s also the damage aspect for Glover, who got annihilated by Rumble and then ate one billion uppercuts against Gustafsson, so you wonder if at his age he’ll just fall off athletically and Cirkunov will dominate him anyway. Uhhh… I guess Teixeira still has enough in the tank to keep the fight standing and win this on points? Maybe? This division depresses me. Glover Teixeira by unanimous decision.
Phil Mackenzie: Two odd mirror image fighters, who like to throw the right hand then the follow-up left, albeit as the southpaw one-two or the orthodox two-three. A choice between the old version or the new lightweight plodding top control pressure boxer. I think I slightly prefer Teixeira. His left hook is something which Cirkunov has shown some consistent vulnerability to, and generally in a mirror match, the veteran tends to be a step ahead in terms of sneakiness. Teixeira's physical deterioration and Cirkunov's improvements are obviously things to keep an eye on. Glover Teixeira by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: Teixeira is a really difficult fighter to out-wrestle and grapple. Even if you can stall him out, and I’m not all that sure that Cirkunov is the stalling kind. Cirkunov could win this just by pouring volume on Glover and staying safe all fight standing, but he’s still really stiff with his defense and his form totally breaks down when he has to lead and cover distance. I think that’s just enough of a problem for Teixeira to land the shots he needs and possibly even KO Cirkunov. Glover Teixeira via KO, Round 1.
Victor Rodriguez: I have to give Glover credit for not being as gunshy as I expected after that Rumble knockout. His game is still heavily reliant on his boxing and his takedown defense is great. Cirkunov’s striking won’t offer any challengers Glover hasn’t seen before, but I worry that Glover’s going to get mugged against the cage by the burlier and stronger opponent. Got a feeling that it’s gonna be a long slog. Misha Cirkunov by decision.
Ryan Davies: This has the potential to be a sleeper, but I think they realize that neither will have a clear advantage on the ground and choose to duke it out on the feet. Glover’s Boxing is tighter and he will find the recently rocked chin of Cirkunov in a early exchange. Glover Teixieira Knockout 1st
Staff picking Cirkunov: Bissell, Tim, Victor, Fraser, Stephie
Staff picking Teixeira: Nick, Mookie, Phil, Zane, Dayne, Davies
Phil Mackenzie: Jan Blachowicz is a headscratcher of a fighter: broadly skilled, lacking both high-end dynamism or a semi-good gas tank. Every now and again he'll hit something which reminds you that he can still be dangerous, like the freaky bulldog choke against Devin Clark. Cannonier is a surprisingly slick boxer who keeps a good pace and is freakishly tough, albeit with terrible takedown defense. Should be able to replicate what Jimi Manuwa did, and even if he gives up takedowns, grappling is much more likely to wear out Blachowicz than it is Cannonier. Jared Cannonier by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: Blachowicz will get just the kind of fight he likes, but likely not at the pace he likes it. And that means he’ll be competitive for a round, before getting out-hustled down the stretch. Jared Cannonier via decision.
Victor Rodriguez: I have no faith in Blachowicz here. Cannonier will be very difficult to take down, and will likely be a beat ahead with the striking. Add to that the range and athleticism gap, and you have a fight that Jan won’t be doing well in for very long. Jared Cannonier by Decision.
Ryan Davies: Glover didn’t think it was a good idea to stand and bang with Cannonier and I can’t imagine Blachowicz will be eager to hang out in the pocket with the lethal Alaskan. Unfortunately for Blachowicz he won't be able to take Cannonier down like Glover did. Blachowicz will spend much of this fight working for a takedown and the rest eating leather in and out of the clinch. Jared Cannonier Unanimous Decision
Staff picking Blachowicz:
Staff picking Cannonier: Bissell, Nick, Mookie, Phil, Tim, Zane, Dayne, Victor, Davies, Fraser, Stephie
Phil Mackenzie: There's a lot to like about Marquez' game. The hard-nosed hybrid of Andrei Arlovski and Victor Rodriguez has a knack for short, accurate punches and fighting in the phonebooth. He's good at backstepping attacks from his opponent, but other than that his defense against both strikes and takedowns is a little suspect. Stewart just seems to have been thrown in the UFC too early, and has never even been given the benefit of fighting bottom-rung UFC competition. He's still struggling to figure out what his style is: being a decent athlete and a willing grappler was a winning strategy in Cage Warriors, but that's just not likely to fly in the UFC. Julian Marquez by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: It’s becoming more and more apparent that the elements of Stewart’s game liked don’t really exist when he’s not the far stronger, more athletic man in the cage. That’s not going to be very often in the UFC, especially not as a 5’ 10” middleweight. Marquez isn’t the most well-rounded fighter, but I think he’s just too big and powerful, and too sharp a volume counter-puncher to give Stewart the opportunities he needs to get his clinch-n-maul game going. Julian Marquez via KO, Round 1.
Victor Rodriguez: I realized earlier on Friday that Marquez looks like a taller and chunkier version of me. This is frightening, because the possibilities of a multiverse being real raises a full and possibly terrifying spectrum of questions. I mean, there’s an alternate version of me somewhere else probably helping to raise baby pandas, or cutting sugar cane with a machete on a hillside somewhere. Maybe there’s a version that fulfilled his boyhood dream of living in Japan and being a successful professional wrestler, or a quiet guy with a bum leg that opened a bed and breakfast somewhere in Nantucket. Whatever the case may be, they’re doing better than anyone named Victor Rodriguez that’s actually fighting in MMA in this reality, because that little venture ain’t doing so well. Marquez has a bunch of violent finishes, while Stewart is on a losing skid and has less of a killer instinct. Besides, the dude’s name is The Cuban Missile Crisis. No, really. You’ve lost your goddamn mind if you think I won’t pick a guy like that. Victor Rodriguez from Earth 541 by TKO.
Ryan Davies: Marquez was scheduled to face TUF: Brazil 3 finalist Vitor Miranda, but Miranda was forced to pull out last week and was replaced by Darren Stewart, who is looking to bounce back from a loss to Karl Roberson last month. Stewart may want to think twice about this opportunity, his path to victory over Marquez is a very narrow one. Stewart would be smart to get this to the ground and attempt to ride out a decision, but Marquez’s strength and takedown defense will keep him standing, where the knockout will materialize late first or early second. Julian Marquez Knockout 2nd
Staff picking Marquez: Bissell, Nick, Mookie, Zane, Dayne, Victor, Davies, Fraser, Stephie
Staff picking Stewart: Tim
Phil Mackenzie: With similar general approach to out-athleting the opponent as Bamgbose, Bofando (lit: "Bang Minibus?") is in a tougher division and fighting a much better opponent. Laprise is a greatly inferior physical specimen, but a clinical outside striker (to a fault), who is unlikely to make errors while steadily chipping away at Bofando's porous defense. Chad Laprise by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: I’d love to see Bofando win this, but his game is so much smoke and mirrors with only a few really dangerous techniques. He’s a freak athlete and there’s always the chance that things will all snap together or he’ll just land a kill shot on a much less athletic Laprise early. But otherwise, Laprise is much more fundamentally sound, and better able to work in volume over 3 rounds. Chad Laprise via TKO, Round 3.
Victor Rodriguez: Going with Zane here. Bofando is all kinds of awesome fun, but the more fundamentally sound game belongs to Laprise. That does you more favors in the long run. God, I really wanted to make a great BOFA joke, but I’ll have to keep it under my hat for next time. Chad Laprise by decision.
Ryan Davies: Bofando’s exciting spinning attacks may find the head of lesser skilled opponents, but Laprise does everything by the book and won’t slip up against the flashy Brit. Laprise will take everything Bofando has to offer and punish what’s left of the gassed fighter. Chad Laprise TKO 2nd
Staff picking Bofando: Bissell, Nick,
Staff picking Laprise: Phil, Tim, Zane, Dayne, Victor, Mookie, Davies, Fraser, Stephie
Phil Mackenzie: Um. Neither of these guys have looked great lately, and I use the word "lately" pretty loosely, as Trujillo last fought in February and got dominated by Vick, and Makdessi's last one was that wheel kick KO loss to Lando Vannata. This is one of many fights where there's an obvious technical pick (Makdessi) but a lot of ancillary factors muddying the water. Trujillo is bigger, more powerful, and more durable. Makdessi has also gone to Roufusport, which sort of makes me think that his never-great TDD will have completely fallen apart. Then again, watching Trujillo swing at air trying to track down Wes Sims before Sims pointlessly dove into a guillotine doesn't give me much faith in him either. Screw it. John Makdessi by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: There’s a chance that Makdessi gets taken down and grappled to death by the bigger, stronger, and reasonably adept Abel Trujillo. But, I don’t think Trujillo is confident enough standing these days to close the distance well. And at that point, Makdessi should be able to move in and out of range and pot shot his way to victory. John Makdessi via decision.
Ryan Davies: There is no doubt in my mind that Makdessi is the superior striker, but Trujillo will be able to exploit his lack of wrestling once they both get settled into the fight. Trujillo may lose the early exchanges, but the violent vegan will pick up steam as they get deeper into the fight and pull out a victory with well timed takedowns and a higher work rate. Abel Trujillo Unanimous Decision
Victor Rodriguez: Yeesh. Makdessi’s Taekwondo-based striking probably would benefit from someone like Duke Roufus and his crew adding to his arsenal. I just don’t have enough faith and trust in his wrestling defense to say that he can survive long enough against Trujillo. We all know what Abel’s bread and butter is, and his ground strikes will make the larger difference. One can say that Makdessi is not a fighter for Trujillo to fear. No, I’m totally not sorry about that. Abel Trujillo by decision.
Staff picking Makdessi: Bissell, Mookie, Phil, Zane, Fraser, Stephie
Staff picking Trujillo: Nick, Tim, Dayne, Davies, Victor
Phil Mackenzie: Di Chirico is undoubtedly the more skilled and consistent fighter, but does that really matter? He scraped by McLellan and lost to Spicely, which combine to indicate some serious athleticism deficiencies. He is very tough, but the Bang Bus is basically there to drive non-UFC level athletes out of the organization. Oluwale Bamgbose by TKO, round 1
Ryan Davies: Neither of these two have had much success in the Octagon, but Bamgbose’s level of competition has been far superior to Di Chirico’s. This will be a tortoise vs. hare type of match up, Bamgbose is a fast starter but gases if he can’t take you out with his bursts of action. Di Chirico will win this if he can survive the early bull rush and out work Bamgbose. However Bamgbose’s initial flurries will be too much for the young Italian. Oluwale Bamgbose TKO 1st
Zane Simon: I’m almost absolutely sure that Di Chirico is going to get bombed on early. But I’m not confident of Bamgbose finishing him. Di Chirico has a good chin and the wherewithal to survive tough spots. But more than that, Bamgbose is just too willing to wrestle and grapple where he’s not very good and spends way too much energy. I can easily see him landing a good shot and then trying to pick Di Chirico up and throw him and wail away with strikes, only to gas out and lose an ugly fight from there. Alessio Di Chirico by decision.
Victor Rodriguez: Tempted to pick Bamgbose due to athleticism and pressure, but Di Chirico can stay ahead during more frames of the fight by virtue of his willingness to change things up constantly. Bamgbose is a tough dude, but Di Chirico’s cardio can certainly hold up better and he can find more openings to do damage long-term. Alessio Di Chirico by decision.
Staff picking Bamgbose: Nick, Phil, Mookie, Tim, Davies, Fraser, Stephie
Staff picking Di Chirico: Bissell, Zane, Dayne, Victor
Mookie Alexander: These guys aren’t prospects anymore. They are who they are. Dangerous in round one and then they check out after that. I guess Silva is the more dangerous one-round fighter, and as he showed against Luan Chagas, that he sometimes can win outside of round one! So give me Erick Silva by submission, round 1.
Phil Mackenzie: Jordan Mein is the better technician here- on that level he's one of the most skilled welterweights around... but he doesn't like fighting. He just doesn't. There's no shame in that, but he's looked pretty terrible since returning after his "retirement", drifting aimlessly out of fights. Silva is a jangly technical mess whose considerable skills seem to coalesce and fall apart in different ways in every fight, with a poor chin, a mediocre gas tank and a tendency to front run. I guess I'll take Mein. He's more skilled at range, takes a punch better, and Silva has traditionally not had much success against range fighting technicians. This is really picking "stops trying" to beat "falls apart" though, so exercise the appropriate caution. Jordan Mein by TKO, round 3.
Ryan Davies: Both of these welterweights are struggling as of late, with Mein dropping his last three and Silva losing three of his last four. Mein is one of the more technical strikers in the sport, but he has never quite lived up to his potential. Mein will land the better shots early, but Silva will land heavy body kicks that will payoff in the later rounds. With Mein up two rounds he will get too comfortable and get caught by one of Silva’s kicks that will save him from losing a decision. Erick Silva TKO 3rd
Zane Simon: Silva is going to likely get hurt really early in this fight. If Mein can stop him there, then he’ll win. If not, this all becomes a question of how long Meins confidence holds out and how much time Silva’s chin will get him. I still think Mein is too technical and hits too hard early for Silva to survive, so I’m taking Jordan Mein via KO round 1.
Victor Rodriguez: Joe Silva may be gone, but he’s gonna be tickled pink watching this fight from home if Mein thumps Erick. Silva’s wrestling defense still isn’t where it should be, and Mein’s athleticism and defense are still major question marks. It’s sad, because I really wanted Mein to do better after returning from retirement. Another reminder of how cruel the sport can be, and how unforgiving it’s been to two guys that were once considered the future at 170. Meh. Silva’s got the better chin. That’s about as much as you can ask for in what could be a crazy back-and-forth fight. Erick Silva by TKO.
Staff picking Mein: Bissell, Nick, Phil, Zane, Dayne, Stephie
Staff picking Silva: Mookie, Tim, Davies, Victor, Fraser
Ryan Davies: This one will have the striking enthusiasts anting up the $10 for fight pass. Both of these men are professional striking technicians that will have zero interest in a ground fight. Taleb is a master of all eight limbs, while Roberts is a slick Boxer/Kickboxer that does his best work with his punches. This is going to be very close on the scorecards and I see Taleb’s aggression and forward pressure giving him the edge in a back and forth striking clinic. Nordine Taleb Split Decision
Phil Mackenzie: While Roberts is fast and technical, I do worry that physically he's just a touch behind, say, his countryman Leon Edwards. There have been moments against Steele and Perry where it became a bit apparent that there was something of a horsepower discrepancy. In a boxing vs kickboxing match, I think I like Taleb to be able to leg kick from range and attack with his underrated takedown game when Roberts closes. Nordine Taleb by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: If Taleb were a fighter more physically capable of imposing himself and taking over a bout, I’d pick him here. But so often he seems to want to be the light on his feet counter-puncher who lands the nuanced strikes while his opponent looks for big shots. Against a hard punching, higher volume striker like Danny Roberts, I think that means that Taleb will be just barely getting out-worked round to round. Danny Roberts via decision.
Victor Rodriguez: Taleb has some hard leg kicks and a good habit of baiting opponents and landing those kicks as they come in. Roberts has slicker boxing and should be faster, but his pace is going to be limited after a while. Taleb’s leg and body kicks will add up, and it’ll be a fight he’s more comfortable as time goes on. Nordine Taleb by decision.
Staff picking Taleb: Bissell, Mookie, Phil, Davies, Tim, Victor, Fraser, Stephie
Staff picking Roberts: Nick, Zane, Dayne
Who wins the UFC on FOX 26 main event?
This poll is closed
Lawler by stoppage
RDA by stoppage
Lawler by decision
RDA by decision