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UFC 208: Holm vs. de Randamie staff picks and predictions

Check out the Bloody Elbow staff’s picks and predictions for Saturday’s UFC 208: Holm vs. de Randamie pay-per-view in Brooklyn, New York.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Elmose vs de Randamie Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

The UFC 208 staff predictions are here, and we’re just about split on who wins between Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie in Saturday night’s main event. As for the co-main event, the majority of us are picking Anderson Silva to beat Derek Brunson. Jacare Souza over Tim Boetsch and Ryan LaFlare over Roan Carneiro are the only unanimous choices across the entire card.

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.

Holly Holm vs. Germaine de Randamie

Anton Tabuena: Holm is a great boxer with very good kickboxing. Against Shevchenko, she played her game and basically was a good kickboxer getting picked apart by an elite Muay Thai fighter. It’s very possible that Holm runs into the same troubles against De Randamie, but I am still not quite as convinced on her overall game and her level of competition. It’s a tough match up for Holm, and while this fight may very well be De Randamie’s coming out party, I can’t be too quick to pick someone who hasn’t proved her mettle against stiff competition. Holly Holm by Decision.

Mookie Alexander: Statistically, Holm’s most accurate performance in the UFC was against Ronda Rousey, and when you look at how bad Rousey is as a striker, and examine how woefully inaccurate Holm has been when fighting non-Rousey opponents, you can figure out which fight is the statistical outlier. De Randamie’s list of opponents she’s beaten is, quite frankly, unconvincing. She literally just beat a retired strawweight in her last bout. But if you compared skillsets, GdR is a more diverse, powerful striker, and is superior in the clinch. She also has a lot less fight mileage on her than Holm does. I suppose Holm can win on volume alone, or she throws a curveball and shoots for takedowns, but I believe GdR’s MMA striking is superior to that of Holm’s. Germaine de Randamie by unanimous decision.

Nick Baldwin: Germaine de Randamie is more fierce than Holly Holm, and that’s what will earn her a win over the former bantamweight champion to capture 145-pound gold. She’s stronger, a bit bigger, a touch faster, and more aggressive. I’m not sure where Holm’s head is at, either, coming off back-to-back losses to Miesha Tate and Valentina Shevchenko. My concern with de Randamie is her past level of competition; she’s never defeated a top 15 opponent, and Holm is her toughest test to date by far. That said, I think she shines in the spotlight and becomes the first fighter to finish Holm with strikes. Germaine de Randamie via TKO, Round 2.

Ram Gilboa: The inaugural UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship* is here. (*Cris Cyborg sold separately). With it, Holly Holm has the chance to become the first woman to hold titles in two UFC divisions, and Germaine de Randamie has a chance to become someone you’ve heard of.

With extra size comes extra power. As Angelo Dundee once put so elegantly: “Anyone who weighs over 200 pounds can punch, and I don’t care if it’s a broad”. These two broads might still be too small to really pack a killer punch, but they can kick you flat just fine. Basic stats argue this one ends in a kick KO: Holm has knocked out seven opponents in bantamweight, six of them with a kick. That’s a 58 percent overall KO ratio in 12 MMA matches, and 70 percent ratio in the matches she’d won. The preacher’s daughter legs definitely change her KO abilities; in Boxing Holm carried a 24% KO ratio – part of the ratio gap probably also has to do with generally easier stand-up opposition in MMA. In the opposite corner de Randamie has three MMA KOs, two of them by knees. This translates to a 33% KO ratio in her total nine matches, and 50% of the six she’d won. Still well over the women’s bantamweight fighters average of around 15% KOs.

These two are strikers through and through. Holm is famously an all-time great in women’s Boxing short history; De Randamie is Dutch. She’s really a beautiful striker, and left Kickboxing with a perfect record and several shiny belts of her own. On the flip side, in almost 85 minutes inside the Octagon, Holm went for only two takedowns (she completed them); De Randamie never took an opponent down in her entire UFC and Strikeforce career, and went through all of her losses horizontally.

So, now, throw basic stats out a window – if life has taught us anything, it’s that one of these top-notch strikers will look for a comparative advantage in a very critical fight, and we’ll get a third rate-grappling match, instead of a first-rate striking one. Somewhere there’s a coach reminding his pupil to fake for a bit wanting to stand, and then take her down and keep her there. I think Holly Holm will try to wrestle with De Randamie, I’m less sure what’s going to happen then, but let’s say Holly Holm by TKO, round 4.

Zane Simon: I’m not at all bullish on Holm’s chances here. It’s more that I’m just not convinced by anything Germaine de Randamie has done to this point either. I’m not even sure she’s as competitive against top competition as Raquel Pennington. Two dominating wins over the lowest possible level of UFC fighters does little to give me confidence considering that she got absolutely smoked by the champ. Can de Randamie take advantage of Holm’s high output-low accuracy, low power style? Maybe. She certainly should be able to, but Holm is a hard woman to physically dominate and GDR is rarely physically dominant. So I’m taking Holm to just out work her from range for an ugly decision win. Holly Holm by decision.

Eddie Mercado: I can see this fight playing out a multitude of ways. I can see de Randamie making Holm pay for her inaccuracy by way of heavy counter punching, and we get a match similar to the Shevchenko fight. I can see de Randamie flying out of the gate, grabbing ahold of Holm, and unleashing savage knees to the body. We have seen that when Holm has her opponent pressed against the cage, she checks the hips with her left hand, while extending her hips outward, leaving an opening for her opponent's right knee to get through. It could happen. Those seem to be the likely scenarios for de Randamie to walk away with the win, but what if she cannot close the distance or Holm does not close it for her? What if she closes the distance and gets taken down? I haven’t seen de Randamie face the upper echelon of UFC competition, so I’m not quite sure what she’s made of. I haven’t seen her show up in a huge fight, because she hasn't exactly been in one. I have no idea what she looks like in a 4th round, and no idea what she can do off of her back. For Holm, I can see her executing her typical high-volume/active footwork game that in the past has shown to be more ‘busyness’ than actual ‘business,’ but is capable of picking up points. I feel like Holm is also capable of taking this fight to the ground, and probably should, the same way that Amanda Nunes did. I can see the decorated striker in Holm squaring up with de Randamie for a few rounds, but I expect a gameplan involving the ground to be implemented at some point in the fight. I don’t think Holm will be able to hurt de Randamie on the feet, but once it hits the ground, I think we might see a finish. My lizard brain is telling me to pick Holly Holm by Submission in round 4.

Case Harts: I have a feeling GDR is going to push Holm and we are going to get a dynamic kickboxing match. I have a feeling GDR will land a big bomb even if she loses on the volume end and then finish Holm. GDR by TKO round 2

Fraser Coffeen: When this was first announced, I felt like it was a no-brainer: Holm all the way. But more thought has given me pause. Holm is 35, has a lot of fight mileage on her, has lost two in a row, and is giving up the edge in physicality. All of these are bad signs. But the flipside is that the Tate loss is one of those weird losses where it’s hard to fully evaluate, and Shevchenko showed us in her last fight that she’s simply an absolute top tier fighter. And despite my hesitations about Holm, I just don’t think de Randamie is at that level. So I’m going with my initial pick, though with far less confidence. Holm by decision.

Staff picking Holm: Ram, Zane, Eddie, Fraser, Tim, Anton
Staff picking GdR: Bissell, Nick, Phil, Mookie, Stephie, Case

Anderson Silva vs. Derek Brunson

Anton Tabuena: Skillwise, this isn’t even a contest. But Anderson Silva’s timing and durability has constantly declined dramatically, that I can’t even be confident in picking him anymore. His reaction time really hasn’t been the same, but he is still very good offensively that if he leads instead of trying (failing) to just counter like he’s used to, he’d be far more dangerous and more likely to win. If he constantly leads, the far less superior striker in Brunson is likely to get picked apart. But if he still sticks to his game of just moving and countering heavily, he would be playing with fire and increasing the chances of Brunson landing the big shot that puts him out. This would’ve been a style match up that prime-Silva could just toy around with, but it’s 2017, so I’m not quite sure. In the end, I’m picking — or maybe just hoping? — the legend’s technical advantage prevails. Anderson Silva by TKO.

Mookie Alexander: I picked Silva on Three Amigos Podcast, but I can’t commit to it. Your heroes get old, and that means way more often than not the story is a sad one when they have a big drop from the top. Anderson definitely can win this if Brunson is defensively careless (he often is) and Silva can pull the trigger and land a big countershot, buuuuuuuut Brunson hits hard and Silva’s just not durable enough anymore. On the plus side, Anderson doesn’t look remotely as spent as B.J. Penn. Derek Brunson by KO, round 2.

Nick Baldwin: This is a tough one to call. Anderson Silva hasn’t officially won a fight since 2012 and has clearly declined over the past few years. To his credit, his last two losses are to two current UFC champs, Michael Bisping and Daniel Cormier, and he looked decent in both outings (DC dominated him, but considering he took the fight on only a couple day’s notice, Silva hung in there quite well). Brunson is a devastating middleweight with improving hands and great wrestling, but his biggest flaw is his striking defense. How much he stuck his chin out against Robert Whittaker last November was very, very worrisome. Stylistically, this is actually a great matchup for the GOAT. Silva is a counter striker and Brunson runs forward like a bull, sometimes carelessly. For that reason, I see Silva landing something clean sometime in the opening 10 minutes. Give me the former middleweight champion to get back into the winning column. Anderson Silva via TKO, Round 1.

Ram Gilboa: He lost a few recently, rebuilt a leg and he’s over 40, so now I think I’ll eventually be able to bet against Anderson Silva when he’s around 50 years old, and fighting a 35 year old Anderson Silva. Anderson Silva by KO/TKO, round 2.

Zane Simon: After re-watching tape on Brunson and how ugly his style can get I almost pulled the trigger on picking Silva. ALMOST. But, Brunson, for all his flaws is still stupid tough, strong enough to hurt people, and unrelentingly aggressive. Everything I’ve seen from Silva lately suggests he’s not durable, has problems pulling the trigger, and doesn’t have the same followthrough on power shots that he used to. Will he hurt Brunson, probably? Will Brunson keep charging him and hurt him back? Also probably. And I think Brunson is more likely to finish the job these days. Derek Brunson via KO, Round 1.

Case Harts: Anderson might still have some magical powers left in the tank. This is a fight where a lot of things can happen but lets hope Anderson enters the Matrix one more time. Anderson KO round 2

Eddie Mercado: The romantic side of me wants to see a flashback of Silva vs. Griffin, shout out to 2009, with an overzealous adversary getting served by a sharp shooting slickster. Brunson has been ‘that guy’ that just rushes in with reckless abandonment, and Silva still has the ability to sting. Ah, what the heck, Anderson Silva by KO at 3:23 of round 1.

Tim Burke: Brunson loves to charge forward recklessly. This is like a dream fight for a counterstriker like Anderson, even if he’s lost a step. As long as he doesn’t get clipped, he’s gonna destroy Brunson. Anderson Silva by TKO, late in round 1

Fraser Coffeen: I am an unapologetic massive fan of Anderson Silva. As such, the past few years have been pretty painful. As I see it, Silva has entered this weird point where he’s not even really out there to win fights anymore, he’s out there to try out his martial arts techniques. So I don’t think we’re getting a big KO, and I do think we’ll get some weirdness from the Spider as he shows off the latest funky thing he’s been playing around with in the gym. The question is, can Silva outstrike Brunson enough over 15 minutes, without Brunson landing a bomb on what is, by now, not the great chin it once was? I still believe. Anderson Silva, decision

Staff picking Silva: Bissell, Nick, Ram, Eddie, Fraser, Tim, Anton
Staff picking Brunson: Phil, Zane, Mookie, Stephie

Ronaldo Souza vs. Tim Boetsch

Anton Tabuena: Why is this even happening? Jacare by Submission.

Mookie Alexander: Boetsch’s best chance is to replicate round 1 of the Thales Leites fight, or get a flash KO. That’s about it. Middleweight produces more weirdness than heavyweight, but this seems a straightforward pick. Jacare by strangulation, round 1.

Nick Baldwin: Uh oh. I’m kind of scared for “The Barbarian.” Ronaldo Souza is an animal and one of the best 185-pounders out there right now, while Tim Boetsch, a man with lots of heart, grit, and knockout power, doesn’t have much left in the tank. “Jacare” has this in the bag. Ronaldo Souza via whatever he wants, Round 1.

Ram Gilboa: I believe it was Shakespeare who said: How does Jacare whoop Boetsch? Let me count the ways. I have nothing against Boetsch – the Barbarian is actually one of my favourite fighters to watch. He’s different and memorable, and that’s a lot in a schedule of 40~ UFC fights a month. But Jacare is one of the four kings of MMA middleweight; arguably the best middleweight of all time never to be crowned a UFC champion (yet). The Barbarians might have brought on the fall of Rome, but the Legions had nothing on Jacare. Boetsch just seems to me like a very tough sparring partner for Ronaldo Souza. Barbarity goes some way in cage fighting, but power loses to technique and power every time. Ronaldo Souza by submission, round 1.

Phil Mackenzie: Boetsch is a tough gatekeeper to the elite, but Jacare is decidedly that. In general, Boetsch's grappling relies on him being massively physically strong, but fighters with strength parity or advantage have just been able to wreck him on the floor. Jacare Souza by submission, round 1

Zane Simon: Boetsch has had two great performances where he got just the right kind of bout and took over just as he should have. But that doesn’t mean that he’s suddenly a way better defensive wrestler or grappler. Jacare should be able to pull him down and sub him quick. Jacare Souza via Sub, Round 1.

Eddie Mercado: For the record, I would love to see Boetsch get the W here and find his way into title contention. That would amuse me to no end. However, here is how it will go: Souza closes the distance with an overhand right. Souza drags Boetsch to the mat and lands in side control. Boetsch goes to roll, but ends up in an Arm Triangle. Jacare by Submission (Arm Triangle) in round 1.

Staff picking Jacare: Bissell, Nick, Ram, Phil, Mookie, Zane, Stephie, Eddie, Fraser, Tim, Anton
Staff picking Boetsch:

Jared Cannonier vs. Glover Teixeira

Mookie Alexander: This is really bizarre, rushed matchmaking. I know Teixeira got his soul forcibly removed by Anthony Johnson, but Teixeira was otherwise looking like his usual self against OSP, Cummins, and Rashad. Cannonier has good boxing and Glover is certainly hittable, but Ion Cutelaba took down Cannonier numerous times before Cannonier’s superior cardio really helped carry him to victory, and Teixeira is miles better with his takedowns, his top control, and his jiu-jitsu. The Brazilian gets a submission here. Glover Teixeira by arm-triangle choke, round 2.

Nick Baldwin: Jared Cannonier seems to be the underdog who’s getting picked the most leading into UFC 208, but I just don’t see it. I admit he looked pretty solid against Ion Cutelaba in his light heavyweight debut -- and let me add that 205 pounds is clearly the proper weight class for him -- but this is a massive step up in competition. Teixeira is coming off a ridiculously devastating knockout loss to Anthony Johnson, so Cannonier catching the Brazilian isn’t an extremely unlikely option. A slugfest on the feet wouldn’t be shocking, as Teixeira has been striking more than wrestling as of late. But don’t forget that Teixeira has solid striking, too; he can certainly hang with Cannonier on the feet. He’s the more technical striker but Cannonier has the power advantage. But when we move to the grappling games of both, Teixeira has by far the better ground game, and if he plays this smart, he takes Cannonier down early and mauls him on the mat, whether by TKO or submission. Glover Teixeira via TKO, Round 1.

Ram Gilboa: Messi doesn’t have a day job. LeBron doesn’t have a day job. Even McGregor chooses not to employ his plumbing skills for money. I can tell you if I had to fight this guy I’d quit whatever else I was doing and just focus on that. Cannonier reportedly basically fights part-time. He seems like a talented enough fighter though, he can stick and move, has a chin and a right hand and good cardio – that’s a lot. He’ll might give Teixeira some trouble for a while, but Glover Teixeira by KO/TKO, round 2.

Phil Mackenzie: Glover is an old-school fighter with a rough, brawling style who is almost certainly going to fall off a cliff at some point soon. Jared Cannonier looked absolutely fantastic last time out, showing a much more nuanced boxing game and vastly improved cardio. Very much a possibility that Cannonier destroys him in one or perhaps even works him from the outside, but Cannonier also gave up a ton of takedowns to Ion Cutelaba, who is not the wrestler or (more importantly) the vicious top control artist that Glover is. Glover Teixeira by submission, round 2.

Zane Simon: Every reason to think Glover gets a takedown and subs Cannonier out with a quickness here, maybe even TKOs him. But I can’t help shake the feeling that Cannonier’s lunging in from way outside style is going to let him catch Glover and hurt him and KO him before that happens. It’s a gut pick, but every now and then you gotta make one. Jared Cannonier via KO, Round 1.

Eddie Mercado: Go check out my interview with Jared Cannonier. I can see Cannonier causing big trouble for Glover in the opening moments. If he survives, Glover will shoot in and take the fight to the ground where it will stay. I expect Cannonier to make waves, but after he losses to Glover, and has some time to seal up some holes. Glover Teixeira by Submission in round 1.

Staff picking Cannonier: Zane
Staff picking Teixeira: Bissell, Nick, Ram, Phil, Mookie, Stephie, Case, Eddie, Fraser, Tim, Anton

Jim Miller vs. Dustin Poirier

Mookie Alexander: Argggggghhhh. These are two of my favorite fighters and I don’t want to see either one of them lose. The key difference here is Poirier is just a much better striker than Miller, even though Miller has made big improvements over the years. I can’t imagine Miller outpointing Poirier over three rounds, and Dustin is good enough not to be run over by Miller on the mat, where I believe Jim has his best shot at victory. I feel like the Miller of a few years ago wins this, but otherwise favor Poirier to get the W here. Dustin Poirier by unanimous decision.

Nick Baldwin: Dustin Poirier is a bad, bad man against unranked fighters -- and even some ranked fighters -- and that’s exactly what Jim Miller is. Although Miller is on a three-fight winning streak, it’s tough to say how much we should put into that. Takanori Gomi is a meaningless win in 2016, the Joe Lauzon win was controversial, and Thiago Alves missed weight terribly in his lightweight debut. Poirier is the better striker and unless Miller can score takedowns and control “The Diamond” on the mat, he should win this fight pretty easily. Dustin Poirier via TKO, Round 1.

Ram Gilboa: Good fight. Poirier the obvious favourite, but all can change if Miller can turn this into a grappling match. While fellow lefties recently found a way to Poirier’s chin, they were fundamentally strikers, faster than him, and with longer reach – things that Miller isn’t. Miller also doesn’t seem to initiate wrestling very well against southpaws. Hmmm, Dustin Poirier by KO/TKO, round 3.

Phil Mackenzie: Forward-moving southpaws meet in the center of the cage for a fight which is going to be absolute fireworks for however long it lasts, which will be... probably not that long? Both fighters do their best work in the pocket, both pretty strong guys for the division. Poirier has debatably a slight disadvantage in terms of chin, but he's a far more powerful, diverse hitter, and Miller has been slowing of late. Dustin Poirier by TKO, round 1.

Zane Simon: I think Poirier’s footwork and range game are just too good for Miller. Poirier’s defense is a problem, but Miller isn’t a KO machine and Poirier definitely is. I just see Poirier landing too many of the bigger shots in a fire fight, and getting in and out of range enough to keep from being taken down. Dustin Poirier via TKO, Round 3.

Case Harts: Miller is a submission hunter and as good as Poirier is I think he will find an opportunity to grapple and submit Poirier. Part of this is just being dissenting part of it is knowing Miller pulling submissions out of nowhere or at least just attempting them. Miller Sub Round 2

Eddie Mercado: This is possible Fight of the Night right here. Both fighters are dangerous in their own ways and both guys are tough in their own ways. Poirier has only been stopped on the feet twice, but he does tend to get hit pretty good at least once in most fights. Miller has an underrated striking game, but might struggle with the straight punches of Poirier. I got this one ending with Dustin Poirier by Split Decision.

Staff picking Miller: Case
Staff picking Poirier: Bissell, Nick, Ram, Phil, Mookie, Zane, Stephie, Eddie, Fraser, Tim, Anton

Randy Brown vs. Belal Muhammad

Mookie Alexander: Turns out I already did the Fort Minor joke before, so based on that, I can’t pick Remember the Name to win this. Randy Brown by unanimous decision.

Phil Mackenzie: This may be the most interesting fight on the card for me from a stylistic and developmental perspective. Although Belal Remember The Name Muhammad has struggled recently, I think that his basic style is good- it is simply a high-risk one which would receive disproportionate benefits from defensive fine-tuning (SOME head movement), and one where his understanding of the space of the pocket has been built based on fighting slower, weaker athletes than, say, Jouban or Luque (this is a similar problem to Li Jingliang's). Unfortunately Brown is that level of athlete, as well as being a taller and more powerful hitter, and coming into his own as far as technical striking goes. Belal Remember The Name Muhammad can crowd Brown, but in general I think his non-existent head movement is something he absolutely must fix or he'll just Rousey himself into punches over and over against the bigger man. Randy Brown by TKO, round 2.

Zane Simon: A lot of what Phil said. Given Brown’s range and creativity I think he can force Muhammad to close him down (which Muhammad doesn’t mind doing anyway) and that will open up Brown’s opportunity to get his clinch game going. Brown’s clinch is just devastating and against a smaller fighter who has defensive lapses I think he can take over there. Randy Brown via TKO, Round 2.

Eddie Mercado: Brown seems to have more avenues to succeed here. Barring a rookie mistake, which is possible, I got Randy Brown by Unanimous Decision.

Staff picking Brown: Nick, Ram, Phil, Mookie, Zane, Eddie, Fraser, Anton
Staff picking Muhammad: Bissell, Stephie, Tim

Ian McCall vs. Jarred Brooks

Mookie Alexander: I’m picking McCall, but that’s all the analysis you get, for I have no opinion on this fight until I actually see both men get into the cage. Until then, it’s just me crossing my fingers that something doesn’t happen that leads to another Ian McCall bout cancellation.

Phil Mackenzie: I feel like I've written a bunch of short McCall breakdowns that have been canned because someone didn't make it to the fight. The guy just cannot catch a break. The theme for much of this card is basically "crafty vet vs dynamic aggressor", and this one is no different. Brooks is powerful and consistent, the kind of guy that can throw a real scare into McCall, who is good in every phase, extremely difficult to finish, but chronically lacking in power. Think we're in for a close one but give me McCall's takedowns to make a small difference. Ian McCall by split decision.

Zane Simon: If Brooks’ cage cutting and footwork were better, I might pick him to score a huge upset here (he still might), but I think McCall is just too fast and diverse for this big a jump up. McCall has a nasty habit of getting in his own head, but as long as he stays fluid at range and mixes in his wrestling I think he can win a reasonably strong (but closer than it should be) decision. Ian McCall via Decision.

Eddie Mercado: I still do not believe that this fight will even happen. Fool me once...

Staff picking McCall: Bissell, Mookie, Zane, Phil, Stephie, Fraser, Tim, Anton
Staff picking Brooks: Nick

Nik Lentz vs. Islam Makhachev

Mookie Alexander: Makhachev is one of the few non-top ranked fighters who Lentz assuredly cannot grind and outgrapple towards a points victory. I think this fight will just be a clearer and more dominant version of Makhachev vs. Wade. Islam Makhachev by unanimous decision.

Phil Mackenzie: Nik Lentz is one of those guys who has maximized limited physical gifts, but runs into the same physical wall over and over. Makhachev looks like that wall. Lentz is going to give Makhachev the scrambling, physical fight he wants, and while he's better at filling the clinch and ground spaces with strikes than Makhachev, I just don't trust him to not get outmuscled and outlasted. Islam Makhachev by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: There’s a really good chance that Lentz wins this fight by out-punching and out-grinding Makhachev in the first two rounds, before fading late. It’s a much better chance than most are giving Lentz. But, given his habit of fading and given how he got clipped a lot in his last fight, I can’t trust Lentz to put on a classic grinding performance over someone with great cardio and an almost unlimited ability to scramble. Islam Makhachev via decision.

Eddie Mercado: This will be a good litmus test to see where Makhachev falls among UFC lightweights. Lentz is a tough test and just may be too much. Nik Lentz by Decision.

Staff picking Lentz: Nick, Eddie, Fraser, Tim
Staff picking Makhachev: Bissell, Ram, Phil, Mookie, Zane, Stephie, Anton

Wilson Reis vs. Ulka Sasaki

Anton Tabuena: Uruka will shock everyone and style on Reis. Sasaki by Submisison.

Mookie Alexander: What the hell is the point of this fight? If Sasaki wins this I’ll be shocked. Wilson Reis by submission, round 2.

Ram Gilboa: UFC, where the best fight the best and Wilson Reis fights Ulka Sasaki. I don’t know, this UFC event is built a lot like your ranted upon non-PPV Boxing night; the main event a title fight where the consensus number one fighter in the division is part of the audience, and one of those fighting is coming off two losses in a lower weight class. There’s a contender fight where only one guy fighting is an actual contender. Two of those fights, actually – it would really be more competitive for Jacare and Teixeira to fight each other than Boetsch and Cannonier. And here is a fight between two grapplers where one of them is just so much better at it. Against a fellow stylist, grapplers chance is smaller than a punchers chance. (And Sasaki’s reach shouldn’t come into significant play standing up, as Reis looks considerably more proficient there too). Wilson Reis by decision.

Phil Mackenzie: Ram has covered it pretty accurately. Reis is better at Sasaki's core competency, is a better wrestler and a better striker. Reis has been outgrappled by dynamic fighters before, but... nah. Nah. Wilson Reis by submission, round 2.

Zane Simon: This fight didn’t make sense months ago and it doesn’t make sense now. Wilson Reis via submission round 2.

Eddie Mercado: Sasaki by KO (flying knee) because Reis’ chin is so close to Sasaki’s knee.

Staff picking Reis: Bissell, Nick, Ram, Phil, Mookie, Zane, Stephie, Fraser, Tim
Staff picking Sasaki: Eddie, Anton

Rick Glenn vs. Phillipe Nover

Anton Tabuena: I picked Anderson Silva earlier. I’m picking Anderson Silva again. Phillipe Nover by Decision.

Mookie Alexander: Nover did better than expected against Renan Barao, but he just doesn’t do enough to convincingly win rounds. Glenn’s going to wear him out and stop him. Rick Glenn by TKO, round 3.

Phil Mackenzie: Hey, dynamic aggressor against crafty vet. Anyway, Nover is one of those fighters who used to be inconsistent but offensively capable, but is now just worn down to a smooth, featureless surface of MMA genericism. Glenn is a bit more physically imposing and keeps a far better pace. That should be enough. Rick Glenn by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: For all his baseline athleticism, Nover is still not a deep technical fighter anywhere and still has a lot of trouble pulling the trigger. Glenn is not the best athlete out there and his striking is clunky, but he hits with power, is tough as hell, and always stays aggressive. He should be able to run out a decision on Nover here. Rick Glenn via Decision.

Staff picking Glenn: Nick, Phil, Mookie, Zane, Stephie, Fraser, Tim
Staff picking Nover: Bissell, Ram, Eddie, Anton

Roan Carneiro vs. Ryan LaFlare

Mookie Alexander: I picked Ryan LaFlare to beat Demian Maia. I’ve made better predictions in my lifetime. I’m still picking Ryan LaFlare to win against another Brazilian, but one who’s not as good as demian Maia. Ryan LaFlare by unanimous decision.

Phil Mackenzie: Weird and potentially boring fight. Carneiro has good grappling, but is not really a deadly guard threat. As such, LaFlare should be able to work his phase-shift game with a lot less worry than he had against Demian Maia. That said, LaFlare doesn't have impenetrable takedown defence either. Still, Ryan LaFlare by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: Carneiro’s striking is too one-note and as the fight goes on become a huge liability. Add in that he’s not the best takedown artist in the world and that LaFlare is incredibly well rounded and strong everywhere and this should be LaFlare’s fight. Ryan LaFlare via decision.

Staff picking Carneiro:
Staff picking LaFlare: Bissell, Nick, Ram, Phil, Mookie, Zane, Stephie, Eddie, Fraser, Tim