The Bloody Elbow staff predictions are in for UFC Fight Night: Gustafsson vs. Teixeira in Stockholm, Sweden. Only Nick Baldwin has Glover Teixeira over Alexander Gustafsson in the main event. Unsurprisingly, no one is picking Volkan Oezdemir to upset Misha Cirkunov in the co-main.
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.
Anton Tabuena: There’s a good chance either of their chins take one big punch and destroys all meaningful predictions, but I think this is pretty straight forward. Gustafsson is longer and more mobile, and he likely can control distance as he picks apart a slower guy who only wants to get in short boxing range. I think he stays in motion and slowly picks apart the Glover until he hurts him and finishes. Alexander Gustafsson by TKO.
Mookie Alexander: At first glance, it feels like Gustafsson should wipe Teixeira out. But the more I think about it, the more I’m not very confident. For as much as Teixeira isn’t a speedster, he still hits pretty hard, and Gustafsson’s defense remains a total mess. There’s also the aspect of Glover’s dangerous top control game, which may become a big factor should he manage to get Gustafsson down (easier said than done). All things considered, Gustafsson is still the better fighter and I think he should be able to just snipe Teixeira from the outside and just generally outstrike him and break him down for the TKO. I’m not that confident though and wouldn’t be shocked if Teixeira just blasted him cleanly. Alexander Gustafsson by TKO, round 3.
Dayne Fox: Considering these are the top two contenders in the light heavyweight division -- at least according to the UFC rankings -- I should be drooling at the prospect of this fight… but I’m not. The more I look into it, the more it feels one-sided. Gustafsson may not have all of the advantages in this contest, but he does have answers to those questions. I can’t say definitively that Teixeira is the better wrestler or grappler, but Gustafsson’s athleticism and creativity should more than make up for that. Teixeira most definitely hits harder, right? Yes, though he’ll have a hard time navigating Gustafsson’s reach and speed. Hell, I’d even say he appears to be the more confident fighter as Teixeira didn’t have any of the killer instinct that once defined him. Gustafsson’s killer instinct is MIA too, which leads to me to believe it will go the distance in what I fear could be a slog. Gustafsson via decision
Staff picking Gustafsson: Ram, Bissell, Dayne, Phil, Mookie, Anton, Fraser, Eddie, Stephie, Zane
Staff picking Teixeira: Nick
Mookie Alexander: Light heavyweight is so bad that Oezdemir can eke out an unwatchable decision over Ovince Saint Preux and instantly become ranked #5. Granted, it was short notice so kudos to Oezdemir for the upset win, but everything else in his resume is underwhelming. Cirkunov is going to take him down and do bad things to his neck. Then the UFC is going to pointlessly let Cirkunov annihilate Shogun and made everyone sad. Misha Cirkunov by submission, round 1.
Dayne Fox: Granted, Ovince Saint Preux is the best name either Cirkunov or Oezdemir has ever beaten. Despite that win, Oezdemir is short on quality wins on his resume. I can’t say what his next best victory would be. Alikhan Vakhaev? Yikes. I haven’t liked what I’ve seen out of his wrestling and grappling, the areas in which Cirkunov is best. This feels elementary. Cirkunov via submission of RD2
Staff picking Cirkunov: Ram, Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Phil, Mookie, Anton, Fraser, Eddie, Stephie, Zane
Staff picking Oezdemir:
Anton Tabuena: LETS!! The BE regular in Saunders will frustrate him with his grappling on the mat, and land knees and elbows on the feet. Ben Saunders by Bloody Elbows.
Mookie Alexander: You know how we roll here. Ben Saunders by whatever he damn wants.
Phil Mackenzie: Here's my attempt at being objective: Sobotta's grappling and top game could be a real problem here, but Killa B is legitimately one of the most effective rubber guard practitioners in the sport and has a big power advantage. Still, LETS Ben Saunders by TKO, round 2
Staff picking Saunders: Ram, Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Phil, Mookie, Anton, Fraser, Eddie, Stephie, Zane
Staff picking Sobotta:
Mookie Alexander: I can’t put too much stock in Alhassan’s demolishing of Charlie Ward, if only because Ward genuinely has no business being on a UFC roster right now, but Alhassan is violent and fun to watch. At a minimum he’s an action fighter, and that’s all I need out of him. Akhmedov is not one of those Dagestan guys who has a big future in this sport. He’s a sloppy striker and has bad defense and a bad gas tank. I think Alhassan wipes him out. Abdul Razak Alhassan by KO, round 2.
Phil Mackenzie: Alhassan is one of those dudes where it's going to be very difficult to see how good he actually is until he comes up against someone that he doesn't near-instantly wreck. That could be Akhmedov. He's no world-beater, but he's a decent wrestler and top position grappler. He hits hard, but is rarely accurate enough to finish opponents, and has a mediocre gas tank, which is a bad combination of traits. I'm going to say that Alhassan's judo base insulates him from the takedown, and that he's just a more natural striker, but I don't really have a lot of confidence. Abdul Razak Alhassan by KO, round 1.
Eddie Mercado: I’ll take the vet here that I’ve seen compete in deeper water over the unproven young gun, but I would love nothing more than to be wrong. I see this one getting ugly (in a bad way) once it hits the 3rd round, but Omari Akhmedov by Split Decision.
Staff picking Alhassan: Ram, Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Phil, Mookie, Anton, Fraser, Stephie, Zane
Staff picking Akhmedov: Eddie
Phil Mackenzie: Enkamp is replacing Emil Weber Meek, which would have been a very interesting matchup. Taleb is bigger and more athletic, and looked like he genuinely turned a corner in his last couple of fights, particularly his underrated barn-burner against The Ponz. Enkamp is a volume striker who should be able to hang, but Taleb has experience, size and power edges. Nordine Taleb by unanimous decision.
Staff picking Enkamp:
Staff picking Taleb: Ram, Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Phil, Mookie, Anton, Fraser, Eddie, Stephie, Zane
Phil Mackenzie: I still don't really know what to expect from Alex Nicholson. He's going to throw a whole bunch of kicks from a distance, and maybe spin and try stuff. He's athletic and can keep a good pace. Hermansson is a far better put together boxer, and as Alvey showed, Nicholson is quite plodding and hittable, even for someone as footslow as Alvey. Hermansson's leg kicks also one to keep an eye on. Jack Hermansson by unanimous decision.
Eddie Mercado: I like Nicholson’s ability to unleash a fight-ending blow at any given moment, and believe he will upset the local fighter in Sweden. Alex Nicholson by TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Hermansson: Ram, Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Phil, Mookie, Anton, Fraser, Stephie, Zane
Staff picking Nicholson: Eddie
Mookie Alexander: Stasiak was getting his ass kicked by Davey Grant until the last-ditch armbar, which Grant pretty much had coming because he repeatedly put himself in danger to get caught in a submission. Munhoz won’t provide Stasiak with the same opportunities, and he’s definitely improved his striking enough to possibly get a knockout win. Pedro Munhoz by submission, round 2.
Phil Mackenzie: Stasiak is basically a grappler, one who nominally uses a karate base to hit timing-based takedowns. Pedro Munhoz is a much, much better grappler and a more powerful, active striker to boot. The lock of the card. Pedro Munhoz by submission, round 1
Staff picking Munhoz: Ram, Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Phil, Mookie, Anton, Fraser, Eddie, Stephie, Zane
Staff picking Stasiak:
Mookie Alexander: It’s happened. This is the matchup that has broke Phil Mackenzie’s will to write “Game of Generic Middleweights” all the time for all generic middleweights. Chris Camozzi by split decision.
Phil Mackenzie: Aw man. I want to do a write-up for this one, but Camozzi has never shown the ability to stop any kind of takedown: I think Smith is going to grind him out, and it bums me out too much. You're still the Volume Puncher King of my heart, Chris. Trevor Smith by unanimous decision.
Staff picking Camozzi: Nick, Dayne, Mookie, Anton, Stephie
Staff picking Smith: Ram, Bissell, Phil, Fraser, Zane
Phil Mackenzie: I don't want to do this, but Silva appears to be one of those classic yoked-up glass cannons who can wreck people in multiple ways in the first round, but fade out with the quickness afterwards. That has never been the way to get to Madadi, who is insanely tough and an excellent grappler. I kind of expect Silva to have success then to get ground out in Madadi's retirement fight, although him blowing Madadi out of the water in depressing Pickettian fashion wouldn't surprise me either. Reza Madadi by unanimous decision.
Staff picking Madadi: Dayne, Anton, Phil, Fraser, Zane
Staff picking Silva: Ram, Bissell, Nick, Mookie, Eddie, Stephie
Mookie Alexander: It’s okay to just say this card isn’t good on paper. If you pretended this wasn’t a UFC show, would you be convinced this was a UFC quality card? Anyway, Nico Musoke by unanimous decision.
Phil Mackenzie: I think it was Connor on Twitter who described this one as "get ready to see who can do more nothing in this fight". Both guys are athletic, well-rounded and frustratingly inactive. Musoke has a touch more viciousness to his game- whereas Velickovic tends to just cruise his way through fights, Musoke only seems to falter slightly once his opponent proves that they are discouraged by his offense. Basically I think he can land more body kicks in a fight which I might end up watching later with Zane and Connor. Nico Musoke by unanimous decision.
Staff picking Musoke: Nick, Dayne, Mookie, Anton, Phil, Fraser, Eddie, Stephie, Zane
Staff picking Velickovic: Ram, Bissell
Phil Mackenzie: Ayari is decently well-rounded, and can wrestle and strike. However, his defense leaves something to be desired, and Till is just a much better athlete, one who worked the more fundamentally sound Nicolas Dalby, until his arm fell off anyway. Darren Till by TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Ayari:
Staff picking Till: Ram, Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Mookie, Anton, Fraser, Phil, Eddie, Stephie, Zane
Phil Mackenzie: Hadzovic is something of a trap fight for Held. He's strong in the clinch, hits hard, and has a knack for stopping takedowns with intercepting knees. Held tends to get tunnel vision with his grappling game, which could lead into something bad. However, his wrestling has gotten a lot better, and he's built a more essentially functional game. Primarily, the thing which leans me the most towards him is that he's ridiculously tough. Marcin Held by submission, round 2.
Mookie Alexander: Damn. This probably isn’t how Marcin Held envisioned his UFC run would go. Marcin Held by submission, round 1.
Fraser Coffeen: OK, so clearly my super hyped up feeling about Held coming to the UFC has not worked out. Here he is, curtain jerking a pretty uninspired card against a 10-3 fighter, and yet I am STILL not confident in my Held pick. I’ll still ride with Held, because I’m surely not picking against him in a fight like this, but I am well aware that this is a heart not head pick, and that I could be wrong. And crushed. Marcin Held, submission, round 1
Staff picking Held: Ram, Nick, Dayne, Mookie, Anton, Fraser, Eddie, Stephie, Zane
Staff picking Hadzovic: Bissell