The Bloody Elbow staff has submitted its predictions for UFC Fortaleza, and the majority of us are going with Marlon Moraes to even the score with Raphael Assuncao in the main event. As for the co-main, and perhaps rather surprisingly, it’s a clean sweep in favor of Jose Aldo to topple Renato Moicano.
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.
Raphael Assuncao vs. Marlon Moraes
Mookie Alexander: It’s often forgotten that after Moraes got suckered into the exact low output matchup that Assuncao thrives in, he was in a similarly low output but extra dick-kicky fight against John Dodson, so either Moraes had early UFC jitters or this is a problem he’s going to have against the Assuncaos and Dodsons of the world. He looked outstanding in his quick wipeouts of Aljamain Sterling and Jimmie Rivera, which is hugely encouraging. Assuncao is a great fighter in his own right and his only loss at 135 is to T.J. Dillashaw. He’s supremely well-rounded and doesn’t get nearly the respect he deserves, presumably because his fighting style isn’t the most exhilarating. That said, I think Moraes will make the necessary adjustments and land some key power strikes to win close rounds and get the victory. Marlon Moraes by unanimous decision.
Fraser Coffeen: I totally get why Moraes is the favorite. He probably should be. But Assuncao is the kind of fighter who is really good at taking those favorites and shutting them down. And while he has looked a little more beatable lately, this is still a fighter who has only lost to Dillashaw in the past 8 years. EIGHT YEARS. I’m not ready to pick against him yet. Raphael Assuncao, Dec
Victor Rodriguez: Assunçao has a way of making fights work to his ebb and flow, using counters and negating takedowns, while keeping the fight at his range and using patient strikes and combinations to get the other guy dancing to his tune. Shouldn’t be that much different this time, and it should be just as close as it was the last time around. Marlon fights tactically and has great fight IQ, minimizing the damage he takes. That doesn’t mean that Raphael can’t find a way to stun him once or twice and take a decision here. Raphael Assunçao by decision.
Staff picking Assuncao: Fraser, Victor
Staff picking Moraes: Stephie, Harry, Mookie, Nick, Dayne
Jose Aldo vs. Renato Moicano
Mookie Alexander: I don’t think Moicano really fits the bill for “fighters who give Jose Aldo serious problems.” Yes, Moicano has really developed his striking to be quite formidable, such that he was able to drop Cub Swanson before choking him out. He also can set a pace that Aldo may be uncomfortable dealing with. However, Aldo is still a better striker than Moicano, and it is highly unlikely that Moicano can initiate any grappling and get the fight to the mat on his terms. This feels like a glorified kickboxing match with the occasional clinching and I definitely back Aldo to win under these circumstances. Jose Aldo by unanimous decision.
Victor Rodriguez: Holloway has looked invincible for a while and Aldo should be able to beat McGregor in a rematch. People are sleeping on Aldo because of his losses, but that Stephens fight showed that he’s still an amazing fighter that can hang with the top guys and put away almost all of them. Moicano’s got moxie, but he’s not ready for this. He’ll hang tough with the veteran, but there’s levels to this game. Aldo should pick him apart despite the reach disadvantage and athleticism, working body shots late and finishiing him in the third. Jose Aldo by TKO, round 3.
Staff picking Aldo: Stephie, Harry, Mookie, Nick, Dayne, Fraser, Victor
Staff picking Moicano:
Demian Maia vs. Lyman Good
Mookie Alexander: Ordinarily I’d pick Maia, especially since Good has not yet shown himself to be anywhere near the elite of the welterweight division, but it does feel like Maia is taking a fair bit more damage in his losses than in years past. Woodley dropped him, Usman dropped him, and Covington beat him up in the later rounds. Good is a powerful striker whose takedown defense may very well not hold up against someone who’s still a high-level offensive wrestler like Maia, but this is a “as long as he doesn’t get submitted, he wins” type of situation. I feel like Good can set a pace here that will exhaust Maia and force him into more desperate shots, and Lyman will recover from a slow start to get the W. Lyman Good by unanimous decision.
Fraser Coffeen: I honestly couldn’t even remember the last time Maia fought and had to look it up. Three fight losing streak, but those fights have certainly come against a significantly tougher level of opponent than Good. Still, he’s 41 years old, and it’s possible he comes out really showing that age. I don’t feel confident picking Maia at this point in his career, and against a better opponent, I wouldn’t. But if he can deal with Good’s offense and slow the fight down, he should be able to grind this out. Maybe. Demian Maia, decision
Victor Rodriguez: Good better do that work and spark Maia early here, or else he’s going to be on the wrong end of a grappling exhibition due to the cardio drain. Lyman doesn’t just look like a Puerto Rican superhero, he hits like one, too. Lyman Good by TKO.
Staff picking Maia: Harry, Nick, Dayne, Fraser
Staff picking Good: Stephie, Mookie, Victor
Charles Oliveira vs. David Teymur
Mookie Alexander: I’m actually leaning towards the minor upset here. Oliveira is certainly at his most dangerous in the opening round. He has underrated Muay Thai striking and an increasingly strong offensive wrestling game. However, when he doesn’t get the finish/the fight isn’t going his way, he historically just drifts out of fights and leaves himself open to getting finished himself. Teymur is a really good striker who cuts good angles and has shown vastly improved takedown defense. He might not be a prolific finisher, per se, but I actually like his chances here for as long as he can keep the fight standing. David Teymur by unanimous decision.
Victor Rodriguez: Oliveira not draining himself to get to 145 means he should be performing much better here, and has a lethal scramble approach to his submission game that Teymur may not be ready for. Teymur might crack Oliveira, but he won’t do it early. Oliveira starts to drift off in later rounds, and he should have it in the bag before then. Charles Oliveira by submission.
Staff picking Oliveira: Stephie, Harry, Dayne, Fraser, Victor
Staff picking Teymur: Mookie, Nick
Johnny Walker vs. Justin Ledet
Mookie Alexander: Ledet doesn’t seem athletic or dynamic enough to outwork Walker and comfortably outwrestle him, and it’s a decided advantage in Walker’s favor on the feet. Johnny Walker by KO, round 2.
Victor Rodriguez: Ledet’s striking doesn’t have as many layers or as much power as Walker’s. That and the fact that Ledet’s not nearly the same kind of athlete or grappler means he’s fighting an uphill battle here. Walker’s gonna bring down a giant Daffy Duck mallet here. Johnny Walker by KO.
Staff picking Walker: Stephie, Harry, Mookie, Nick, Dayne, Fraser, Victor
Staff picking Ledet:
Livia Renata Souza vs. Sarah Frota
Mookie Alexander: Sometimes fighters who miss weight by a billion pounds end up winning anyway (see: Mackenzie Dern). I’d like to think Souza is still a better fighter than Frota regardless of the weight disparity, though. Livia Renata Souza by unanimous decision.
Victor Rodriguez: I’m with Mookie here. Missing weight usually favors the person that didn’t make it, but Sarah looked rough, fam. That hardship ought to sap her much vaunted power, and it’ll be hard to look good against a fighter like Souza, with her athleticism and aggression. Livia Souza by submission.
Staff picking Souza: Harry, Mookie, Nick, Dayne, Fraser, Victor
Staff picking Frota: Stephie
Markus Perez vs. Anthony Hernandez
Victor Rodriguez: Hernandez, I guess? Flip a coin. Whatever. Anthony Hernandez.
Staff picking Perez:
Staff picking Hernandez: Harry, Mookie, Nick, Dayne, Fraser, Stephie, Victor
Thiago Alves vs. Max Griffin
Mookie Alexander: Alves is both shopworn and increasingly struggling to pull the trigger. Griffin is a full-time fighter now and while he did lose to Curtis Millender recently, he didn’t get knocked out, and he’s tough as nails. I love Thiago Alves but he’s likely to be outworked here. Max Griffin by unanimous decision.
Victor Rodriguez: Alves is great, but I can’t trust him. Griffin’s got smart striking, great wrestling and more consistent fight IQ. Sorry, Thiago. Max Griffin by decision.
Staff picking Alves: Harry, Fraser
Staff picking Griffin: Stephie, Mookie, Nick, Dayne, Victor
Mara Romero Borella vs. Talia Santos
Victor Rodriguez: Borella’s got a more complete Muay Thai base and more consistent output, plus she’s got a more well-rounded game with good ground defense. No disrespect to Santos or her previous opposition (yeah, you know where this is going), but she’s been facing a bunch of 0-0 and 0-1 fighters, so that undefeated record isn’t as impressive as it seems.. I haven’t seen much from Santos to indicate she’s ready for this kind of opponent, but you never know. Still gonna go with the smart money here. Mara Borella by decision.
Staff picking Borella: Harry, Mookie, Dayne, Fraser, Stephie, Victor
Staff picking Santos: Nick
Junior Albini vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik
Fraser Coffeen: Rozenstruik may not have a ton of MMA experience, but he’s a very good kickboxer, who holds a win over top ranked Glory fighter Benjamin Adegbuyi. Like many kickboxers making the transition, I worry about his ground game, but against Albini, that doesn’t concern me. Jaitzinho Rozenstruik, KO R1
Victor Rodriguez: No disrespect to the guy, but has Albini ever lifted weights? Like, what’s his training regimen like? I’m beginning to suspect he’s gotten this far along mostly with farm strength and minimal boxing training with takedown defense. Nothing wrong with that, dude is making the most of what he’s got, but I’m not seeing improvements fight to fight like one would expect from a guy that has potential. He’s not really in fighting shape and he’s mostly stagnant in his development, and that’s a major problem here. Jairzinho is… well… different. Don’t let the beer belly fool you, this cat is a more disciplined striker with good timing and a good chin. Albini might be getting bounced after this. Bigi Boi by TKO.
Staff picking Albini: Harry, Nick
Staff picking Rozenstruik: Mookie, Dayne, Fraser, Stephie, Victor
Ricardo Ramos vs. Said Nurmagomedov
Victor Rodriguez: Tough thing is whether or not Ramos will be able to stay upright long enough to do the damage he wants to do here. I think he does. Ricardo Ramos by TKO.
Staff picking Ramos: Mookie, Nick, Dayne, Fraser, Stephie, Victor
Staff picking Nurmagomedov: Harry
Rogério Bontorin vs. Magomed Bibulatov
Victor Rodriguez: Bibulatov still around? Well, damn. Might as well go with him. Sorry, Brazilian guy. Magomed Bibulatov by whatever.
Staff picking Bontorin:
Staff picking Bibulatov: Stephie, Harry, Mookie, Nick, Dayne, Fraser, Victor,
Geraldo de Freitas vs. Felipe Colares
Victor Rodriguez: Daddy’s flying blind on this one, and I’m gonna go with the guy that did the goofy taunts and antics at the weigh-ins like the guys on Maury taking paternity tests and doing their best Mortal Kombat poses. Felipe Corales by decision.
Staff picking de Freitas: Nick
Staff picking Colares: Harry, Mookie, Dayne, Fraser, Stephie, Victor
Who wins the UFC Fortaleza main event?
This poll is closed
Assuncao by stoppage
Moraes by stoppage
Assuncao by decision
Moraes by decision
New England Patriots
Los Angeles Rams