The Bloody Elbow staff has made its predictions for UFC Greenville, and everyone except Tim Burke is picking Renato Moicano to beat “The Korean Zombie” in the main event. As for the co-main event (promoted last-minute after John Lineker-Rob Font was scratched), it’s a clean sweep for Bryan Barberena over Randy Brown.
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.
Renato Moicano vs. Chan Sung Jung
Mookie Alexander: Korean Zombie is a lethal finisher and it’s hard to ignore that. He theoretically can catch Moicano the same way Jose Aldo did, or rock and submit him with a d’arce choke. But I don’t think he has the footwork or Aldo’s craft to make that work. I can also envision Moicano just lighting up TKZ with vicious leg kicks and staying on the outside. I’d favor TKZ if this becomes a war but Moicano is capable of shutting that route down. If not… well I should’ve listened to Dallas Winston. Renato Moicano by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: I feel like Moicano’s footwork moving backwards is just a little too slick for TKZ to catch him all fight. But, Moicano tends to start slow and get clipped up early. If Korean Zombie can start fast and make this a war from the outset, he could put Moicano in a position he can’t easily come back from. Or maybe he can just pull an Aldo and get Moicano’s timing and catch him with hard shots after that slow start. Still, TKZ ain’t Aldo and I’ve seen Moicano fight the smart safe fight against Jeremy Stephens before. Renato Moicano via decision.
Staff picking Moicano: Phil, Nick, Mookie, Stephie, Ed, Dayne, Zane
Staff picking TKZ: Tim
Bryan Barberena vs. Randy Brown
Mookie Alexander: Barberena is tough, durable, has a hell of a gas tank, and I’ve not seen a whole lot in Randy Brown’s game to suggest that he’s able to beat the gatekeepers of welterweight. Brown has several physical advantages in this fight but I don’t think he’s the more skilled. Bryan Barberena by TKO, round 3.
Zane Simon: Brown is more dynamic and powerful in his strengths, but it also feels like he has a lot more glaring weaknesses. We’ve seen him picked apart by leg kicks, we’ve seen him KO’d by a fighter off his back, we’ve seen him out-wrestled and out-grappled. Barberena gets hit a lot, but he’s unfathomably tough and if opponents can’t control him physically all fight, he tends to just get better as the fight goes on. Brown will likely have shining moments, but I’ll take Barberena to ramp up the pace round after round and take the decision. Bryan Barberena by decision.
Staff picking Barberena: Phil, Nick, Mookie, Tim, Stephie, Ed, Dayne, Zane
Staff picking Brown:
Andrea Lee vs. Montana De La Rosa
Mookie Alexander: It really comes down to which fighter gets what they want. Lee’s measured, accurate, and effective striking is better than De La Rosa, but De La Rosa is the more dangerous, aggressive fighter who can absolutely submit KGB and a lot of other fighters at 125. I’ll take my chances on Lee keeping this on the feet and surviving any moments of danger on the ground. Andrea Lee by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: Lee is the more technical, varied striker, but she’s also likely the slower fighter and often has to depend on her wrestling and top game to keep rounds in control. De La Rosa is fast, aggressive straight out of the gate, and a really slick scrambler and aggressive grappler. If she just can’t get Lee down and control the action there, then there’s a solid chance Lee edges her out in a pure kickboxing battle. But, even if Lee takes De La Rosa down, I feel like De La Rosa can create the kind of scrambles that Lee won’t be able to keep up with. Montana De La Rosa by submission, round 2.
Staff picking Lee: Phil, Nick, Mookie, Stephie, Ed, Dayne
Staff picking De La Rosa: Tim, Zane
Alessio Di Chirico vs. Kevin Holland
Mookie Alexander: Phil’s personal main event. It’s going to be weird, nonsensical, and the type of trainwreck MMA that you either love or hate. Kevin Holland by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: There’s a chance that Di Chirico’s safe, power basics style is enough to just keep calm in the middle of Holland’s wild unpredictability. But Holland has so many more flashes of dangerous, potentially fight ending offense, and the ability to create prolonged combination striking exchanges in the pocket in a way that Di Chirico has never really looked all that comfortable with. Holland is likely to give up top position a couple times, and likely to get cracked hard a couple times, but I think he’ll be the one producing the more dramatic, aggressive sequences round to round. Kevin Holland by decision.
Phil Mackenzie: Much as I love Kevin Holland (a lot) there has to be a point at which the sheer strategic aimlessness of his style catches up to him. On the other hand, however, Di Chirico is a meat’n’potatoes kickboxer who was proven to be both less meaty and... starchy I guess than Bojan Velickovic. Holland shows sparks of being a genuinely dangerous combination puncher and Di Chirico is mostly just kind of there. He’s certainly not bad, but he’s not a dynamic threat anywhere either. Kevin Holland by unanimous decision.
Staff picking Di Chirico:
Staff picking Holland: Phil, Nick, Mookie, Tim, Stephie, Ed, Dayne, Zane
Andre Ewell vs. Anderson dos Santos
Mookie Alexander: It’s not crazy to think that AdS won’t just take this to the ground knowing Ewell has serious deficiencies off his back. Even acknowledging his win over washed Renan Barao, he’s still largely a can crusher, and Anderson dos Santos is one of the greatest hybrid MMA fighters of all-time. He’s that combination of Corey Anderson and Geronimo dos Santos. That’s good, right? Anderson dos Santos by submission, round 2.
Zane Simon: Ewell is a much cleaner, slicker puncher from range. And that could be enough to KO dos Santos, who has been put out early a few times before and is a complete defensive sieve. However, dos Santos is also likely a bit better everywhere else this fight goes than Ewell. He’s notably willing to wrestle and grapple when he feels the need, and even has a sub win over Ricky Simon to show for it. Ewell’s game feels just too limited to trust over reasonably experienced, well rounded competition. But, I won’t be surprised if he puts dos Santos away early. Anderson dos Santos by decision.
Phil Mackenzie: Like a few fighters on this card (Randy Brown, Kevin Holland), Ewell shows flashes of brilliance marred by wide swathes of inconsistency. His ability to fight off Renan Barao’s TDs was clearly a marker of how incredibly washed Barao is, and I can’t trust him to stay off his back against a man who combines the defensive footwork of Junior dos Santos with the endless overwhelming aggression of Anderson Silva. Anderson dos Santos by unanimous decision.
Staff picking Ewell: Nick, Ed
Staff picking dos Santos: Mookie, Tim, Stephie, Dayne, Zane
Dan Ige vs. Kevin Aguilar
Zane Simon: Ige is almost certainly going to look fantastic immediately out of the gate, and might put Aguilar in serious trouble in the first round. However, Ige’s relentless aggression tends to leave him badly gassed after the opening minutes. And Aguilar has shown himself to be a composed, consistent counter-puncher with decent takedown defense and some solid power in his hands. That seems likely to serve him much better than Ige down the stretch. Kevin Aguilar by decision.
Phil Mackenzie: Seems like a rough style matchup for Ige. He’s a slightly undersized but endlessly aggressive wrestler, and Aguilar is a huge, physically imposing counterpuncher. Hard not to see Ige coming forward onto a big left hook repeatedly. Kevin Aguilar by TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Ige: Tim
Staff picking Aguilar: Phil, Nick, Mookie, Stephie, Ed, Dayne, Zane
Ashley Yoder vs. Syuri Kondo
Zane Simon: There’s a very good chance that Kondo’s dedication to interconnecting volume gives her the edge on Yoder in a pure points kickboxing battle. But, I feel like Yoder is the cleaner puncher and the better more aggressive grappler, even if she doesn’t have a great wrestling game to get her there. If Kondo is going to try and keep walking in on her and can’t do serious damage, I think Yoder can take advantage of those opportunities to either land big strikes or create scrambling exchanges she can win. But, this could be a really ugly fight if neither woman feels comfortable leading. Ashley Yoder by decision.
Staff picking Yoder: Nick, Mookie, Tim, Stephie, Zane, Phil
Staff picking Kondo: Ed, Dayne
Luis Pena vs. Matt Wiman
Mookie Alexander: Wiman took a long time off to heal his body. Four years is still four years and I just can’t get past that. I’m not particularly high on Pena’s ceiling but he should be the more athletic, dangerous fighter at their respective points in their careers. Luis Pena by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: Wiman certainly could win this fight. Pena’s game is marked more by its potential than its depth or consistency. He tends to give up dominant grappling positions in hopes of winning scrambles. His passivity at range takes a lot of the advantage out of his length. And his clinch aggression is marred by some poor takedown defense. Wiman is a battle tested veteran. If he can get Pena scrambling with him, he just might catch him in a sub. Otherwise, however, Pena’s relative youth, speed, size, and dynamic offense are a lot of advantages stacked against a guy who has always been more about aggression and heart than athletic gifts. Luis Pena by TKO, Round 2.
Phil Mackenzie: Wiman has been out for a minute, and even when he was in his prime, he wasn’t a top-shelf threat. I’d probably take him in his prime over Pena, who has yet to really figure out what he’s doing apart from clinch offense. I can’t trust him to still be there after this long away, however. Luis Pena by TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Pena: Phil, Nick, Mookie, Stephie, Dayne, Zane
Staff picking Wiman: Tim, Ed
Allen Crowder vs. Jair Rozenstruik
Mookie Alexander: It’d be pretty funny if Crowder got another DQ win. Probably not happening, though. Jair Rozenstruik by KO, round 1.
Zane Simon: Crowder isn’t a comfortable wrestler or grappler and mostly likes to brawl and hang his chin out. Rozenstruik may be porous on the mats, but he’s the much more experienced, better striker standing. Jair Rozenstruik by KO, round 1.
Staff picking Crowder: Tim
Staff picking Rozenstruik: Nick, Mookie, Stephie, Ed, Dayne, Zane, Phil
Molly McCann vs. Ariane Lipski
Zane Simon: McCann is gutsy as hell and fun in the pocket. But she barely scraped by Priscila Cachoeira just due the size, power, and consistency coming back at her. Take all that and add some real technical striking to it and it seems like Lipski will likely be too tough a task for McCann. Ariane Lipski by decision.
Staff picking McCann:
Staff picking Lipski: Nick, Mookie, Tim, Stephie, Ed, Dayne, Zane, Phil
Deron Winn vs. Eric Spicely
Mookie Alexander: Good to see Spicely back in the UFC but it’ll be hard for him to get the Winn here. Deron Winn by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: There’s honestly a really good chance Spicely subs Winn here. Winn is tiny for the division, an aggressive power wrestler, and just not very experienced at all. Spicely isn’t his physical match in any way, shape, or form, but he’s a consistently aggressive submission hunter and sometimes that can be enough. I’m still picking Winn here. He’s just too many athletic levels above Spicely for me to trust. But top prospects have a long history of walking into weird submission losses early in their careers in this sport. If it happens to Winn, he’d hardly be the first. Deron Winn by TKO, round 1.
Staff picking Winn: Nick, Mookie, Tim, Stephie, Ed, Dayne, Zane, Phil
Staff picking Spicely:
Who holds their hand up at UFC Greenville?
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The Korean Zombie