The BE team has made its picks for UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Aldana, and we’re split on the winner between Holly Holm and Irene Aldana in the main event. It’s a clean sweep in the co-main between heavyweights Yorgan de Castro and Carlos Felipe, whereas it’s also split on Germaine de Randamie vs. Julianna Pena.
Holly Holm vs. Irene Aldana
Mookie Alexander: Aldana should be able to win this. Her boxing is really smooth when she puts her combinations together and I love her jab. She throws a much higher volume of strikes than Holm. And yet… I think she might lose this anyway. Aldana is still not too far removed from losing an ugly-ish fight to Raquel Pennington and if nothing else, Holm knows how to win rounds through a lot of clinch control and the occasional counterpunch. My heart wants Aldana to win, but my head says we are not allowed meaningful movement in the bantamweight division. Holly Holm by split decision.
Zane Simon: At the elite levels, the return on Holly Holm’s low-output, high-control strike & clinch game hasn’t paid all that great of dividends. She squeaked by Raquel Pennington recently, but it was a pretty narrow thing. Even Germaine de Randamie, with her own abysmally low pace, was able to outwork her on the feet. That’s really the reason I’m picking Aldana here. She’s not very good at commanding range, and she’s still a bit too predictable on her rhythms, so there’s every chance that Holm can go from the 1-2 to the clinch and hold her on the cage for prolonged stretches. But, she’s also more than twice as active standing. Irene Aldana via decision.
Phil Mackenzie: Holly Holm was not an action machine when she first came to the UFC, but the fighter she’s been since the Cyborg fight is a straight up chore to watch. She robbed Raquel Pennington in one of the worst fights I’ve ever seen via aimless cage control. Aldana is violent and physical, but Holm has managed to pull terrible fights (which idiots thought she won) out of fighters who were more violent and physical than Aldana before. Holly Holm by unanimous decision.
Staff picking Holm: Phil, Mookie
Staff picking Aldana: Zane, Stephie
Yorgan de Castro vs. Carlos Felipe
Mookie Alexander: Exactly what is so compelling about this fight that the UFC made this the co-main event? Yorgan de Castro by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: De Castro seems a lot more likely to get a KO. Even if he doesn’t, he’s just a much cleaner technician. That’s probably enough to carry him for 3 ugly rounds if it has to. Yorgan de Castro by decision.
Staff picking De Castro: Zane, Stephie, Phil, Mookie
Staff picking Felipe:
Germaine de Randamie vs. Julianna Pena
Mookie Alexander: This is clearly the best fight on the card and I include the main event on here. I’d argue it’s also the hardest fight to pick because while Pena has the exact skillset that has troubled de Randamie in the past, GdR represents a serious threat to Pena on the feet. Germaine’s takedown defense has improved but obviously not to the point where she can do a damn thing against Amanda Nunes. She is the much better striker at range and in the clinch, but Pena is strong in the clinch and can toss her down that way. This is a toss-up stylistic clash and I think I’ll stick with GdR here. If Pena’s wrestling is on point early then this fight is over, but if not... Germaine de Randamie by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: I really hate picking fights like this one. As far as I can see, the broad strokes of this fight mostly favor Pena. She’s more active (although not by much), has a good takedown game, to the point that she even put Shevchenko on her back, and is fairly persistent in following her style every time out. On the flip side, De Randamie’s takedown-D and guard grappling are still both pretty bad. And while she’s an infinitely better striker, she rarely pushes the pace enough to make that fact truly impactful. However, the minutia favor De Randamie just as heavily as the bigger picture favors Pena. Pena’s upper-body clinch & trip game is probably the worst way to get De Randamie to the mat, even if she’s better at it than most. And De Randamie really is a much better technician. It’s possible she just does to her exactly what she did to Ladd in a similar styled matchup. Still, I’m not willing to bank on GDR KO artist. And if I can’t do that, I think she’ll get taken down sooner or later, and then probably lose. Julianna Pena by decision... I guess.
Phil Mackenzie: When she puts her mind to it, Pena is a physically dominant takedown threat of the kind that de Randamie has rarely fought in the UFC. The main balancing factor is size - Pena is not a large 135er, and de Randamie is a 135/145 tweener. That being said, de Randamie just doesn’t put the kind of consistent pace that I’d want to see from someone who’s likely going to spend significant portions of the fight stuck up against the cage or on the mat, especially given that this is three rounds. Julianna Pena by unanimous decision.
Staff picking de Randamie: Stephie, Mookie
Staff picking Pena: Zane, Phil
Kyler Phillips vs. Cameron Else
Mookie Alexander: Cameron better finish Phillips early, or Else… Kyler Phillips by TKO, round 2.
Zane Simon: Else seems like a pure glass cannon. I’m almost sure he’ll land a big shot or two on Phillips early in round 1, but if he doesn’t finish the fight right then and there, his history suggests he’ll implode in a hurry. Phillips is still raw in his own ways, but he’s a much more relaxed and natural fighter in every situation. Kyler Phillips via TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Phillips: Zane, Stephie, Phil, Mookie
Staff picking Else:
Dequan Townsend vs. Dusko Todorovic
Mookie Alexander: Townsend seems easy to root for and he’s endured a lot in his life, but he really doesn’t look like he’s got the physicality or athleticism to stay in the UFC. Dusko Todorovic by TKO, round 2.
Zane Simon: Todorovic’s DWCS fight was pretty damn ugly. But he seems strong enough and willing to grind when he has to. Townsend just isn’t a good athlete, and seems like he’s got it in his head that single bursts of dynamic offense are the best tool he has. Dusko Todorovic by decision.
Staff picking Townsend:
Staff picking Todorovic: Zane, Stephie, Phil, Mookie
Carlos Condit vs. Court McGee
Mookie Alexander: Sadness. Court McGee by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: McGee is actually probably the least dangerous fighter Condit has faced in... at least a decade if not a lot more. And that may make this a perfect fight for Condit to revive some of his past form. A willing and engaged striker that just doesn’t have the firepower to really trouble him. But, as we’ve seen with too many fighters who reach the latter stages of their careers, it often doesn’t take that much to drive them back into inactivity. And lately, Condit has been pretty inactive in the cage. McGee hasn’t been winning that much lately, but he still fights with the same energy he had 10 years ago. Can’t say the same for the NBK. Court McGee by decision.
Phil Mackenzie: McGee tends to try for an absolute ton of takedowns that he doesn’t complete and there’s a really worrying chance that this is the fight where he actually gets them? Carlos never met a takedown he didn’t immediately succumb to. Even if McGee doesn’t get them, as Zane pointed out, he still keeps exactly the pace that he used to and Condit just doesn’t. Court McGee by unanimous decision.
Staff picking Condit:
Staff picking McGee: Zane, Stephie, Phil, Mookie
Rest of the card
Charles Jourdain vs. Josh Culibao
Staff picking Jourdain: Zane, Stephie, Phil, Mookie
Staff picking Culibao:
Jordan Williams vs. Nassourdine Imavov
Staff picking Williams: Stephie, Phil, Mookie
Staff picking Imavov: Zane
Loma Lookboonmee vs. Jinh Yu Frey
Staff picking Loma: Zane, Stephie, Phil, Mookie
Staff picking Frey:
Casey Kenney vs. Heili Alateng
Staff picking Kenney: Zane, Stephie, Phil, Mookie
Staff picking Alateng:
Jessin Ayari vs. Luigi Vendramini
Staff picking Ayari: Zane, Stephie, Phil, Mookie
Staff picking Vendramini:
This poll is closed