The Bloody Elbow team has made its picks for ‘UFC 255 - ‘FIGUEIREDO VS PEREZ’, and we are unanimous in our belief that Deiveson Figueiredo will defend his men’s flyweight title successfully against Alex Perez. Ditto for Valentina Shevchenko in her women’s flyweight title defense versus Jennifer Maia.
Anton Tabuena: I guess we can say that Perez has a far better chance at an upset than Maia... for whatever that is worth. Figueiredo’s scrambling and underrated ground game will probably be enough to nullify Perez’s strengths on the ground though, and on the feet, the champion will have a big edge in power too. I think Figueiredo will find a home for those big counters, and that will be the beginning of the end. Deiveson Figueiredo by TKO.
Mookie Alexander: Perez is a live dog. He has power in his own right and he has devastating leg kicks and pretty good wrestling. The problem I see is that Perez is quite hittable and there’s too much firepower coming back his way. Figueiredo is a stupidly accurate and heavy hitter who can win this fight standing and on the ground. If Figueiredo gets his timing down early then this is going to be a long and/or brutal night for Perez. Deiveson Figueiredo by TKO, round 2.
Zane Simon: If Perez can land low kicks early and turn Figueiredo’s entries into takedowns he has an avenue toward stealing this fight away. He strikes at a much higher rate than the champ and is a solid lockdown wrestler when he can get to it. But it’s the getting to it that concerns me. When Perez hasn’t been given easy opportunities to employ his newly minted kicking game lately, he still rushes in with blitzing strikes in straight lines with his head on center. Figueiredo’s knockdown rate is impossibly high, and he may just be one of the sharpest first strike counter punchers on the current UFC roster. Too much power, too much accuracy, and Perez is just too time-able. Deiveson Figueiredo via KO, round 1.
Staff picking Figueiredo: Zane, Anton, Dayne, Stephie, Mookie
Staff picking Perez:
Anton Tabuena: It’s hard to see any flyweight that actually has a legit chance for an upset so far, but Maia’s skill set doesn’t seem to particularly match up well against Shevchenko. I think this will be complete dominance. Again. Valentina Shevchenko by TKO.
Mookie Alexander: Blowout. Valentina Shevchenko by TKO, round 1.
Zane Simon: If there’s a path to victory here for Maia, I’m not sure what it is. Her recent improvements to her game have largely been focused on upping her boxing output and cleaning up her technique to get away from her classic swing-n-cling style. But, she’s still not a big range striking threat, and can still be taken down off reactive shots in open space. To beat Shevchenko, Maia will most likely have to rely on stepping into the pocket to create boxing exchanges. When she does that, she’ll be met by power counters and quick reactive takedowns. On the plus side, Maia is probably tough enough to take most of the punishment Shevchenko dishes out. But, I’m betting that somewhere late she’ll just get overwhelmed. Valentina Shevchenko via TKO, round 4.
Staff picking Shevchenko: Zane, Anton, Dayne, Mookie, Stephie
Staff picking Maia:
Mike Perry vs. Tim Means
Mookie Alexander: Honestly I wonder if Perry is going to approach this fight in the same way he approached this weight cut… which is to say he’s going to fight like an absolute idiot and if he doesn’t get the KO he’s going to look exhausted and Means stops him. Tim Means by TKO, round 2.
Zane Simon: This fight will probably be fun, but I don’t like it. Tim Means has always been typified by his scrappiness and durability, but lately that durability has come into real question, at least against big power punchers (of which Mike Perry is one). However, for Perry, his recent performances have felt like a slow & steady slide away from the nuts and bolts power-striking that made him an immediate sensation and into a more formless “guy that does everything but nothing that well” opponent. Most notably, against Mickey Gall, reports that he hadn’t been sparring at all really showed up. His striking game looked flat and listless. He still snuck out the win with a wrestle-grappling top game. He might do that against Means too, which would feel especially sad. But, I’m going to bank on Perry’s continued lack of KO finishes (none since 2017) and Means’ much greater comfort and skill than a fighter like Gall standing to pick the ‘Dirty Bird’ up a hard fought decision. Tim Means by decision.
Staff picking Perry: Dayne
Staff picking Means: Zane, Anton, Mookie, Stephie
Katlyn Chookagian vs. Cynthia Calvillo
Mookie Alexander: I’m still not totally sold on Calvillo but she did show some improvements with her striking against Jessica Eye, and it’s evident that her wrestling is effective up a weight class. Chookagian is just going to be physically overmatched. Cynthia Calvillo by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: Chookagian has been looking for ways to augment her volume striking game with clinch and wrestling offense lately, and I’m just not convinced that’s going to serve her all that well, considering that she’s just not a very formidable physical specimen. If opponents can take her down and out-grapple her, it seems like a better focus in distance footwork and power striking from range would serve her more. But, I feel like the Shevchenko loss may have pushed her away from that game. Calvillo is very willing to get caught up in a volume boxing battle the likes of which Chookagian can absolutely win. But I think she’ll just get too many chances to show off her wrestling and grappling chops. Cynthia Calvillo by decision.
Staff picking Chookagian:
Staff picking Calvillo: Zane, Anton, Mookie, Dayne, Stephie
Mauricio Rua vs. Paul Craig
Anton Tabuena: Shogun barely won against a much slower and equally shopworn Lil’ Nog, so this fight really worries me. I don’t think Shogun wins, so I’m just hoping he doesn’t get badly hurt. Paul Craig by decision.
Mookie Alexander: It does not feel like Shogun has won 5 of his last 7. I shouldn’t keep picking against him because of this. But no, it’s 2020 and while Craig is likely to end his career with a host of KO losses, I feel like Craig might depress us all with a club-and-sub. Paul Craig by submission, round 1.
Zane Simon: As long as Rua isn’t getting KO’d early, he still finds ways to assert his skill and keep himself in fights. That gives him a solid chance of winning this bout, since Craig is hardly LHW’s biggest knockout threat. Still, though, the story of their first bout was very much one of how much faster and more dangerous Craig looked, while giving up some awful positions through simple wrestling defense mistakes. Craig should have a lot easier time adjusting to Rua than Rua to him. Paul Craig by decision.
Staff picking Rua:
Staff picking Craig: Zane, Anton, Mookie, Dayne, Stephie
Brandon Royval vs. Brandon Moreno
Anton Tabuena: This is going to be fun, and could be another crazy back and forth scramblefest. Honestly, it should’ve been in the main card, but we all know how the UFC views its flyweight division. Royval has been so entertaining, but I think Moreno’s game is a tad bit tighter and more polished. Brandon Moreno by decision.
Mookie Alexander: I am essentially gambling on Royval getting a sub early knowing full well he’s likely to be at a skill disadvantage and a cardio disadvantage against Moreno. The scrambles for this are going to be insane and I think Royval can win them. Brandon Royval by submission, round 1.
Zane Simon: Royval is going to feel like the reasonable dog in every one of his UFC bouts until he finally loses badly or wins a belt. Against Moreno, he’s facing someone that can really compete with him at range, but who (unlike Elliott) is also a cleaner, more technical boxer from outside. Add in that Moreno’s only ever been subbed by Alexandre Pantoja in an exhibition bout and Royval is going to have a real rough time making hay with his hail mary club-n-sub arsenal. I expect some wild scrambles, I expect some hard shots from Royval to test Moreno’s chin, but as long as Moreno keeps things competitive, he should be the cleaner, more technical striker who can pull out the rounds. Brandon Moreno by decision.
Staff picking Royval: Mookie, Dayne
Staff picking Moreno: Zane, Anton, Stephie
Joaquin Buckley vs. Jordan Wright
Anton Tabuena: People say it’s impossible to top that instant classic of a KO, but there’s always a chance this ends up with Joaquin Buckly by off-the-cage cartwheel kick KO
Zane Simon: Wright is dangerous, but his style doesn’t have much depth. A sort of Machida-esque karateka, but without the same command of range or defense. Buckley will give Wright some opportunities to land big counters, but as long as Buckley’s chin holds, I expect he’ll be able to get Wright frustrated and tired with continuous pressure and busy exchanges. Once Wright starts flagging, Buckley may start really hurting him. Joaquin Buckley via TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Buckley: Zane, Anton, Mookie, Dayne, Stephie
Staff picking Wright:
Antonina Shevchenko vs. Ariane Lipski
Zane Simon: I dunno? Lipski is more confident and powerful and aggressive. But she’s kind of all those things to a fault too. Along with the age gap, it seems safer to bet that Lipski will just trade wild shots with Shevchenko until she hurts her. But she might also take her down and get instantly swept and subbed. Lipski’s ground game is not at all focused on retaining positions, even someone as bad on the mats as Shevchenko might take advantage. Still, I can’t bank on that. So I guess I’ll go Ariane Lipski by decision.
Staff picking Shevchenko: Anton
Staff picking Lipski: Zane, Mookie, Dayne, Stephie
Daniel Rodriguez vs. Nicolas Dalby
Zane Simon: I really want to pick Dalby here. His redemption arc is a great piece of classic combat sports narrative. But the way he got dropped by Jesse Ronson is nothing less than concerning. Now well into his 30s, Dalby has prided himself on being a guy who can go to war with anyone and push the pace. Rodriguez, however, is proving that as a power brawler, he can match a brutal output and carry fight ending power into every round. If he can do that, will Dalby really be able to steal momentum away? Not if he’s getting hurt like he did in his last fight. The X-factor is Dalby’s wrestling, which sometimes shows up as a great reactive skill to change fights, and other times seems to hardly factor at all. Daniel Rodriguez via KO, round 1.
Staff picking Rodriguez: Zane, Anton, Mookie, Dayne, Stephie
Staff picking Dalby:
Alan Jouban vs. Jared Gooden
Zane Simon: At one point this would be an easy Jouban pick. He’s clearly been more technical, more dangerous, and more diverse than Gooden in his prime. But running up on 40 and fighting much less often, the current version of Jouban seems more hurtable and less confident in his skill than ever. I’m still picking him, just because Gooden is so stiff in his delivery and predictable in his plodding, walk forward style. But, this could easily look like that Dwight Grant fight too. Alan Jouban by Decision.
Staff picking Jouban: Zane, Anton, Mookie, Stephie
Staff picking Gooden: Dayne
Kyle Daukaus vs. Dustin Stoltzfus
Zane Simon: Daukaus seems like the busier, faster striker. I also don’t really trust Stoltzfus’ wrestling/grappling game coming off the regional German circuit (even if it served him well momentarily on DWCS). X factor could be if Stoltzfus is just too athletic for Daukaus to hang with him, but I think Daukaus’ pace and pressure will pay off. Kyle Daukaus by decision.
Staff picking Daukaus: Zane, Anton, Mookie, Dayne, Stephie
Staff picking Stoltzfus:
Louis Cosce vs. Sasha Palatnikov
Zane Simon: To look at Palatnikov’s record on paper you’d think he might not be prepared for the UFC. To see him on film, that seems like a fair assessment. He’s got a flashy style built on big athletic moves when standing. And then resorts to grinding clinch and grappling work when those don’t pay off in quick KOs. Unfortunately, at least from what little I could see, that grappling also seems to make him pretty tired. Cosce is a nuts and bolts wrestle-boxer, but I think if he just forces a hard fight with Palatnikov things will turn out pretty well for him by round 2. Louis Cosce via TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Cosce: Zane, Anton, Mookie, Dayne, Stephie
Staff picking Palatnikov:
This poll is closed
Figueiredo and Shevchenko
Figueiredo and Maia
Perez and Shevchenko
Perez and Maia