The Bloody Elbow team has made its picks for UFC 256 and watch out, because we unanimously picked Deiveson Figueiredo over Brandon Moreno in the main event. Likewise for Tony Ferguson over Charles Oliveira in the co-main, except for Lewis. Consider this a sign that Moreno is about to be a champ and Oliveira will get that signature win he’s been looking for.
Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno
Mookie Alexander: Moreno is a serious live dog here and because everyone on BE picked him, he has the win in the bag. His striking has gotten so much better over the years and if there’s anyone (other than Formiga) who could potentially outscramble and outgrapple Figueiredo, it could be The Assassin Baby. As much as I’ve praised Moreno’s striking, Figueiredo still packs a wallop and is more technical and varied in his game. His strength is also ridiculous for a flyweight and it’s not as if Moreno’s takedown defense is impenetrable either. I expect this to be a back-and-forth thriller but Figueiredo will be able to outpoint Moreno in key moments of the contest to get the win on the scorecards. Deiveson Figueiredo by unanimous decision.
Staff picking Figueiredo: Mookie, Phil, Dayne, Stephie, Lewis
Staff picking Moreno:
Tony Ferguson vs. Charles Oliveira
Mookie Alexander: I was tempted to pick Oliveira and in fact I’m still a little bit nervous about how Ferguson will look after taking the beating of his life against Justin Gaethje. But Oliveira really has one round to win this. Historically he has crumbled under constant pressure and when his grappling and active guard don’t work. This is still going to be a fight with a high probability of chaos, and there are few people in this world who can handle that chaos that Tony Ferguson delivers. Oliveira’s striking has no doubt improved and his guillotine remains as deadly as ever, but I think Ferguson will be privy to that and just work him in the clinch and at range. Tony Ferguson by TKO, round 3.
Dayne Fox (from preview): I’ve waffled badly on this contest. Ferguson turns 37 in February, placing him at an age when most lightweights are on the backside of their careers. It’s not like his fighting style has been one that promotes longevity either. But at the same time, it feels like there have been several occasions for Oliveira to have his breakout moment… only for him to falter. Oliveira benefits from this being a three round contest, but I still have to go with Ferguson as I can’t ignore Oliveira’s history of falling to pressure. Ferguson via TKO of RD3
Staff picking Ferguson: Mookie, Phil, Dayne, Stephie
Staff picking Oliveira: Lewis
Mackenzie Dern vs. Virna Jandiroba
Mookie Alexander: These are two outstanding grapplers but as long as Dern doesn’t fall in love with her incredibly wild striking, we should avoid the dreaded “two BJJ or wrestling standouts kickbox for 15 minutes” curse and get a fascinating matchup on the ground. I back Dern’s strength and athleticism to get her through this one against Jandiroba. Mackenzie Dern by unanimous decision.
Dayne Fox (from preview): There will be zero surprise if Dern is able to pick up what would effectively be a breakout win. She’s physically superior in every way and does appear more focused than she was in the early stages of her career. I still favor Jandiroba. Dern is still extremely sloppy on the feet, enough so that Jandiroba could capitalize on that to edge out a point contest should they neutralize each other on the mat. Throw in the fact that if anyone is capable of capitalizing on the slightest of Dern’s mistakes on the mat, it would be Jandiroba. I’m going with the veteran to edge this one out. Jandiroba via decision
Staff picking Dern: Mookie, Phil, Stephie, Lewis
Staff picking Janidroba: Dayne
Kevin Holland vs. Ronaldo Souza
Mookie Alexander: I am relying heavily on Jacare’s ability to still wrestle and not try and kickbox with Holland. If he does the latter then I reckon he’ll be KO’d or at least badly hurt. Holland’s takedown defense is still very much a question mark and throughout this winning streak he hasn’t exactly been tested by dangerous wrestlers/grapplers. That Brendan Allen loss was only a year ago and while I think Holland has improved and has a clear chance to win, he might find himself in hell when dealing with Jacare’s grappling. Ronaldo Souza by submission, round 2.
Dayne Fox (from preview): Should the fight hit the mat, Holland is undoubtedly creative and has gotten himself out of some sticky situations. He’s also worked himself into being finished. He does appear to have grown more disciplined over the course of his UFC career, but he also hasn’t faced anyone who would be labeled a ground threat since his submission loss to Brendan Allen. It’s hard to believe he can survive with the Brazilian on the mat. Holland has the physical tools to stay on the outside and pick apart a slower Jacare, but his tendency for mental errors is something he can’t afford to make. The most likely outcome has Jacare getting his first submission win since early 2017. Jacare via submission of RD1
Staff picking Holland: Stephie
Staff picking Jacare: Mookie, Phil, Dayne, Lewis
Junior dos Santos vs. Ciryl Gane
Mookie Alexander: It’s not that I believe JDS is physically shot; he’s always fighting in good physical shape and his offense has not really eroded all that much. His chin, defense, and his never-ending love of fighting with his back against the fence? They’re all gone at this point. Gane ain’t a murderous puncher like Ngannou or Rozenstruik but this might be one where volume of shots does JDS in. Ciryl Gane by TKO, round 2.
Dayne Fox (from preview): The problem with picking this contest is the question of the ground game. Though we’ve seen very little of it, it has been constantly suggested that JDS has a very good ground game. Gane, though he has secured a couple of submissions against lesser competition, is still thought to be very raw. Despite that, I still favor Gane as JDS has had several contests over the years where it would be advisable for him to go to the mat and he never does. There’s no reason to believe it would change at this point. JDS doesn’t have the swagger in the pocket anymore that made him a champion in the past and Gane is skilled enough on the feet to outpoint the vet… if he doesn’t KO him first. Gane via decision
Staff picking JDS:
Staff picking Gane: Mookie, Phil, Dayne, Stephie, Lewis
Cub Swanson vs. Daniel Pineda
Mookie Alexander: This would’ve been a fight I’d have comfortably picked Swanson a couple of years ago even during his losing streak. But even after his win over Kron Gracie, there’s some hesitance for me because… it was a kickboxing match with a Gracie. Swanson looked good and I love watching the dude fight but I repeat, it’s a kickboxing match with a Gracie. On the flip side, Pineda blew me away with how badly he thrashed Herbert Burns, and I certainly underestimated him even after his (asterisk-laden) PFL run. Swanson hasn’t finished anyone in seven years and while I expect his durability to hold up, Pineda’s special type of fearlessness has me thinking Swanson is going to get caught with something on the ground and that’ll be that. Daniel Pineda by submission, round 3.
Dayne Fox (from preview): Pineda has been on the best run of his career as he’s found a way to maximize his efficiency in his risks. For instance, he had no problem taking the fight to the mat with Herbert Burns, raining down a healthy amount of GnP on the BJJ ace with just enough awareness of Burns’ guard to avoid trouble. Swanson might be durable enough to withstand Pineda’s onslaught, but it’s hard to say he has the killer instinct he once possessed, having last secured a finish over seven years ago. Plus, his tendency to leave his hands low is the type of thing Pineda specializes in capitalizing on. Like I said, doubting Swanson is never wise, but Pineda has momentum on his side and Swanson doesn’t. Pineda via submission of RD2
Staff picking Swanson:
Staff picking Pineda: Mookie, Phil, Dayne, Stephie
Renato Moicano vs. Rafael Fiziev
Mookie Alexander: Real crummy for these dudes to get bumped off the main card because too many prelims got cancelled. I’m fascinated by this fight because Moicano is a damn good striker but Fiziev’s kicks are so damn strong and he is the more powerful fighter. If this fight goes to the ground then things become quite interesting because Moicano does some brilliant things on the mat. That said, I don’t really trust his chin to hold up against Fiziev’s striking. Rafael Fiziev by TKO, round 2.
Dayne Fox (from preview): Of course, the biggest question with Fiziev is what will happen if he ends up on the mat. He has yet to be tested against any decent competition, but it’s hard to believe he’d be able to more than just merely survive, and even that may be a stretch. Moicano isn’t a great wrestler, though he has been effective in securing takedowns when he looks to complete him. Given Moicano’s ability to make reads and adjustments – and underrated part of him – I think he’ll eventually get Fiziev where he wants him, though it’s hardly a guarantee. Moicano via submission of RD2
Staff picking Moicano: Dayne
Staff picking Fiziev: Phil, Mookie, Stephie
Tecia Torres vs. Sam Hughes
Dayne Fox (from preview): Hughes is a thoughtful striker, sometimes too thoughtful, struggling to put together more than two strikes at a time. Despite that, she does have a chance to pull off the upset as she is physically stout and consistent with her pressure… the types of things that gives Torres issues. However, she’s also incredibly inexperienced, with only six fights on her ledger and never having faced an opponent with more than five contests of their own when she fought them. Torres is a HUGE step up in competition, especially on short notice. This is Torres’ fight to lose. Torres via decision
Staff picking Torres: Mookie, Phil, Dayne, Stephie
Staff picking Hughes:
Gavin Tucker vs. Billy Quarantillo
Dayne Fox (from preview): Much like Tucker, Quarantillo continues to show growth in his performances, displaying improved striking technique and power in his most recent contest. Of course, his bread and butter is still his grappling and scrambling. Quarantillo has faced the better competition, has more experience, and is younger. Regardless of who gets their hand raised, it should be a fun fight. Quarantillo via decision
Staff picking Tucker:
Staff picking Quarantillo: Mookie, Phil, Dayne, Stephie
Chase Hooper vs. Peter Barrett
Dayne Fox (from preview): There’s no quit in Barrett, but it’s hard to find many positive physical characteristics in him. He is a fairly old school fighter who does a lot of fighting against the cage… at least when he’s pressing the action. The problem is Barrett has faced largely mediocre competition, even his win on DWCS coming against a foe who was even more green than Hooper. If Barrett can muscle around Hooper – along a little bit of luck – he might be able to pull off the upset. However, it’s hard to believe the UFC is going to waste the promotional push they’ve given to Hooper by setting him up to fail. Hooper via decision
Staff picking Hooper: Mookie, Phil, Dayne, Stephie
Staff picking Barrett:
This poll is closed