The BE team has made its predictions for UFC VEGAS 16, and surprisingly it’s Marvin Vettori who’s the one favored to beat Jack Hermansson on short notice. As for the co-main event, even though he missed weight we’re all picking Ovince Saint Preux over Jamahal Hill.
Marvin Vettori vs. Jack Hermansson
Mookie Alexander: It feels like Jack Hermansson is the type of fighter whose game shouldn’t translate into becoming a top-five or top-seven middleweight, and yet it has. He’s a crafty fighter with the balls to try and submit Jacare (even if it didn’t work) and his resume is quite impressive for someone who wasn’t too far removed from needing an insane comeback to stop Thales Leites. Vettori is an effective wrestler and grappler in his own right, plus he’s a southpaw which is something Hermansson has had issues with in the past. The difference I see is that Vettori is not a powerful striker, so I don’t think he has the ability to hurt Hermansson the same way Jared Cannonier or Thiago Santos did. Vettori also hasn’t faced to many good, willing grapplers like Hermansson, so we’ll see if this becomes the Antonio Carlos Junior fight all over again or if Vettori really has made the strides to be in title contention. Jack Hermansson by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: In some ways Hermansson is the obvious pick here. His track record against higher level opposition, his finishing instincts, those things alone make him feel like he should be the choice here against a guy whose best win is... Cezar Ferreira??? But Hermansson’s struggles against Ferreira, Santos, and Cannonier create cause for caution. Against southpaw ‘Mutante’ Hermansson’s jab disappeared. Against powerful strikers who wanted to keep things standing, like Cannonier and Santos, he ended up on the wrong end of fairly brutal TKOs. That Gastelum win was cool, but is it something reliable? If Hermansson can’t get Vettori down, can he out-box and aggressive lefty who wants to pressure constantly? I’d love to see it, but I’m taking Marvin Vettori via Decision.
Staff picking Vettori: Stephie, Dayne, Zane
Staff picking Hermansson: Mookie
Ovince Saint Preux vs. Jamahal Hill
Zane Simon: OSP missing weight is not great. Especially given his past tendency to have fights where he looks like he’s in absolutely miserable shape and can barely push a pace for more than a round. So that very much has me rethinking my pick. Still, the baseline of who beats him and how is generally a lot higher than what Hill has shown to date. Hill just hasn’t shown the kind of striking technique so far that makes me think he’ll be able to finish OSP (who has only been KO’d once in the UFC) once he has him hurt. And when OSP is hurt, he’s often at his most dangerous. OSP via Submission, round 2.
Mookie Alexander: Missing weight is not a good look for OSP, especially since I thought the Ben Rothwell fight showed he ain’t meant for heavyweight. Jamahal Hill looked really good in stopping Klidson Abreu... but that’s Klidson Abreu. We may clown around a bunch about OSP and some of his weird-ass bouts, but virtually all of his losses have been to very high-level competition. Hill may yet reach that point in his career but not now. OSP has big power off the counter (ask Alonzo Menifield) and we know his dangerous Von Preux choke has felled many light heavyweights before. Ovince Saint Preux by TKO, round 1.
Staff picking OSP: Stephie, Dayne, Mookie, Zane
Staff picking Hill:
Gabriel Benitez vs. Justin Jaynes
Mookie Alexander: He may have lost, but I liked a lot of what I saw from Benitez before he was stopped by Sodiq Yusuff. I still hold hope for him to excel as a prospect and string a few wins together. Jaynes does have power in those hands but as Zane points out, he emptied his gas tank pretty badly against Gavin Tucker and got outclassed from there. If he paces himself better he can win this but I still believe Benitez is the more well-rounded and faster fighter. Gabriel Benitez by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: Jaynes has proven an exceptionally dangerous fighter in the first five minutes of a bout. But against Gavin Tucker, despite hurting him badly early, his output for rounds 2 & 3 was dismal. If he can’t put Benitez away quick, I can’t pick him to take a decision win. Gabriel Benitez via decision.
Staff picking Benitez: Stephie, Dayne, Mookie, Zane
Staff picking Jaynes:
Montana De La Rosa vs. Taila Santos
Mookie Alexander: I was going to bank on De La Rosa’s grappling abilities to get the win here, but Santos’ performance versus Molly McCann had me rethinking everything. Santos can outstrike De La Rosa and I don’t think she’ll be hopeless on the ground if it gets there. Taila Santos by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: I’m incredibly torn about this fight. On the one hand, De La Rosa is a willing striker, but just in terms of pure speed and pop, she often falls a step behind her opponents standing. She is, however, an excellent scrambling grappler who can make good positions out of bad and take wins back from the brink of defeat. However, I’ve also just seen her lose to the better athlete, even when she can get the fight to the floor. Santos is definitely the better athlete. She’s been a can crusher regionally, so the depth of her game isn’t entirely there, but I loved the improvements she showed last time out. Could easily see De La Rosa getting a sweep to a submission, but that still means it’s a fight I see Taila Santos largely winning until that happens. Taila Santos by decision.
Staff picking De La Rosa: Dayne,
Staff picking Santos: Stephie, Zane, Mookie
Roman Dolidze vs. John Allan Arte
Zane Simon: Allan has a much better process to his offense, unquestionably. But I’m not convinced he’s necessarily the most violent finisher out there, and his fighting style forces him into constant violent exchanges. In general at light heavyweight, that has me worried. There are too many guys at 205 who can go through most of a bout on the losing end and then just pull out some huge violent move to switch the fight up in a heartbeat. I’m not entirely sure yet, but I think Dolidze is one of them. Roman Dolidze via submission, round 1.
Staff picking Dolidze: Dayne, Mookie, Zane
Staff picking Arte: Stephie
Movsar Evloev vs. Nate Landwehr
Mookie Alexander: Yeah I don’t think Landwehr’s aggressive, brawling ways will work against someone of Evloev’s abilities. Movsar Evloev by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: Evloev just seems like he’s better everywhere. Landwehr will very likely stay dangerous to the end as a constant brawling pressure fighter with a good chin and good gas tank, but if he can’t stop Evloev from taking him down and can’t actually out-box him standing, I don’t think he’ll ever get a chance to truly turn the tide of this fight. Movsar Evloev by decision.
Staff picking Evloev: Stephie, Dayne, Mookie, Zane
Staff picking Landwehr:
Gian Villante vs. Jake Collier
Mookie Alexander: We weren’t going to do a write-up on this but I only wanted to include this in our written picks for Zane’s deep thoughts on this particular fight. Gian Villante by split decision.
Zane Simon: Look, we all know what’s on the line here. This is for the all conference dad-bod chug-n-slug trophy. Winner gets a year’s worth of Natty Light and a year’s subscription to NASCAR TrackPass. With stakes like those on the table, I don’t expect Villante to walk away empty handed. Gian Villante via TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Villante: Stephie, Dayne, Mookie, Zane
Staff picking Collier:
Rest of the card
Louis Smolka vs. Jose Alberto Quinonez
Staff picking Smolka: Stephie, Mookie, Zane
Staff picking Quinonez: Dayne
Matt Wiman vs. Jordan Leavitt
Staff picking Wiman:
Staff picking Leavitt: Stephie, Dayne, Mookie, Zane
Jimmy Flick vs. Cody Durden
Staff picking Flick: Stephie, Dayne, Mookie, Zane
Staff picking Durden:
Ilia Topuria vs. Damon Jackson
Staff picking Topuria: Stephie, Dayne, Mookie, Zane
Staff picking Jackson:
This poll is closed