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UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Teixeira staff picks and predictions

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Check out the Bloody Elbow staff’s picks and predictions for Wednesday’s UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Teixeira card in Jacksonville, FL.

Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

The Bloody Elbow team has made its picks for the midweek UFC Jacksonville show, and most of us are picking Anthony Smith to win the main event over Glover Teixeira. There’s a slight lean towards Ovince Saint Preux over Ben Rothwell in the co-main event.

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.

Anthony Smith vs. Glover Teixeira

Mookie Alexander: I’m not saying Teixeira is washed but he’s washed-adjacent. He looked bad in the Corey Anderson fight and was rocked early by Ion Cutelaba and Karl Roberson in his subsequent wins. He’d have wiped out Nikita Krylov at his best but instead somehow went the distance with a guy who never goes the distance. Anthony Smith is in the best form of his career and has all of the tools necessary to neutralize Glover. He can win this with range striking and I don’t necessarily see him as being totally lost on the ground if Teixeira takes him down. Smith’s improved cardio and already established clinch-work and power make me compelled to pick him. Anthony Smith by TKO, round 2.

Zane Simon: This has a little bit of a big-man Cruz/Cejudo vibe to it for me. Not that either Smith or Teixeira fight like their bantamweight counterparts, but that Teixeira should have some tools to absolutely trouble Smith, but I don’t trust his ability to use them, just due to time and wear. That said, unlike Cruz, Teixeira has actually been fighting people lately, and winning. If Smith can’t KO him early, can he stay off his back? If he can’t stay off his back, can he keep from getting subbed? There’s a very good chance that Teixeira walks out of here with a remarkable late career victory over a recent title contender. But, LHW is a division where powerful weird dudes have a remarkable amount of success just by being powerful and weird. Smith fits the current LHW meta just too well for me to pick against him with an opponent who just hit 40. Anthony Smith via TKO, round 3.

Staff picking Smith: Mookie, Dayne, Zane, Shak, Stephie
Staff picking Teixeira: Ed

Ovince Saint Preux vs. Ben Rothwell

Mookie Alexander: Rothwell looked bad for a whole lot of that Struve fight, it’s just that Struve couldn’t withstand getting hit in the dick anymore. I have no idea how well OSP will look at heavyweight but he’s certainly the faster, better athlete. Ovince Saint Preux by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: Even with a recent win over Stefan Struve, Ben Rothwell’s return from USADA suspension has been... not great. It seems like there may be just a hint of past speed missing from his game, and somewhat like Roy Nelson before him, it doesn’t take losing that much speed for ‘lumbering heavyweight with surprising power’ to become just a lumbering heavyweight. The questions for OSP here mostly center around the fact that he’s literally never fought at heavyweight before. Will that get to his head, will he train properly, bulk properly, have his cardio in shape? If he comes out like he did against Volkan Oezdemir, Rothwell could absolutely just lean on him and press him to the cage for an ugly win. Maybe even pick up the TKO. But OSP has also shown the ability to stay fit late into fights, and if he can do that, he’s the much faster man. I’ll take OSP to get his first decision since 2016.

Staff picking OSP: Ed, Mookie, Zane, Stephie
Staff picking Rothwell: Dayne, Shak

Alexander Hernandez vs. Drew Dober

Mookie Alexander: After trying to get into a firefight with Donald Cerrone, Hernandez introduced us to the world’s worst overcorrection in that stinker of a fight with Francisco Trinaldo. Both Hernandez and Dober throw with a lot of power but Dober’s boxing has come along extremely well as of late. Hernandez may be best served trying to take this fight to the mat and outwork him there. I think Dober is going to put him away instead. Drew Dober by KO, round 2.

Zane Simon: Hernandez really should win this fight. He’s the better athlete, with the better wrestling game. But, I’m also not really sure where his head’s at. He blitzed his way into the UFC largely on the back of his speed and power. Then ran full force into Donald Cerrone, who taught him a hard lesson about trying to bully a seasoned veteran. And learning that lesson just might be the last thing that Hernandez should have done. Sure, he needed to grow his technical game, but the fighter who came out against Trinaldo after that looked absolutely unwilling to push his physicality on opponents the way he used to. If Hernandez over-corrected, then Dober has developed a really sharp power-punching game to go with his ever-durable chin. And while Dober can be caught out on the mat, Hernandez isn’t exactly a regular submission finisher. There’s a good chance Hernandez just takes Dober down and mauls him, but I’ll go with Dober to pull off the upset and Hernandez to give away his athletic edge. Drew Dober by KO, round 2.

Staff picking Hernandez: Dayne
Staff picking Dober: Ed, Mookie, Zane, Shak, Stephie

Ricky Simon vs. Ray Borg

Mookie Alexander: This is a very fast-paced scramble-heavy fight in the making. I side with Borg in theory, but at bantamweight he might just be physically outmatched against Simon. Borg seems best suited for flyweight while consistently failing his weight cut. Borg’s striking also has seemingly taken a step back, and while Simon is not world-beater on the feet he’s active and does have some power. I do think Borg is the better grappler, but I’m going to side with Ricky Simon by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: Borg should probably have this fight. He’s the cleaner, more technical wrestler, he looks like he’s gotten himself back into the kind of shape that made him a title contender, and lately, he’s looked tireless. But, it’s also hard not to look at Borg’s last fight at 135 against Casey Kenney. Sure he was coming off a long string of injuries and other personal struggles, but he also found his wrestling game struggling to control bigger opponents at bantamweight. He ended up exhausted and dropping the decision. Simon isn’t the most technical guy in the world anywhere, but he is absolutely tireless and fearless. He will make Borg work hard. And if adding the extra weight again makes Borg tired, or just holding down someone that much bigger, then Simon will be right there to go after him late in the fight. The other point worthy of note is, it really seems like DJ ruined Borg’s confidence in his hands. He’s been a ‘one punch and instant shot’ fighter for all of his last few bouts. In a fight where a little boxing could really help him, he’s very likely going to have a pretty predictable plan. Maybe Borg will look great. Maybe Simon can’t stay off his back. But I’ll take Ricky Simon by 3rd round TKO.

Staff picking Simon: Dayne, Zane, Mookie, Shak, Stephie
Staff picking Borg: Ed

Karl Roberson vs. Marvin Vettori

Mookie Alexander: Vettori is a very respectable gatekeeper and I don’t really see major upside to Roberson’s game. Karl is the better striker but Vettori may be able to turn this into a three-round grind. Marvin Vettori by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: Vettori is just too tough, too aggressive, and (these days) too sharp standing for me to feel comfortable picking a better, but slower paced striker like Roberson to tune him up. It should be a thriller though, since Vettori’s usual gameplan will lead him right into the teeth of Roberson’s counter punching. Marvin Vettori by decision.

Staff picking Roberson: Ed
Staff picking Vettori: Mookie, Dayne, Zane, Shak, Stephie

Andrei Arlovski vs. Philipe Lins

Mookie Alexander: Let’s just hope this fight is not bad. Philipe Lins by KO, round 1.

Zane Simon: Arlovski’s chin has actually held up shockingly well over the past few years. But even when he hasn’t been getting put out, it hasn’t taken that much to beat him. Arlovski’s ability to stay ahead in exchanges just isn’t there. Lins doesn’t have the best jaw himself, so Arlovski has a chance here, but my guess is Lins just lands the cleaner more consistent strikes for as long as this fight lasts. Philipe Lins via KO, round 2.

Staff picking Arlovski:
Staff picking Lins: Ed, Mookie, Dayne, Zane, Shak, Stephie

Rest of the card

Michael Johnson vs. Thiago Moises

Staff picking Johnson: Mookie, Dayne, Zane, Shak, Stephie
Staff picking Moises: Ed

Sijara Eubanks vs. Sarah Moras

Staff picking Eubanks: Ed, Mookie, Dayne, Zane, Shak, Stephie
Staff picking Moras:

Omar Morales vs. Gabriel Benitez

Staff picking Morales:
Staff picking Benitez: Mookie, Dayne, Zane, Shak, Stephie

Hunter Azure vs. Brian Kelleher

Staff picking Azure:
Staff picking Kelleher: Mookie, Dayne, Zane, Shak, Stephie

Chase Sherman vs. Ike Villanueva

Staff picking Sherman: Ed, Mookie, Zane, Shak, Stephie
Staff picking Villanueva: Dayne

Poll

Who wins the main event?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Glover Teixeira
    (116 votes)
  • 85%
    Anthony Smith
    (682 votes)
798 votes total Vote Now