The Bloody Elbow team has made its picks for Saturday’s UFC Fight Night show at the APEX in Las Vegas. Will Jessica Eye overcome another weight miss to best Cynthia Calvillo in the main event? Will Marvin Vettori take out all his frustration on an overweight Karl Roberson? Here’s how we analyzed the card.
Jessica Eye vs. Cynthia Calvillo
Mookie Alexander: Eye’s terrible weight miss and scary appearance on the scale could be grounds to pick Calvillo, but I’ve been fooled by that too many times. The Cortney Casey fight and Calvillo’s inability to impose her grappling game on someone with notoriously weak takedown defense is a major red flag. Eye is the better striker and unlikely to be physically overwhelmed by Cynthia. I do not expect this fight to be good. Jessica Eye by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: Some fights are really difficult to analyze for the great depth of technique the fighters bring to the table. Others, like this one, tend to focus on the tendency both athletes have for shooting themselves in the foot. Calvillo is technically better than Eye just about everywhere, but her push to become a consistent out-boxer has left her relying on the least dominant part of her skill set. In Eye’s case, all of her fights are fought on the thinnest of margins, whether it’s wrestling, striking, or grappling she’s rarely ever controlling the action. But, as a big, strong, tough flyweight, she’s edging out a lot of the kinds of decisions she was losing at 135. Is Calvillo too small to make her technique count here? I dunno. I’m picking Cynthia Calvillo by decision... I guess.
Phil Mackenzie: Bleh. Calvillo is nominally a grappler who has seemingly gotten worse at enforcing a grappling game as time has gone by. Eye is... OK? She can stay over her feet and throw combinations and has a decent jab. She has less of a height and reach advantage than I would have expected, but without any kind of physical edge I just don’t know how I expect Calvillo to win this, and former bantams have almost universally tended to mop up former strawweights when the two have met at fly. Jessica Eye by unanimous decision.
Staff picking Eye: Phil, Stephie, Mookie
Staff picking Calvillo: Zane
Karl Roberson vs. Marvin Vettori
Mookie Alexander: I know I just dismissed Eye’s scary weight cut when picking her to win, but Roberson missing weight twice in a month and getting the previous booking of this matchup cancelled is pretty bad. Roberson is the superior striker but Vettori is tough and can probably outwrestle Roberson and outmuscle him in the clinch. I suspect this could be an ugly scrap and while I picked Roberson on Level Change Podcast, I’m gonna change my mind here. Marvin Vettori by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: This should be a real knockdown, drag-out fight. Vettori knows no way to go but forward. He’s crafted himself into a durable, high pressure striker with an increasingly technical boxing game to support him. Roberson is still almost certainly the slicker man when it comes to pure skill standing, but can he keep Vettori’s pace if he can’t hurt him badly? Roberson just isn’t the KO threat he should be for his sniping style, and Vettori is absolutely rugged, and determined to press his kind of fight. Marvin Vettori by decision.
Phil Mackenzie: Roberson had a chance to show off his outfighting against a determined pressure threat against Teixeira and it... did not go well. Vettori is shorter and far less physically powerful, but he’s also been very tough and difficult to dissuade. Marvin Vettori by unanimous decision.
Staff picking Roberson:
Staff picking Vettori: Zane, Phil, Stephie, Mookie
Andre Fili vs. Charles Jourdain
Mookie Alexander: Easily the best fight on the card. Jourdain really impressed with how he dispatched Doo Ho Choi, while Fili turned in a commendable losing effort against Sodiq Yusuff. When Fili has problems on the feet he has shown that he can use his wrestling to his advantage, something I think he might do against Jourdain. Charles is really entertaining but I think Fili is more skilled, so Andre Fili by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: Jourdain’s got some really fun parts to his game. There’s a depth of counterstriking that he shows later into bouts. But early on, he’s mostly a high flying wild man who loves jump knees and hates takedowns. Fili is hittable, so there’s a chance that Jourdain finds him with something wild and knocks him cold. But for the most part, Fili’s chin is still strong and he’s a capable out-fighter and much improved wrestler when he needs to be. I expect him to lean heavy on his wrestling here and grind out a decision. Andre Fili by decision.
Phil Mackenzie: Fascinating fight here, can Fili really make his wrestling work, or can he fight a more functional backfoot game than he has in the past? I think he has a definite skill edge, and as the more experienced fighter he’s the smart pick. However, just on a gut feeling that Fili doesn’t like sustained aggression, I’ll take Jourdain to outpace him after a rocky start. Charles Jourdain by unanimous decision.
Staff picking Fili: Zane, Stephie, Mookie
Staff picking Jourdain: Phil
Jordan Espinosa vs. Mark De La Rosa
Mookie Alexander: De La Rosa is not physical or athletic enough to compete with UFC flyweights and his chin is a bit of a concern too. Jordan Espinosa by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: Espinosa has a lot of trouble with grapplers and De La Rosa has a lot of trouble with athletes. Should make for a weird fight, since both men are good at what their opponent is bad at. But, I’m leaning more on De La Rosa’s struggles with athletic fighters to make the difference. Especially because De La Rosa hasn’t been a major submission threat off his back, nor a great takedown artist. If Espinosa is going to be leading the action, I think he’ll likely do just enough to win the rounds. Jordan Espinosa by decision.
Phil Mackenzie: At least part of Espinosa’s problems in his last couple looked to be that he was displeased by not being the bigger flyweight in the cage, and was uncomfortable without both a reach and athletic edge. He has both here against Rosa, who is a fun and functional scrappy wrestle-boxer, but also basically a strawweight. Jordan Espinosa by unanimous decision.
Staff picking Espinosa: Zane, Stephie, Phil, Mookie
Staff picking De La Rosa:
Rest of the card
Mariya Agapova vs. Hannah Cifers
Staff picking Agapova: Zane, Phil, Stephie, Mookie
Staff picking Cifers:
Charles Rosa vs. Kevin Aguilar
Staff picking Rosa:
Staff picking Aguilar: Zane, Phil, Stephie, Mookie
Julia Avila vs. Gina Mazany
Staff picking Avila: Zane, Phil, Stephie, Mookie
Staff picking Mazany:
Zarrukh Adashev vs. Tyson Nam
Staff picking Adashev:
Staff picking Nam: Zane, Phil, Stephie, Mookie
Merab Dvalishvili vs. Gustavo Lopez
Staff picking Dvalishvili: Zane, Stephie, Mookie
Staff picking Lopez:
Anthony Ivy vs. Christian Aguilera
Staff picking Ivy:
Staff picking Aguilera: Zane, Phil, Stephie, Mookie
Who wins the main event?
This poll is closed