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UFC on ESPN: Kattar vs. Ige staff picks and predictions

Check out the Bloody Elbow staff’s picks and predictions for Wednesday’s UFC on ESPN: Kattar vs. Ige show from Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.

The Bloody Elbow team has made its predictions for Wednesday’s UFC on ESPN show in Abu Dhabi, and we all believe Calvin Kattar will beat Dan Ige in the main event. As for the co-main, opinion is split on that flyweight between Tim Elliott and Ryan Benoit. If you want in-depth breakdown of the whole card, check out The MMA Vivisection at the top of the page.

Calvin Kattar vs. Dan Ige

Zane Simon: Should be a great fight, Ige doesn’t really know any way to go but forward, and Kattar is fantastic at sticking and moving, and walking opponents on to hard counters. All of which should also make it a pretty straight forward bout to pick as well. Either Ige lands the kind of shot that Jeremy Stephens couldn’t seem to, or he taps Kattar out, or he gets busted up all night trying to close the distance, and likely put away in the process. That last one seems most likely. Calvin Kattar by KO, round 2.

Victor Rodriguez: Ige gets away with a lot of small things that add up with his forward movement and ability to frustrate opponents the whole 15-25min of a fight. While I can’t rule out some spider monkey shenanigans where he climbs up Kattar for the Jansport special, it feels like this will largely be a battle of feints, slips, counters, etc. Ige doing more with volume, but Kattar landing more damage overall. I’m feeling a very close one, and Ige’s got a great chance to play spoiler again, but I’ll stick with the safe choice in Calvin Kattar by decision.

Staff picking Kattar: Zane, Mookie, Stephie, Victor

Staff picking Ige:

Tim Elliott vs. Ryan Benoit

Zane Simon: Kind of a coin-flip fight even though the style dynamics should be pretty simple in Tim Elliott’s favor. Benoit has never really had a ‘flyweight style.’ He’s a low-ish output power puncher who doesn’t wrestle or grapple much in a division full of high output scramble artists. Getting clean wins, especially against a dogged wrestler like Elliott is always going to be difficult. But, I’m not at all confident with how Elliott has been fighting lately. The way Askarov out-struck him was worrying. But more than that, his always questionably gas tank has only become more of a problem. Can Elliott really just take Benoit down and sub him out inside one round? If he can’t, does he have more than a round in him? Ryan Benoit via TKO, round 3.

Victor Rodriguez: I can’t really trust Benoit despite the fact that he does a lot of things well. It’s his inactivity and lack of urgency that sometimes does him in, but other times it’s him trying to get cute with striking and barely getting out of first gear. Elliott’s a crafty vet and there’s a lot of ways he can make Ryan regret taking things to the ground. Tim Elliott by submission.

Staff picking Elliott: Mookie, Victor
Staff picking Benoit: Zane, Stephie

Cody Stamann vs. Jimmie Rivera

Zane Simon: At the surface level there’s not a ton separating Stamann and Rivera. Both are bricked up former wrestlers who have leaned into volume kickboxing to become high level MMA fighters. Stamann has a bit more variety with that ‘Detroit Superstar’ style, but he also lacks Rivera’s pop (even if Rivera hasn’t been any kind of surefire KO threat). Eventually, however, the big differentiator between the two is defense. Rivera has built himself a pretty solid, defensively minded volume counterpunching game over the years. And were it not for the knockdowns, it might have even carried him past Petr Yan. Stamann is adding more volume to his style, but it’s still coming with a very “take one to give one” kind of attitude. In that kind of fight, I gotta pick Rivera to land more and take less. Jimmie Rivera by decision.

Victor Rodriguez: Zane nailed it here. The stylistic similarities are cool, but seeing the point where they diverge is also great. Rivera’s tricky, doesn’t stay in the pocket any longer than he absolutely has to and knows how to make it add up over time. Stamann’s handspeed and overreliance on wrestling will have him a step behind. Jimmie Rivera by decision.

Staff picking Stamann: Mookie, Stephie
Staff picking Rivera: Zane, Victor

Molly McCann vs. Taila Santos

Zane Simon: Maybe this is just a fan pick, since McCann seems like an especially fun and relatable person—but even with Santos being the better athlete, cleaner striker, and maybe even better grappler, I’m taking the ‘Meatball.’ The biggest reason why is honestly just that she seems to be putting together the basics of a very functional, rugged style built to win rounds. She throws a lot of strikes, chains her takedowns, and constantly works to push the pace and advance positions. Santos came up crushing cans, and it really showed in her debut. She just wasn’t ready for a fighter that didn’t go away quickly, and seemed to have trouble handling pressure or keeping pressure on her opponent. If McCann doesn’t just get swept and subbed or walk into a clean shot that puts her down, I think she can out-hustle and out grind Santos for the win. Molly McCann by decision.

Victor Rodriguez: Molly McCann doesn’t just have a bucket full of tenacity full to the brim at all times, she hits pretty hard and swarms opponents easily. Problem is her counter game isn’t where it could be and her setups aren’t the cleanest. Santos has looked great, but as I noted in the preview — and I’m really trying to be nice — her body of work looks mostly impressive because she’s been fighting and beating some of the worst opposition in recent memory for a UFC signee. Molly should be able to handle this. Molly McCann by TKO.

Staff picking McCann: Zane, Mookie, Stephie, Victor
Staff picking Santos:

Abdul Razak Alhassan vs. Mounir Lazzez

Zane Simon: Lazzez really hasn’t faced much at all in terms of competition. And notably, when his opponents have been even half decent, he’s really struggled to maintain his ‘sniping’ range counter style. Fighters that walk Lazzez down and take swings at him tend to hit him. Alhassan may take some big shots to land his own strikes, but he’s almost always the guy that hits harder, longer. Abdul Razak Alhassan via KO, round 1.

Victor Rodriguez: Lazzez has a lot of pizzaz (see what I did there?) but might struggle heavily against a focused, forward-oriented fighter in Alhassan. Abdul has a no-frills, no-nonsense approach plus he’s a harder hitter with a great chin. Lazzez might pull off a stunner, but I doubt he’ll land anything that will put Alhassan away, and he’ll expend a ton of energy doing so to a level where he’ll fall behind on the scorecards in the process. Stick with the sure shot. Abdul Razak Alhassan by TKO.

Staff picking Alhassan: Zane, Mookie, Stephie, Victor
Staff picking Lazzez:

Rest of the card

John Phillips vs. Khamzat Chimaev

Staff picking Phillips:
Staff picking Chimaev: Zane, Mookie, Stephie, Victor

Ricardo Ramos vs. Lerone Murphy

Staff picking Ramos: Zane, Mookie, Stephie
Staff picking Murphy: Victor

Modestas Baukauskas vs. Andreas Michalidis

Staff picking Baukauskas:
Staff picking Michalidis: Zane, Mookie, Stephie, victor

Jared Gordon vs. Chris Fishgold

Staff picking Gordon: Zane, Mookie, Victor
Staff picking Fishgold: Stephie

Liana Jojua vs. Diana Belbita

Staff picking Jojua: Victor
Staff picking Belbita: Zane, Mookie, Stephie

Jack Shore vs. Aaron Phillips

Staff picking Shore: Zane, Mookie, Stephie, Victor
Staff picking Phillips:

Poll

Who takes the win?

This poll is closed

  • 83%
    Calvin Kattar
    (634 votes)
  • 16%
    Dan Ige
    (126 votes)
760 votes total Vote Now