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UFC Fight Night: Benavidez vs. Figueiredo 2 staff picks and predictions

Check out the Bloody Elbow staff’s picks and predictions for Saturday’s UFC Fight Night: Benavidez vs. Figueiredo 2 fight card in Abu Dhabi.

The Bloody Elbow team has made its picks for UFC Fight Island 2, and everyone believes Deiveson Figueiredo will once again beat Joseph Benavidez, this time winning the flyweight title. As for the co-main event, we’re leaning towards Jack Hermansson getting the victory over Kelvin Gastelum.

Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Joseph Benavidez

Mookie Alexander: I’d love for Benavidez to finally win a belt but I don’t see it happening. The first fight was good for a round and then Figueiredo started to get ahead, and Benavidez 100% initiated the headbutt right before the KO. Figueiredo can take Benavidez’s shots better than Benavidez can take Figueiredo’s. Add in his physical strength and scrambling ability and I just think we see another knockout. Deiveson Figueiredo by TKO, round 2.

Zane Simon: There’s clearly a case for and a path to victory for Joe-B. He’s the one in this fight who will be throwing volume in each and every round. If Figueiredo can’t put him out in three, can he really keep up down the stretch? Still, the way that first fight went just saw too many dramatic clashes in which Benavidez ate exactly the kind of shots that have me worried he’s not going to last three rounds, again. Figueiredo is just too accurate on the counter and too physically imposing. Deiveson Figueiredo via TKO, round 3.

Phil Mackenzie: Co-sign with the Zany One. Benavidez has a ton of potential pathways to victory, but the main thing we saw from their first fight is that he can be badly hurt by Figueiredo’s shots, but that vice versa doesn’t seem to happen. In addition, there’s the way that Benavidez’ blitzing, power-punching style is one which often shocks people out of the gate, but which can be more effectively timed by counter punchers down the stretch (see: DJ I and DJ II). With sadness, again, Deiveson Figueiredo by TKO, round 2.

Staff picking Figueiredo: Mookie, Stephie, Zane, Phil
Staff picking Benavidez:

Jack Hermansson vs. Kelvin Gastelum

Mookie Alexander: How many wins over the last few years has Kelvin Gastelum had against fighters in their prime? You could argue zero. Jacare, Bisping, Kennedy, Belfort (I’ll count that since he only got it nixed for weed), Hendricks, and Marquardt were all past their prime and/or retired straight after the fight. Then when he fights guys who are conceivably in their prime like Till, Adesanya, Woodley, and Magny he has lost them. Worrisome for Kelvin is that he’s often ended up just offensively lacking in three of those defeats, and his great showing vs. Adesanya saw him still get dropped four times. I think Hermansson’s resume hasn’t aged all that well either, and he is absolutely vulnerable to getting knocked out in this fight, but he is a much bigger fighter than Gastelum and should be able to repeat some of what Magny did. Jack Hermansson by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: Will totally flummoxed by a southpaw Jack Hermansson show up? Or will it be the grind and clinch Kelvin Gastelum who can’t find his way past a rangey striker? Both men have versions of their game that notably fail against opponents exactly like the one they’re facing here. I just can’t get the image of Hermansson’s evaporating output against southpaws and powerful athletes out of my head. I also get the feeling that Gastelum will feel like he has a point to prove and that he doesn’t see Hermansson as dangerous enough to stop him from proving it. Call it a hunch, but between the two, I think it’s the better version of Gastelum that shows up on fight night. Kelvin Gastelum by decision.

Phil Mackenzie: Again, Zane is pretty much with the dynamics of the fight. Gastelum has lost this fight before, against a debatably worse fighter in Neil Magny. Consistent jabs, clinch takedowns and workrate are all things which he’s proven to be fairly poor at dealing with. I think I’ll pick that to happen, but the image of Hermansson virtually physically bouncing off Jared Cannonier is a concerning one. Jack Hermansson by unanimous decision.

Staff picking Hermansson: Mookie, Stephie, Phil
Staff picking Gastelum: Zane

Marc Diakiese vs. Rafael Fiziev

Zane Simon: Fiziev is the more technical man standing in terms of his base form when throwing in combination, but he looks nothing like the kinds of fighters that have really troubled Diakiese over the years. His power hooks both on the counter and moving forward are really nice, but they don’t offer an obvious answer for Diakiese’s practiced rangy 1-2s and kicks, blacked up by a serious power double leg and the willingness to put a grind on opposition. If Diakiese doesn’t mind himself, he could get caught inside at any time by a couple huge shots from Fiziev, but I expect a very controlled, round winning performance from him. Marc Diakiese by decision.

Phil Mackenzie: I’ve greatly enjoyed Diakiese’s improvements, but I’m still just not sure how much I can trust them. How much was him beating Duffy due to the fact that Duffy is a footslow pure boxer who could be carved up from the outside by raw low kicks? I just don’t think that’s the way that Diakiese can beat Fiziev, who is a quality pressure striker who (and this is obviously a double-edged sword) doesn’t appear to be intimidated by athleticism disparities. The big X-factor is whether Diakiese can or does wrestle, but give me Rafael Fiziev by unanimous decision.

Staff picking Diakiese: Mookie, Stephie, Zane
Staff picking Fiziev: Phil

Arlene Lipski vs. Luana Carolina

Zane Simon: Lipski has all the form and technique here whenever the fight breaks down from long range into the pocket, which I expect will happen a lot. Carolina throws volume and understands she needs to circle away, but her defense and footwork are really messy. If Lipski just marches her down and throws heat I expect she’ll land over and over. Ariane Lipski by decision.

Staff picking Lipski: Zane, Phil, Mookie
Staff picking Carolina: Stephie

Alexandre Pantoja vs. Askar Askarov

Zane Simon: Askarov is absolutely a challenge for anyone at flyweight with his willingness to sit down on strikes, his dogged wrestling, and his slow and steady positional grappling game. But, in a division full of fast and furious athletes, he definitely doesn’t fit the mold. I expect Pantoja will get plugged a few times standing and even get taken down a couple times. But he’s got the speed and power edge, he’s an excellent scrambling grappler, and he’s willing to keep a fast pace. Alexandre Pantoja by decision.

Staff picking Pantoja: Mookie, Stephie, Zane, Phil
Staff picking Askarov:

Rest of the card

Khadis Ibragimov vs. Roman Dolidze

Staff picking Ibragimov: Mookie, Stephie, Phil
Staff picking Dolidze: Zane

Grant Dawson vs. Nad Narimani

Staff picking Dawson: Mookie, Stephie, Phil
Staff picking Narimani: Zane

Joseph Duffy vs. Joel Álvarez

Staff picking Duffy: Mookie, Stephie, Zane, Phil
Staff picking Alvarez:

Brett Johns vs. Montel Jackson

Staff picking Johns: Mookie
Staff picking Jackson: Stephie, Zane, Phil

Malcolm Gordon vs. Amir Albazi

Staff picking Gordon: Mookie, Stephie, Phil
Staff picking Albazi: Zane

Davi Ramos vs. Arman Tsarukyan

Staff picking Ramos:
Staff picking Tsarukyan: Mookie, Stephie, Zane, Phil

Sergey Spivak vs. Carlos Felipe

Staff picking Spivak:
Staff picking Felipe: Mookie, Stephie, Zane, Phil


Who raises their hand this time around?

This poll is closed

  • 67%
    Deiveson Figueiredo
    (386 votes)
  • 32%
    Joseph Benavidez
    (188 votes)
574 votes total Vote Now

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