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UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Sakai staff picks and predictions

Check out the Bloody Elbow staff’s picks and predictions for Saturday’s UFC VEGAS 9 card.

The BE team has made its picks for UFC Vegas 9, which I know everyone is looking forward to, and there’s a slight edge towards Alistair Overeem to beat Augusto Sakai in the main event. As for the co-main, we are all picking Ovince Saint Preux over Alonzo Menifield. If the analysis is familiar, that’s because I literally copied and pasted the write-ups (except Phil Mackenzie, who added his write-up this time) from two weeks ago.

Alistair Overeem vs. Augusto Sakai

Mookie Alexander: I guess Sakai can win this with volume, especially since Overeem blowing fights he’s winning happens far more often than fights like he had against Walt Harris. Sakai is more durable than Overeem by miles but he’s also an inferior striker. If nothing else, I don’t think Overeem’s offensive game has really declined and in some cases it’s improved. I just want a good fight but I’m not banking on it. Maybe we get Patient Reem who picks his spots and then outworks Sakai in the clinch… perhaps even get a takedown or two. Alistair Overeem by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: This fight is strange in that I both feel like Sakai is the more durable fighter, but if someone’s more likely to finish it’s gonna be Overeem. Overeem is just much more likely to turn single moments of big offense into the kinds of moves that really put Sakai away. That said, recently Overeem has also seemed more inclined than ever to just swing and cling his way through bouts. Lots of clinch work, some ground control, and a lot of staring at an opponent at range. Sakai isn’t as dangerous, but being more durable and more likely to just keep throwing throughout, I guess I gotta pick him... maybe? But if he just gets tripped to the mat and beat up in the first 5 minutes I won’t be shocked. Augusto Sakai by TKO, round 4.

Phil Mackenzie: I guess I’m just going to pick for durability here. Sakai isn’t a hugely consistent round-winner or knockout threat, and as Zane intimated not the best grappler. However, he’s very tough and is simply there, doing things, for round after round. Overeem has always struggled to find a path to consistent decisions over 3 rounds without getting knackered, let alone 5. This could get real ugly. Big guy main events, yay. Augusto Sakai by unanimous decision.

Staff picking Overeem: Mookie, Dayne, Stephie
Staff picking Sakai: Zane, Phil

Ovince Saint Preux vs. Alonzo Menifield

Mookie Alexander: OSP could get blitzed and knocked out in rapid time against the aggressive Menifield. He could get blitzed, weather that storm, and then take over after Menifield gasses. Oh man… I think I know what time it is. OSP by Von Preux choke, round 2.

Zane Simon: I have a lot more faith in OSP keeping his offense together into the 3rd round than Menifield at this point. That Devin Clark fight felt like a real reckoning for the young prospect. He came out the gate, dominated, then got tired and just... seemed to run out of ideas. There’s nothing about OSP’s game that’s less well developed than Clark’s and he’s a more dangerous finisher. OSP by submission, round 2.

Phil Mackenzie: Oh man I hope OSP gets a Von Flue. At some point the whole “get trucked then come back” gameplan is going to stop at the first bit (it almost did against Oleksiejczuk) but other than that this fight appears to have an Elkins vs Johnson level of predictability to it. OSP by submission, round 2.

Staff picking OSP: Dayne, Stephie, Mookie, Zane, Phil
Staff picking Menifield:

Michel Pereira vs. Zelim Imadaev

Mookie Alexander: Michel Pereira is simultaneously terrible at MMA and perfect for MMA. Michael Pereira by KO, round 1.

Zane Simon: Call it a hunch, but my guess is that Imadaev is really going to look to improve his MMA game during his time in the UFC. Which seems like it should be a good thing, on the face of it. But the reality is that it makes me a lot less confident in him here. He’s tough, sure, But Pereira is huge and powerful and knows exactly what kind of weird/flowy/violent fight he wants to have. It’s not always a smart fight, and if Imadaev can just hang on for a couple rounds his chances of winning skyrocket. But, if he tries to be more reserved, less wild, or more technical, that may just lead to him getting lit up earlier by Pereira’s unorthodox striking. Michel Pereira via KO, round 1.

Phil Mackenzie: This is the last fight on Pereira’s contract and I don’t want him to go. We lost the Holy War Angel, it would be a crying shame if we lost the one man who treats MMA with the respect and reverence it deserves. Michel Pereira by KO (flash kick), round 1.

Staff picking Pereira: Zane, Mookie, Phil, Dayne, Stephie
Staff picking Imadaev:

Brian Kelleher vs. Kevin Natividad

Mookie Alexander: Damn man does Kelleher fight every month? Brian Kelleher by submission, round 1.

Zane Simon: Should be straightforward fight for Kelleher. Natividad is a banger who likes to drop into the pocket and let go power shots. Unfortunately, he’s just not that slick defensively. And while it’s only cost him once so far, Kelleher is a much more durable, bigger hitter than probably anyone Natividad has ever faced. It often takes him a round to find his timing, but Brian Kelleher via KO, round 2.

Staff picking Kelleher: Zane, Mookie, Phil, Dayne, Stephie
Staff picking Natividad:

Thiago Moises vs. Jalin Turner

Mookie Alexander: Turner is stupidly big for his weight class and a very powerful, athletic fighter. Moises already beat Michael Johnson, who’s not big for 155 but he is athletic and can often be slick and powerful. Of course, he’s Michael Johnson, and he hates easily winning fights and would rather lose them altogether. I’m not sure Turner is equipped to deal with Moises on the ground, but the longer this stays a kickboxing match the better I like Turner’s chances to just spark Moises out. Jalin Turner by TKO, round 2.

Zane Simon: There’s a very very real chance that Turner runs himself into the clinch, gets taken down, and gets subbed with a quickness. But, until he lets that happen, he’s much more likely to be landing strikes from range, without any appreciable pushback from Moises. Moises’ game is just too reliant on the mistakes of his opponents for me to confidently pick him. But... Turner does make some mistakes. Jalin Turner via decision.

Phil Mackenzie: Moises has two fights that could happen here, and they are both sorta his fight with Michael Johnson? where he was getting tuned up from range before turning up the aggression a bit and getting the takedown and sub. Turner has size and decent baseline athleticism but I’ve been making the mistake of just assuming that prospects are going to improve their grappling lately and it hasn’t always borne out. Thiago Moises by submission, round 3.

Staff picking Moises: Phil, Dayne, Stephie
Staff picking Turner: Zane, Mookie

Preliminary Card

Andre Muniz vs. Bartosz Fabinski

Staff picking Muniz: Zane, Mookie, Dayne, Stephie
Staff picking Fabinski:

Viviane Araujo vs. Montana De La Rosa

Staff picking Araujo: Zane, Mookie, Dayne
Staff picking De La Rosa: Stephie

Alexander Romanov vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima

Staff picking Romanov: Zane, Mookie, Dayne, Stephie
Staff picking Lima:

Cole Smith vs. Hunter Azure

Staff picking Smith: Mookie
Staff picking Azure: Zane, Dayne, Stephie

Poll

Who wins?

This poll is closed

  • 81%
    Alistair Overeem
    (440 votes)
  • 18%
    Augusto Sakai
    (100 votes)
540 votes total Vote Now