The Bloody Elbow team has made its predictions for UFC Vegas 38 and only yours truly is going out on a limb and picking Johnny Walker to beat Thiago Santos. It’s probably a bad idea but that’s not stopped me before. As for the co-main event, everyone backs Kevin Holland to beat Kyle Daukaus.
We were going to do predictions for Aspen Ladd vs. Macy Chiasson but then Ladd missed weight, looked awful doing so, and the fight has since been cancelled.
Thiago Santos vs. Johnny Walker
Mookie Alexander: This is more of a gut-feel pick than something rooted in deep analysis. I think Walker has a pretty defined ceiling where his penchant for wild shit, bad cardio, and getting hit and hurt cleanly is going to lead to a lot of inconsistent results… but I also think it’s possible Santos is shot? His knees are made of silly putty at this point and while he is clearly the more technical striker, isn’t awful on the ground like Walker is, and can still rock anybody, it’s possible he just gets his lights put out by Walker’s power. The smart pick is Santos but I want to live a little. Johnny Walker by KO, round 2.
Zane Simon: I get the feeling the first round of this fight will be very much a fight that could end for either man at any moment. Santos likes to stay on his back foot and wait for counters, Walker likes to bull forward with wild offense and put himself in danger. If they clash on those terms early, there’s not really any telling who will come out on top. However, over the long haul, Walker has a real habit of breaking down, especially in his reactions to takedowns. And Santos has always been willing to take shots if he sees the chance. He’s not quite as technical as Nikita Krylov, but he is much more dangerous,a nd at the end of the day, I expect a similar kind of fight to win out. Thiago Santos by TKO, round 3.
Staff picking Santos: Dayne, Zane, Stephie, Connor
Staff picking Walker: Mookie
Kevin Holland vs. Kyle Daukaus
Mookie Alexander: Has Kevin Holland learned enough defensive wrestling to deal with Daukaus? Does he really have to learn enough defensive wrestling to beat Daukaus anyway? I don’t think Daukaus can keep up with Holland’s pace and he’ll be at a disadvantage at range. If Holland attacks the body I can see Daukaus fading the same way he did against Phil Hawes. Kevin Holland by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: People can talk about Kevin Holland’s takedown defense all they want, but is Kyle Daukaus half as good a wrestler as Marvin Vettori or Derek Brunson. He’s certainly not as good a natural athlete. And even when he got takedowns on Brendan Allen, he got swept almost immediately. Holland may have been subbed by Allen, but it was through a barrage of vicious ground and pound from top control. Holland’s also finally spent some time in really top quality wrestling rooms lately, so there’s a chance he’s shored up that problem in his game. Moreover, however, if Daukaus is mostly going to pursue takedowns through the clinch, I just don’t think he’s fast or strong enough to make that work. And walking into the pocket against Holland is where his boxing is at its most venomous. Kevin Holland via TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Holland: Mookie, Dayne, Zane, Stephie, Connor
Staff picking Daukaus:
Alex Oliveira vs. Niko Price
Mookie Alexander: If this was a few years ago I’d give Oliveira a better shot, but I think the wars have caught up with him and Price is going to win. Despite Price’s lengthy history of being a “finish or be finished” type of fighter he’s shown some more durability as of late and Oliveira’s has waned to the point where Alex could be winning up until Niko creates a new way to knock someone out. Niko Price by TKO, round 1.
Zane Simon: There’s a great chance that Price gets lit up by body kicks and long single strikes from range, just because he’s so defensively wide open. But, Oliveira also seems to have a genuine dislike for fighting rangy opponents who can hit him back from distance. And beyond that, fighters who can make bouts brutal and messy and challenging from a variety of positions seem to be able to break Oliveira down after multiple rounds. That feels exactly like Price to me. Niko Price via KO, round 1.
Staff picking Oliveira:
Staff picking Price: Mookie, Dayne, Stephie, Zane, Connor
Misha Cirkunov vs. Krzysztof Jotko
Mookie Alexander: Cirkunov probably should win this but I do not trust his chin to hold up even against guys who are not particularly brutal strikers like Jotko. Things get interesting if this hits the mat and Cirkunov has top position, but otherwise I am not digging the idea of Misha at 185. Krzysztof Jotko by TKO, round 1.
Zane Simon: If Jotko was any kind of finisher, maybe I’d share Mookie’s misgivings. But that KO he got over Tamdan McCrory feels like an entire lifetime ago. These days, Jotko has been a less confident and less dynamic out-fighting kickboxer, who either narrowly slips by more plodding opponents, or gets blown out of the water. If he can’t put Cirkunov away early, I think this’ll be a great chance for Cirkunov to feel like the bigger, stronger guy, and take Jotko to the mat and control him. Misha Cirkunov via decision.
Staff picking Cirkunov: Dayne, Zane, Connor
Staff picking Jotko: Mookie, Stephie
Alexander Hernandez vs. Mike Breeden
Mookie Alexander: Definitely thought Alexander Hernandez was fighting NBA on ESPN lead play-by-play voice Mike Breen. Oh well. This fight should still end with a BANG! Alexander Hernandez by TKO, round 1.
Zane Simon: Hernandez has taken some big confidence hits in recent years, but when he has a significant athletic advantage, he’s still fully capable of running someone out of the building. More than anything Breeden is probably just a bit too raw for this fight. He’s not a dynamic finisher, and often fights at a very slow, cautious pace. Fighters who win big on short notice tend to do so because they run out the gate and surprise their opponent. I don’t think Breeden can make that happen. Alexander Hernandez via TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Hernandez: Mookie, Dayne, Zane, Stephie, Connor
Staff picking Breeden:
This poll is closed