The Bloody Elbow team has made its predictions for UFC Vegas 41, and everyone is going with Marvin Vettori over Paulo Costa in what is now a light heavyweight main event between the last two middleweight title challengers. It’s more split when it comes to the co-main between Grant Dawson and Ricky Glenn.
Note: Predictions are entered throughout the week and collected the day before the event. Explanations behind each pick are not required and some writers opt not to do so for their own reasons. For example, if Phil Mackenzie entered all of his predictions on Wednesday without adding in any explanations, he has no idea if he’s going to be the only one siding with one fighter for any given fight.
Paulo Costa vs. Marvin Vettori
Mookie Alexander: Costa is probably going to go KO or bust in this fight and I lean towards bust. Also, Costa may have the heavier hands but I don’t think he’s the more durable fighter here. Vettori hasn’t been knocked out and we’ve seen Costa get whooped by Adesanya and definitely hurt by both Yoel Romero and Uriah Hall in his wins. I think Vettori ends up just fighting a smarter fight and will use his wrestling to put Costa on his back as he tires. Marvin Vettori by unanimous decision.
Dayne Fox: In my opinion, this fight comes down to a single fulcrum: Vettori’s durability. Vettori has never been finished in his career. There wouldn’t be an ounce of surprise if Costa is the first man to do it, but I can’t help but question his motivation. Vettori doesn’t get outworked. He was certainly outslicked by Adesanya, but I wouldn’t say outworked. Costa could very well overwhelm Vettori with his power, but he won’t outslick him and he certainly won’t outwork him. In fact, Costa hasn’t proven he can go five rounds. He did push three hard rounds against Romero, but his motivation was readily apparent. It’s much harder to see this time around. Vettori via submission of RD4
Victor Rodriguez: The two dumbest cats in possibly all of MMA are facing each other and this weight debacle is clearly the perfect clownshoes phenomena we deserve. I’m not worried about the weight affecting anyone’s performance as this all appears to be a ploy, and I doubt there’s any mind games being played because they’re both terrible at that. This leaves us with what they do best, Costa blitzing and blazing with his striking and pressure, Marvin putting on volume, closing the distance to negate damage. That’s also what leads to his clinchwork and fence attacks, which he’s very smart and economical about. I make fun of these cats all the live long day, but I credit Vettori for at least having some consistent fight IQ and taking damage like a champ. We’ve seen Costa run out of options and out of gas, and he reverts to a shell of himself. A guy that actually uses head movement and has really good cardio is going to be a concern for Costa, and Vettori is that guy. Marvin Vettori by decision.
Staff picking Costa:
Staff picking Vettori: Dayne, Mookie, Kristen, Stephie, Victor
Grant Dawson vs. Ricky Glenn
Mookie Alexander: This fight takes a bad turn for Ricky Glenn if he can’t deal with Dawson’s pressure and ends up on his back, but something tells me he can keep Dawson at range with his striking and outpoint him. Also he now goes by Ricky so maybe the change in how he wanted to be called has given him extra powers. Ricky Glenn by unanimous decision.
Dayne Fox: Unfortunately for Glenn, his Achilles heel has always been pressuring fighters looking to put him on his back; in other words, fighters exactly like Dawson. If the power Glenn flashed when he disposed of Joaquim Silva reappears, this fight will have an entirely different feel. The problem is that’s about the only time Glenn has displayed that type of power. Glenn is hard to put away, so expect Dawson to grind out a decision, provided he doesn’t slow the deeper the fight goes. Dawson via decision
Victor Rodriguez: I worry that for all of Glenn’s veteran savvy he might spend too much time on his back. He’s another lanky striker that can use range, but Dawson might outwork him inside and make that damage add up as well. Grant Dawson by decision.
Staff picking Dawson: Dayne, Kristen, Victor
Staff picking Glenn: Mookie, Stephie
Jessica-Rose Clark vs. Joselyne Edwards
Mookie Alexander: Edwards’ power on the feet and constant search for offense makes her a serious threat. But her takedown defense is so lacking that if Clark is anything closer to what she was before the knee injury, she will play it safe and get this fight to the ground and keep it there. Jessica-Rose Clark by unanimous decision.
Dayne Fox: There’s no doubt Joselyne Edwards will have a significant edge on the feet, but her lanky frame isn’t ideal for stopping takedowns. Her wrestling was merely adequate on the regional scene; it’s flat out bad by UFC standards. Edwards’ BJJ is sound enough that she has excellent survival skills on the mat, but surviving doesn’t win fights. Edwards easily wins a strict kickboxing contest, but the gritty Clark isn’t helpless on the feet herself and will do everything in her power to muddy things up. The guess here is she succeeds. Clark via decision
Victor Rodriguez: Edwards is good, but I’m not sure I’m 100% sold on her yet for a fight like this. Clark can mix things up more effectively but will struggle to take Edwards down. Clark can still slow things down a bit to fit her pace and keep things in her preferred range standing. Her ability to get in and out is the big one here, and I’m guessing her movement and speed will fluster Edwards. Jessica-Rose Clark by decision.
Staff picking Clark: Dayne, Mookie, Kristen, Victor
Staff picking Edwards: Stephie
Alex Caceres vs. Seung Woo Choi
Mookie Alexander: Caceres has been on a good run and he has a path to victory if he can make Choi grapple with him, but I think that’s easier said than done. Choi also hits really damn hard (albeit not Doo Ho Choi levels of KO power) and figures to have the edge in the striking. Caceres is historically hard to put away so I think Choi just has more offense but not enough to get the knockout. Seung Woo Choi by unanimous decision.
Dayne Fox: The South Korean native is built like a brick house and hits like a truck. Choi’s ground game still has plenty of questions that haven’t proven to be shored up – in part because his takedown defense has shown improvement – and he can be hesitant on the feet. Regardless, I don’t believe Caceres has the physicality to make his ground game a real threat to Choi. It’s a hard one to pick, but I like the younger fighter to hurt Caceres on several occasions, but having trouble putting him away. Choi via decision
Victor Rodriguez: Thing is, I still think that the flypaper submission grappling and control that Caceres brings is going to rear its head and Choi might not be able to get his game off. Got a hunch that will matter here. Caceres by submission.
Staff picking Caceres: Kristen, Victor
Staff picking Choi: Dayne, Mookie, Stephie
Francisco Trinaldo vs. Dwight Grant
Mookie Alexander: Grant likes to get into wars and Trinaldo is someone who has never been knocked out. Ehhh… maybe there’s a first time for everything given Trinaldo is 43 years old. Dwight Grant by TKO, round 2.
Dayne Fox: Trinaldo has been exceptionally durable – he hasn’t been finished with strikes in his near-decade in the UFC – but is also 43. At some point, the wheels will come off. There are signs that process has already begun. Grant is no spring chicken either at 37, but he doesn’t have nearly the mileage Trinaldo does and has also shown some durability, though he doesn’t have the track record of Trinaldo in that sense. Given this contest feels a lot like a coin flip, I’ll go with the younger fighter, though I wouldn’t be throwing money on the fight. Grant via decision.
Victor Rodriguez: Trinaldo is 137 years old and I got a soft spot for these old bastards. You know what it is. Francisco Trinlado by decision.
Staff picking Trinaldo: Kristen, Victor
Staff picking Grant: Dayne, Mookie
Nicolae Negumereanu vs. Ike Villanueva
Mookie Alexander: This is a ridiculous fight to put on the main card. Ike Villanueva by TKO, round 1.
Dayne Fox: The young Romanian has a long reach and showed major strides in his ground game, but is still far from being a finished product. On the flip side, Ike Villanueva is a finished product. The longtime regional journeyman is lacking in physical gifts, but all his experience has made him a dangerous man to stand and trade with. Of course, standing and trading is about all Villanueva wants to do and his lack of athletic gifts makes him a sitting duck in the pocket in terms of his defense. Even worse, all the miles on his body appears to have made him vulnerable to getting away. Regardless, Negumereanu doesn’t have the same power as those who have been finishing off the rugged vet and there is just as strong of an argument that Negumereanu’s defense is worse. I’ll go with the aging vet to find an opening. Villanueva via TKO of RD2
Victor Rodriguez: I frankly don’t trust the guy that’s more tentative here. Villanueva has firepower and isn’t afraid to use it. Ike Villanueva by TKO.
Staff picking Negumereanu:
Staff picking Villanueva: Dayne, Mookie, Kristen, Victor
This poll is closed