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UFC Vegas 39: Dern vs. Rodriguez staff picks and predictions

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Read the Bloody Elbow staff’s picks and predictions for UFC Vegas 39.

The Bloody Elbow team has made its predictions for UFC Vegas 39, and everyone except Victor Rodriguez is going with Mackenzie Dern over Marina Rodriguez in the main event. We’re unanimous for the co-main between Randy Brown and Jared Gooden, with the latter missing weight badly.

Felipe Colares vs. Chris Gutierrez was bumped to the main card following the cancellation of Phil Hawes vs. Deron Winn.

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.

Mackenzie Dern vs. Marina Rodriguez

Zane Simon: To date, Marina Rodriguez’s takedown defending instincts just haven’t been great. Most women are such lights out finishers on the mat that that’s a huge problem. She’s developed a great reputation for battling her way back into fights after getting swamped for a round or so on the floor. But, Dern is a fighter that will not let opponents afford those kinds of mistakes. She’s too precise, too technical, and too aggressive. If Rodriguez lets Dern get the takedown in round 1, this fight is gonna be over in round 1. Mackenzie Dern via submission, Round 1.

Mookie Alexander: Rodriguez has a clear edge in striking that gives her a path to victory. That’s the problem. She has a singular path to victory and if that doesn’t work then her glaring weakness defending takedowns will be exploited by Dern. What Mackenzie showed against Nunes was her improved ability to blend her striking into her grappling. She won’t be an amazing striker but she does have power that should be respected, and Rodriguez just concedes takedowns too often for me to believe she won’t be put on her back and subbed by Dern at some point. Mackenzie Dern by submission, round 2.

Staff picking Dern: Mookie, Dayne, Stephie, Zane, Connor
Staff picking Rodriguez: Victor

Randy Brown vs. Jared Gooden

Zane Simon: Brown is simply just a better fighter. He’s a cleaner boxer at range, a better grappler, and maybe even a better wrestler. He’s got better defensive movement and is likely faster too. Gooden is determined and will march him down whatever the cost, but that just makes me think Brown wins by violent finish. Randy Brown via TKO, round 1.

Mookie Alexander: Gooden was competing for his job in his last fight. This is probably going to be fun for however long it lasts but I’m pretty sure Brown is just going to piece him up and knock him out. This is honestly a step down for Brown after the win vs. Alex Oliveira and just his general run of form over his last four bouts. Randy Brown by TKO, round 2.

Staff picking Brown: Mookie, Dayne, Zane, Stephie, Connor, Victor
Staff picking Gooden:

Tim Elliott vs. Matheus Nicolau

Zane Simon: I’m probably depending too much on the idea of James Krause having helped Elliott turn a corner, but I really like the focus and determination that’s come into his game in the past couple fights. He’s always seemed like a guy who just runs out of ideas in the cage after pouring everything out in the first round. If he can keep that in check, then I think he can force a lot of grappling out of Nicolau, where his pace and mad scrambling can win him rounds. Tim Elliott by decision.

Mookie Alexander: Nicolau got a gift vs. Kape but in general he’s still a really good fighter who should’ve never been cut in the first place. Elliott looks great since hooking up with James Krause, so I’m taking a bit of a gamble in picking Nicolau. I’m essentially going the opposite of Zane by saying Nicolau will outstrike Elliott and be able to avoid extended grappling and scrambling exchanges with Tim to win a decision. Matheus Nicolau by unanimous decision.

Staff picking Elliott: Zane, Stephie, Victor
Staff picking Nicolau: Mookie, Dayne, Connor

Sabina Mazo vs. Mariya Agapova

Mookie Alexander: I totally thought this was at bantamweight for some reason. Well that’s embarrassing. Agapova’s loss to Shana Dobson is frankly all I needed to be swayed to pick Mazo. Sabina has the higher upside and I just wish she’d throw more. Sabina Mazo by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: To Mookie’s credit, Mazo did try BW for a half second, before deciding to head back to 125. But that just means she’ll probably have some decent size on Agapova who is tall and long, but otherwise pretty reedy, even at 125. I expect Agapova to start hot, maybe even take Mazo down early and get her back. But Mazo has shown excellent survival skills on the mat so far. And Agapova’s self destruction in her last fight (and reportedly wild personality out of the cage) don’t give me much sense that she’ll be able to keep up if she doesn’t get the win immediately. Sabina Mazo by decision.

Staff picking Mazo: Mookie, Dayne, Zane, Stephie, Connor, Victor
Staff picking Agapova:

Chris Gutierrez vs. Felipe Colares

Zane Simon: Colares’ whole thing is his ability to survive insane amounts of damage before coming back to force a constant brawl on his opponent. That’s a great plan for beating Luke Sanders, who seems to lose focus as fights go on, but Gutierrez is a purely neutralizing force inside the cage. His game is all about working kicks and jabs off his back foot, taking what the opponent gives him, and never putting himself in danger. Against a fighter like Colares, that should mean a whole lot of opportunities for success. Chris Gutierrez by decision.

Mookie Alexander: Gutierrez is gonna be doing some leg-chopping on Saturday night. Chris Gutierrez by TKO, round 3.

Staff picking Gutierrez: Mookie, Dayne, Zane, Connor, Stephie
Staff picking Colares:

Poll

Who wins?

This poll is closed

  • 76%
    Mackenzie Dern
    (260 votes)
  • 23%
    Marina Rodriguez
    (80 votes)
340 votes total Vote Now