The BE team has made its predictions for UFC Vegas 43, and we are unanimously picking Miesha Tate over Ketlen Vieira. Don’t give me that “Bloody Elbow curse” nonsense when Max Holloway won last week against Yair Rodriguez. For the co-main event we are very much split on the welterweight bout between unbeaten Sean Brady and Michael Chiesa.
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.
Miesha Tate vs. Ketlen Vieira
Mookie Alexander: I am still very much skeptical of Tate’s push to get one last title shot, but she looked good against Marion Reneau and even when she retired it didn’t look like she rapidly became a shot fighter who’d taken too much damage. Vieira’s performance against Yana Kunitskaya was absolutely abysmal and I have to think the weight miss had some impact. Her cardio through 15 minutes was not good and she did almost less than nothing with her takedowns. I can’t see her holding up in a five-rounder unless this is a slow-paced kickboxing match the whole way, and I doubt that’s what materializes. Vieira’s TDD has historically been excellent but Tate will definitely test her on that front. I think Tate will be able to wear Vieira down over the course of the fight and outgrapple her en route to a stoppage. Miesha Tate by submission, round 4.
Dayne Fox (from preview): Given Tate has always had to get by more on guts and guile than physical gifts, even when it comes to her bread and butter wrestling, there was a time where I could have been convinced Vieira should be the favorite in this contest. However, Vieira missed weight in her last contest and her gas tank looked severely compromised. This is going to be a five-round fight. Even when Tate closed out her first UFC run in miserable fashion, her conditioning didn’t appear to be an issue and if her social media is any indication, she’s never been in better shape than she is now. Outside of an early finish, I don’t see Vieira taking this. Tate via TKO of RD5
Staff picking Tate: Mookie, Dayne, Stephie, Victor, Zane, Connor
Staff picking Vieira:
Michael Chiesa vs. Sean Brady
Mookie Alexander: This fight is ridiculously good. Chiesa has the ability to outgrapple damn near anyone but he’s also very liable to get caught out of position and then submitted himself. The longer this stays on the feet, even with Chiesa’s improvements as a striker, the more likely Brady can take this pretty decisively. On the ground I think it’s really hard to predict. Brady looked like a prodigious talent… but going from Jake Matthews and Christian Aguilera up to Michael Chiesa is a massive leap. He’s got a tremendous ability to get into a dominant position and I think that while Brady looks to be an excellent scrambler, Chiesa will be able to match him and then some. Michael Chiesa by unanimous decision.
Dayne Fox (from preview): I make my pick with no confidence. Chiesa has entered fights with doubts about how he’ll do on the mat with several opponents only to go out and have his way with them. However, Brady feels like a different animal than anything Chiesa has faced, someone who Chiesa matches up poorly against. Chiesa could easily take a round or two if he can find Brady’s back in a scramble – perhaps even end the fight – but Brady’s grappling fundamentals don’t get enough attention. I also question how Chiesa will respond if things don’t go his way early. He has panicked in the past when he suffers a small momentum swing against him. It’s a fantastic matchup by the matchmakers, but I’m leaning ever so slightly towards the less proven commodity. Brady via decision
Staff picking Chiesa: Mookie, Stephie, Victor
Staff picking Brady: Dayne, Zane, Connor
Rani Yahya vs. Kyung Ho Kang
Mookie Alexander: I don’t have a strong memory as to why I picked Yahya when this fight first got booked and then cancelled but I might as well stick with it. If this fight has any sort of pace to it then Yahya is going to lose. But if it’s on his terms he can get one more vintage performance against someone who tends to be a willing grappler. Rani Yahya by unanimous decision.
Dayne Fox (from preview): Kang hasn’t been seen in two years, so it’s fair to question if he’ll look the same as he is now 34. If he does resemble the same fighter, it’s doubtful Yahya will find much success in securing takedowns as Kang is built like a brick house. Of course, Kang’s striking is somewhat limited, but not nearly as much as Yahya’s. Provided Kang can keep the fight standing, the fight is his for the taking. Provided he survives the inevitable early onslaught from Yahya – who will even try pulling guard — I think Kang succeeds in taking the win. Kang via decision
Staff picking Yahya: Mookie
Staff picking Kang: Dayne, Stephie, Victor, Zane, Connor
Joanne Wood vs. Taila Santos
Mookie Alexander: Is there a more inconsistent volume striker than Wood? Which is to say she tends to land a lot of significant strikes in her fights but that volume just randomly disappears for entire rounds. Santos carries considerable power with her punches and she’s more than capable of outwrestling JoJo. This just seems like a bad matchup with a clear outcome. Taila Santos by unanimous decision.
Dayne Fox (from preview): The concern about Wood when she moved up in weight was how she would deal with the physicality of her opponents. While her takedown defense has exceeded the expectations of most, it’s still somewhat shallow, opponents willing to make the second and third efforts within a takedown attempt able to find success. What has been even more worrisome is Wood’s inability to get back to her feet once taken down. Thus, I completely understand the betting odds tilting as heavily as they do in favor of Santos. Wood does have a route to victory if she can rack up enough volume before being taken down, but I’ve been too impressed with Santos’ fight IQ to see that happening. Santos via decision
Staff picking Wood:
Staff picking Santos: Mookie, Dayne, Stephie, Victor, Zane, Connor
Davey Grant vs. Adrian Yanez
Mookie Alexander: I probably would’ve picked Yanez without hesitation if not for Grant’s serious improvements as a striker. We know him more for what he can do on the ground and certainly in the Marlon Vera fight he displayed how much punishment he can take against someone of Vera’s caliber. Yanez is a sharp puncher so I’m not sure Grant would be advised to go into prolonged exchanges with the more consistently powerful and faster guy, but in singular exchanges I can see Grant having moments on the feet that lead to him getting the fight to the mat. I don’t know. This is a toss-up to me and it’s hard to pick. Davey Grant by unanimous decision.
Dayne Fox (from preview): Getting the fight to the ground for Grant will be easier said than done as Yanez has made huge strides in his takedown defense from his days on the regional scene. On the feet, Yanez is able to do things others can’t due to his incredible hand speed and innate ability to make reads. Despite Grant’s improvements on the feet, it’s hard not to favor Yanez. Grant is tough, but Yanez is looking better with every fight and it’s hard to believe his speed advantage doesn’t create a short night for the two of them. Yanez via KO of RD2
Staff picking Grant: Mookie, Stephie, Victor, Zane
Staff picking Yanez: Dayne, Connor
This poll is closed