The Bloody Elbow team has made its predictions for UFC Vegas 45, and there’s a split in the main event between Derrick Lewis and Chris Daukaus. Only Victor Rodriguez is picking Belal Muhammad in the co-main event over Stephen Thompson.
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.
Derrick Lewis vs. Chris Daukaus
Mookie Alexander: Yeah this is a fight that is really not easy to pick. Daukaus is fast for his size and he hits extremely hard, and Lewis isn’t exactly someone with an indestructible chin. But the problem with picking Derrick Lewis bouts is that 9 times out of 10 you can throw sensible analysis out the door. It truly only takes one moment for Lewis to turn an L into a W. So yeah, Daukaus should win but he’s also not really fought anyone with Lewis’ power and I think he’s going to get clipped at some point. Derrick Lewis by KO, round 2.
Dayne Fox (from preview): The motivations of Lewis is another question that has been bantered about. He’s now lost two title fights and appears likely to settle into a role of a gatekeeper. Does he have the desire to continue to put in the effort to fight at a high level. I say yes. Lewis has been more concerned about lining his bank account throughout his career more so than becoming champion. Lewis is in a prime opportunity to secure a Performance bonus. Daukaus is tough, but he has been KO’d. Perhaps Daukaus can surprise Lewis with a flurry and wear down the big man, but it takes a LOT to wear down the big man and he tends to get in a big shot or two before all is over. Sure, he didn’t get that against Ciryl Gane, but Daukaus isn’t the striking technician Gane is. I think Lewis finds the big shot he’ll be looking for. Lewis via KO of RD2
Staff picking Lewis: Dayne, Mookie, Victor
Staff picking Daukaus: Stephie, Zane, Connor
Stephen Thompson vs. Belal Muhammad
Mookie Alexander: Muhammad loves to pressure but he also isn’t the type of big puncher to really make Wonderboy hesitant to throw strikes. No doubt he’ll look for takedowns but Wonderboy is historically pretty hard to takedown unless you’re a top-flight wrestler, so I think Wonderboy is going to be comfortable countering Muhammad with kicks and jabs and doing enough to win rounds. The dynamic changes if Muhammad can consistently take Thompson down but otherwise this will be Stephen Thompson by unanimous decision.
Dayne Fox (from preview): I love rooting for intelligent fighters and Muhammad is an exceptionally intelligent fighter. He doesn’t lose based on his own mistakes. For him, it boils down to whether he has the physical capabilities to carry out his strategy. I don’t think he can against Thompson. Those who have beaten Thompson – aside from Matt Brown nearly a decade ago – have all been explosive athletes who can stun him with a single strike or nail a quick takedown. I haven’t seen that capability out of the workmanlike Muhammad. Thompson via decision
Staff picking Thompson: Dayne, Mookie, Stephie, Zane
Staff picking Muhammad: Connor, Victor
Amanda Lemos vs. Angela Hill
Mookie Alexander: This is a trickier fight than our picks suggest. Hill throws with great volume and might even have the offensive wrestling to impact Lemos’ punishing offense. No doubt that Amanda is the heavier hitter but Hill will push a pace and test her cardio in ways other opponents haven’t. What gives me pause as far as picking Hill is her lack of serious punching power, which means even if she slugs it out with Lemos the one more likely to be in danger of getting hurt is Hill. I’m going with Lemos but Hill has a real chance to pull off the upset. Amanda Lemos by unanimous decision.
Dayne Fox (from preview): Hill has never been KO’d in her MMA career, but there are two things that concern me. First, Hill is no defensive savant. She’ll be there for Lemos to touch up, especially early in the fight. Secondly, Hill has been involved in several brutal slugfests against some of the more reputed heavy hitters in the division. Jessica Andrade. Cortney Casey. Claudia Gadelha. It’s hard to believe her chin can continue to hold up as she inches into her late 30’s. It’s not an exact science by any means, but if someone is going to crack Hill’s chin, there is an exceptionally good chance it’ll be Lemos. Lemos via KO of RD1
Staff picking Lemos: Dayne, Mookie, Stephie, Zane, Connor
Staff picking Hill: Victor
Raphael Assuncao vs. Ricky Simon
Mookie Alexander: If this fight was three or four years ago I’d pick Assuncao, but he’s 39 now and it’s clear he’s lost a step or two. The only concern I have for Simon is his constant aggression could get punished the same way it did against Faber, but otherwise he’s probably going to wear Assuncao out as the fight progresses. Simon doesn’t really have the striking power to overwhelm Assuncao but he’s a quality scrambler and that will be huge in minimizing the threat of Assuncao’s grappling. Ricky Simon by unanimous decision.
Dayne Fox (from preview): Two years ago, I’d be picking Assuncao with little hesitation, taking advantage with Simon’s aggressive tendencies. However, it’s not 2019 anymore. Simon has shown maturity in his approach, showing profound respect for the grappling of Brian Kelleher in his last contest in a way that caught some off-guard given all the takedowns he did land. There’s no reason to expect he wouldn’t be able to instill a similar approach against Assuncao. Couple that with the strides Simon has made on the feet and Assuncao struggling to dictate the pace of a fight as well as he once upon a time could and I see the younger fighter running roughshod on the fading veteran. Simon via decision
Staff picking Assuncao:
Staff picking Simon: Dayne, Mookie, Stephie, Zane, Connor
Diego Ferreira vs. Mateusz Gamrot
Mookie Alexander: Gamrot is not only more well rounded but Ferreira’s conditioning is a massive red flag given his last couple of fights. Mateusz Gamrot by unanimous decision.
Dayne Fox (from preview): In terms of a pure grappling match, I’d give a sizeable edge to Ferreira. However, this is MMA and there are several other aspects of the fight game to consider. Gamrot is the cleaner striker, traditionally operating behind his jab. Ferreira has been more consistent in displaying his power and Gamrot’s chin appears to be crackable, though it hasn’t been cracked yet. Regardless, Gamrot’s wrestling is far superior to Ferreira’s and his ability to chain takedowns together should prove problematic for Ferreira. Gamrot via decision
Staff picking Ferreira:
Staff picking Gamrot: Dayne, Mookie, Stephie, Zane, Connor, Victor
Cub Swanson vs. Darren Elkins
Mookie Alexander: Oh man, do I doubt Darren Elkins’ ability to rally from terrible spots to win again? I do so at my own peril. Swanson is still a very good grappler and Elkins is going to be at a disadvantage on the feet. I won’t let the Chikadze outcome erase the fact that Cub looked really good against Kron Gracie and Daniel Pineda. Cub Swanson by unanimous decision.
Dayne Fox (from preview): Elkins can be outslicked. It’s extremely hard to do, but he can be stopped. However, Elkins’ spirit can’t be broken. Several years ago, I would have had no doubt that Swanson would be able to outwork Elkins on the feet and avoid Elkins’ takedowns. I don’t know if he can do that anymore, especially given Swanson appears to be showing more signs of age than Elkins, no surprise given he has more consistently fought a higher level of competition. Elkins via decision
Staff picking Swanson: Mookie, Zane, Connor
Staff picking Elkins: Dayne, Stephie, Victor
This poll is closed