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UFC Vegas 19: Blaydes vs. Lewis staff picks and predictions

Check out the Bloody Elbow staff’s picks and predictions for UFC Vegas 19: ‘BLAYDES VS LEWIS’ .

Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

We have made our picks for UFC Vegas 19 and as expected it’s a clean sweep in favor of Curtis Blaydes over Derrick Lewis in the main event. As for the co-main event, the same applies to favorite Ketlen Vieira over Yana Kunitskaya. Vieira did miss weight but there doesn’t seem to be any correlation between missing weight and winning or losing fights at a disproportionate rate.

Just a reminder that as is the plan moving forward for most Fight Night shows, we are limiting our predictions to just the main card and any notable prelims, in this instance Arlovski vs. Aspinall and Klose vs. Pena.

Curtis Blaydes vs. Derrick Lewis

Mookie Alexander: This may look a little bit closer to Cormier vs. Lewis than any other Lewis fight where he gets taken down and avoids getting finished before plucking some amazing win out of thin air. Blaydes has excellent ground-and-pound and while there is the risk of him tiring like he did against Alexander Volkov, but it’s not like Lewis is some beacon of excellent cardio. Lewis has the power to wipe out Blaydes but Curtis is clearly the better fighter and his top pressure and grappling should be too much for Derrick to consistently handle. Curtis Blaydes by TKO, round 2.

Zane Simon: There’s no question Lewis has a real chance in this fight. If Blaydes struggles at all to get him down in open space, then Lewis has true one-shot KO power. And even if Blaydes does succeed getting Lewis down, as I expect he will over and over again, we’ve seen the ‘Black Beast’ survive off his back against plenty of opponents only to rally for a late knockout victory. Just put both men’s bout with Alexander Volkov side by side. Lewis got dominated throughout and still came back for the win. Blaydes dominated early and almost let Volkov come back for the win. If Lewis gets that same kind of chance, he’s got much better odds of turning it into something spectacular. Still... all that is predicated on a fight that I think Blaydes dominates early and to huge success. And while he is calm off his back, Lewis isn’t the world’s most durable, least hurt-able heavyweight. So I gotta pick Blaydes. He’ll likely have all the momentum he wants early. It’s just about holding on to it. Curtis Blaydes via TKO, round 3.

Staff picking Blaydes: Mookie, Stephie, Zane, Dayne
Staff picking Lewis:

Ketlen Vieira vs. Yana Kunitskaya

Mookie Alexander: I don’t think Kunitskaya is really physical enough to consistently have success at the top-level of this division. Vieira is a good striker and is the favorite to outgrapple her if it goes to the ground. Ketlen Vieira by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: Neither woman is quite as comfortable as they should be at range, given their frames. But Vieira is generally the much more composed fighter from distance. She counters consistently and hard, has decent timing, and is willing to stay at the edge of the pocket if she feels she has an advantage. Kunitskaya is far more likely to just rush the clinch and try to pin her on the fence. Given Vieira’s size and physicality, however - and the fact that she’s the better grappler and maybe even the better wrestler - I just don’t think that’s going to be an easy avenue to victory. I expect this could be an ugly grind at times as Kunitskaya tries to keep it in control, but I’m picking Ketlen Vieira to have the bigger moments when it comes to the judges scorecards. Ketlen Vieira by decision.

Staff picking Vieira: Mookie, Stephie, Zane, Dayne
Staff picking Kunitskaya:

Charles Rosa vs. Darrick Minner

Mookie Alexander: Minner is likely going to fight the way Rosa wants him to, which could make this a sneaky FOTN contender. However, you have to be a really high-level grappler to get the better of Charles Rosa on the mat, and if Minner’s aggressive submission hunting backfires it will cost him position, cost him rounds, and likely the fight. Charles Rosa by submission, round 2.

Zane Simon: Darrick Minner is going to be one of those fighters that’ll have to constantly prove he can make the cut, even when he gets some decent wins. His style is so built around taking big risks for big rewards. He throws with abandon early, looking to bait opponents into shooting on him, then jumps on submission attempts at each and every opportunity. When they work, he wins. When they don’t work, though? Minner’s got a lot of losses in fights where he seemed to gas quickly and give up lots of top control. Even against a funky, kick heavy fighter who likes to play guard the way Rosa does, I still have more faith in Rosa’s game then I do Minner’s. Could be a big mess, but I expect Rosa to keep his awkward output going for three rounds, and I’m not sure Minner’s got that in him. Charles Rosa by decision.

Staff picking Rosa: Mookie, Stephie, Zane, Dayne
Staff picking Minner:

Aleksei Oleinik vs. Chris Daukaus

Mookie Alexander: Oleinik is 1,700 years old and his chin is failing him. That could be dangerous against Daukaus and his powerful striking. But if this hits the ground and it almost inevitably will, Oleinik should have this in the bag with either a normal submission or one of his “how did he do that?” chokes. Aleksei Oleinik by submission, round 1.

Zane Simon: It’s not hard to see a world where Daukaus comes out, lands a 3 piece on Oleinik and the fight is done. But, I’m not convinced he handles pressure nearly as well as he handles getting to pressure. And if nothing else, Oleinik almost always starts hot with lots of big punches into clinch exchanges. If he does that, will Daukaus avoid all the traps that have befallen so many other fighters? I just haven’t seen enough from him to convince me. So I’ll pick Aleksei Oleinik by submission, round 1. But if he gives Daukaus lots of space and respect, this could go the other way in a hurry.

Staff picking Oleinik: Mookie, Dayne, Zane
Staff picking Daukaus: Stephie

Phil Hawes vs. Nassourdine Imavov

Mookie Alexander: Hawes hits hard and he finally seems to be putting together a more complete game like was expected at the start of his career. Imavov is big for the weight class but he’s not the better athlete nor is he more powerful.

Zane Simon: Hawes has some gaps if Imavov can take him deep into the fight. But so much of Imavov’s own regional success has come from him out-wrestling people when the pressure gets too high, that I really don’t feel comfortable picking him to get the victory here. Hawes is just too strong, too fast, and too good on the mats for Imavov to find an easy path to victory. Phil Hawes via TKO, round 1.

Staff picking Hawes: Mookie, Stephie, Dayne, Zane
Staff picking Imavov:

Andrei Arlovski vs. Tom Aspinall

Mookie Alexander: This has serious “bad fight, close decision” vibes written all over it. Not for anything pertaining to Aspinall, but mostly because a lot of Arlovski fights look like that these days, and he’s not so washed up that he’ll get run over by just any prospect. Tom Aspinall by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: I ALMOST picked Arlovski here. Aspinall hasn’t shown much beyond his boxing game and we’ve seen Arlovski in against a lot of heavyweights who can’t offer him diversity, and lately he’s been winning those bouts, through sheer patience and determination. Aspinall absolutely seems like he could fail to find an early finish and be quickly out of his depth. But, unlike Lins and Boser, Aspinall does seem like a very confident combination puncher. And if he’s willing to stay in Arlovski’s face and keep his hands flying, then he’s got a path to a win even without a KO or a great top game. It could be something nip-tuck like Arlovski vs. Tuivasa or Sakai, but I’ll lean on Aspinall’s youth and aggression to get him through. Tom Aspinall by decision.

Staff picking Arlovski:
Staff picking Aspinall: Stephie, Dayne, Mookie, Zane

Drakkar Klose vs. Luis Pena

Mookie Alexander: I think the book is out on Pena now. He’s still a very very awkward and not particularly powerful striker who can be outmuscled at his own game. Klose is nothing flashy and nothing spectacular but he’s rugged, faster, throws harder, and wrestles better. This is a very favorable matchup for him. Drakkar Klose by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: I just don’t trust Pena to keep enough of a pace standing to edge out the action against Klose. Klose’s pressure into a constant clinch is made to win rounds in a way that Pena’s patient out-fighting just isn’t. Drakkar Klose by decision.

Staff picking Klose: Mookie, Stephie, Dayne, Zane
Staff picking Pena:


Who wins?

This poll is closed

  • 59%
    Curtis Blaydes
    (403 votes)
  • 40%
    Derrick Lewis
    (271 votes)
674 votes total Vote Now

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