The Bloody Elbow team has made its predictions for UFC Vegas 25 and there’s a slight lean towards Jiri Prochazka winning tomorrow’s main event over Dominick Reyes. In the co-main event we’re leaning Cub Swanson over Giga Chikadze. We have not one clean sweep on the main card which is good to see.
Since this is a Fight Night show it’s just main card picks.
Mookie Alexander: It’s tempting to pick Reyes. Prochazka can have a lot of ugly moments leading up to his eventual soul-snatching KO wins and I don’t think that is sustainable in the UFC… but it’s light heavyweight so maybe he can just keep doing that until he wins the belt. Both men have serious knockout power and are not defensive masters so I can’t confidently go either direction. Reyes has that wicked uppercut that I love so much and Prochazka has so many diverse ways to finish fighters. Prochazka has never been 25 minutes but Reyes noticeably faded against Jon Jones in his one 25-minute bout, but I’m not expecting this to go the distance. I suspect that Reyes will have the better minute to minute success but Prochazka is going to spark him out in the blink of an eye. Jiri Prochazka by TKO, round 2.
David Castillo: I criticize Reyes a lot because I don’t think he’s who he’s marketed to be, and wasn’t impressed by Jones or Reyes in their controversial bout. But this will be a good test to see if Reyes is not that far away from being the vaunted ‘counterstriker’ he’s often propped up as. For one, Prochazka’s defense should be easy enough for Reyes to cut through. Unlike most fighters who keep their hands low, Jiri gets hit a lot coming in. But his long, clean jab and those dirty uppercuts are gonna be trouble for Reyes. For that reason, this fight is a coin flip. Most light heavyweights can’t deal with a southpaw. Jiri is the rare opponent who will just fight through these stylistic challenges. The only caveat here is that the fight favors Reyes the longer it goes. And while Jiri clearly has power, a lot of his knockouts have come against weaker competition, with the exception being Oezdemir, who has proven to be crackable. Dominick Reyes by Decision.
Zane Simon: This is such a rough fight for me to pick. My feeling is that the longer it goes, the more it favors Prochazka, who just seems absolutely relentless in his pursuit of creating striking exchanges. By the same token, the way Prochazka squares himself stepping into range early leaves him wide open for big counter shots from the start. I think it’s a lack of control over range that will really favor Reyes, who does a great job against opponents who can’t match his jab and kicking game easily. I’m picking Reyes to get the early finish, off that. But if he doesn’t Prochazka’s willingness to create more and more ugly exchanges, along with crippling power, likely take the fight late. Dominick Reyes via TKO, round 1.
Victor Rodriguez: Yes, Reyes has better combinations and a more composed striking. But I gotta ride with Jiri here. Jan found the off-switch, Jiri can find it, too. Besides, that kind of frenzied offense can throw a lot of guys off, so the sentimental pick here isn’t that insane. Jiri Prochazka by TKO.
Staff picking Reyes: David, Zane
Staff picking Prochazka: Mookie, Dayne, Stephie, Lewis, Victor
Mookie Alexander: Cub ain’t done just yet. If the Kron Gracie fight was sort of a shoulder shrug because outstriking a Gracie should not be some amazing accomplishment, the way he looked against Daniel Pineda was some vintage Cub Swanson. His offense was on point and he got his first knockout win in ages. Chikadze’s striking credentials are well established but he really has not fought great competition up to this point. He could still draw Swanson into the type of strike-for-strike war that I don’t think is ideal for Cub to engage in anymore, but I sense Swanson is going to mix things up by going for takedowns and using his grappling advantage to take the W. Cub Swanson by unanimous decision.
David Castillo: I never thought Cub looked done. His decline just happened to be subtle at a time when the competition wasn’t getting easier. He still has excellent single-strike entries supported by a well-rounded skillset. This is lowkey tough for Cub though. His instinct is to pace himself on the feet. Against Chikadze, that could be trouble. Not necessarily because Chikadze presents some supernatural threat, but because Chikadze is not obviously dangerous. A lot of his strikes, like question mark kicks, step-in knees, and front kicks could theoretically lull Swanson into a facepunching contest where he won’t feel threatened until it’s too late. Cub’s the better fighter, but the weird wrinkle in their stylistic clash might be the difference IMO. I know this is blasphemy. We all love Cub. But. Giga Chikadze by TKO, round 3.
Zane Simon: I’m not necessarily convinced that Chikadze’s power and accuracy will put any kind of scare into Cub, who tends to just bite down and throw harder in the face of striking adversity. But, I also have the feeling that Chikadze will be slick enough early on, and land clean enough, that he can steal the first couple rounds before Cub’s pace and aggression start getting to him. Might be a real hairy round 3 if Chikadze can’t put Cub away early, but I think he’ll keep things together well enough for the win. Giga Chikadze by decision.
Victor Rodriguez: Giga’s got a high-level striking background, a world-class training environment and proper development for a prospect. I’m actually quite shocked that the UFC has managed him so carefully and so well, and it’s a pleasant surprise. But Cub’s also tougher than a two dollar steak, training with Muñoz and Dillashaw in SoCal, and I just can’t pick against him. He’s such a mensch. Cub Swanson by decision.
Staff picking Swanson: Mookie, Dayne, Stephie, Lewis, Victor
Staff picking Chikadze: David, Zane
Ion Cutelaba vs. Dustin Jacoby
Mookie Alexander: Feels a bit chancy whenever picking against Cutelaba because he can just unleash so much violence so quickly… but he’s a glass cannon and tends to fall apart against more technical fighters. Jacoby fits that description of a more technical striker so… Dustin Jacoby by TKO, round 2.
David Castillo: Cutelaba could easily Hulk smash his way into victory, but Jacoby will offer him very little window to do so. Jacoby’s not a fighter who’s gonna lean in, or get careless, so I suspect it’ll be a technical display with Jacoby sitting back on his jab, check hook, and lead left. Dustin Jacoby by Decision.
Zane Simon: If Cutelaba comes out pressuring hard and looking to take Jacoby down in open space, he’s got a big chance to just bulldoze the kickboxer on his way to an early victory. But, Cutelaba does a lot of chasing standing up and is very willing to stick to prolonged standing exchanges even when they don’t favor him. Jacoby seems to be a little flighty when it comes to planting his feet and delivering strikes with power, but if he stays on his bike and keeps a jab in Cutelaba’s face, he can probably take the win. Dustin Jacoby by decision.
Victor Rodriguez: Jacoby is a different beast at 205, and much like Zane said, Ion gets flustered when he can’t land the big damage the way he wants in his exchanges. If he chases, he’ll get pieced up. If he gets too comfortable at range, he’ll get pieced up. It’ll have to depend on Cutelaba playing it smart and outworking Jacoby with wrestling. I just don’t see it. Dustin Jacoby by decision.
Staff picking Cutelaba: Dayne
Staff picking Jacoby: Mookie, David, Stephie, Zane, Victor
Krzysztof Jotko vs. Sean Strickland
Mookie Alexander: Jotko is just a guy to me. He’s clearly a good fighter but he’s rarely been outstanding and I don’t like his chances against Strickland’s boxing and ability to outmuscle him in the clinch. I believe Strickland is much better suited for 185 and it may help with his energy conservation as well as his willingness to throw more in volume. Sean Strickland by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: Jotko’s wrestling game hasn’t showed up lately like it did early in his UFC run. And as a striker he has a lot of trouble controlling extended exchanges when his opponent can eat his initial wild shots. Strickland is a very capable wrestler and grappler when he needs to be, and is otherwise just the kind of persistent striker that feels like he’ll give Jotko lots of trouble. Sean Strickland by decision.
Victor Rodriguez: I’m rooting for chaos. Sue me. Krzysztof Jotko by TKO.
Staff picking Jotko: Victor
Staff picking Strickland: Mookie, Dayne, David, Stephie, Zane
Merab Dvalishvili vs. Cody Stamann
Mookie Alexander: Stamann doesn’t have enough potent offense to really trouble Dvalishvili, who’s built like a tank and just throws people to the mat over and over. Even when that gets sniffed out like it largely did vs. John Dodson, his striking has improved enough that he can land some power shots and still prevail by being more active. Merab Dvalishvili by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: I’m not necessarily convinced that Dvalishvili will control Stamann for much of this fight, whether it’s on the ground or against the fence. But, as long as he can control the pace, I’m not sure it’ll matter. When confronted with athletes he doesn’t have a good physical edge over, Stamann tends to limit his offense and shell up into a more cautious, defensive game. If Dvalishvili keeps the pressure on and keeps Stamann on the back foot, I think he’ll take the decision. Merab Dvalishvili by decision.
Victor Rodriguez: Daddy’s just poisoning the well today, I do what I do purely out of spite. Cody Stamann by TKO.
Staff picking Dvalishvili: Mookie, Dayne, David, Stephie, Zane
Staff picking Stamann: Victor
Poliana Botelho vs. Luana Carolina
Mookie Alexander: Kind of an odd fight to put on the main card. Maybe they see this as two strikers who will be willing to exchange. I really don’t want to see either of them grapple so if it stays standing… I guess Botelho wins? Poliana Botelho by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: Botelho isn’t all that great at controlling the action in a fight, preferring big, single power kicks and punches, along with some very 50/50 grappling scrambles. But, Carolina’s defense is so wide open when she’s throwing in volume that I don’t think Botelho will be able to help but land big shots and get to control grappling positions. Poliana Botelho by TKO, round 2.
Victor Rodriguez: I’m curious as to whether or not Botelho could get outmuscled here, especially in the clinch. Poliana should have an advantage striking at range, but getting pressed against the fence could be a part that soaks up a lot of the fight time here. I don’t trust it. Luana Carolina by decision.
Staff picking Botelho: Mookie, Dayne, David, Zane
Staff picking Carolina: Stephie, Victor
This poll is closed