The Bloody Elbow team has made its main card (plus featured prelim) predictions for Saturday’s UFC Vegas 23 card, and we all believe Marvin Vettori will keep his winning streak going against short notice replacement Kevin Holland. As for the co-main, we favor Sodiq Yusuff to defeat Arnold Allen in a battle of featherweight prospects.
We should note that Nina Ansaroff’s name has been changed to her married name Nina Nunes, which was updated in the UFC database.
Additionally, for Fight Nights of this magnitude, it’s main card write-ups only with a featured prelim thrown in as a bonus.
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.
Mookie Alexander: I mean what’s to stop Vettori from outwrestling Holland? Kevin’s takedown defense is still not that great and that’s independent of how good Derek Brunson is as a wrestler. Holland’s striking footwork also got exposed badly against Brunson just by watching how often he’d throw himself out of position and into a clinch. Seems like Vettori can exploit this heavily and he’s also really durable. Holland can find random ways to finish fights like few others can but Vettori is the more consistent minute to minute fighter and I think he’ll just be too much for Kevin over 25 minutes. Marvin Vettori by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: More so even than against Derek Brusnon, Kevin Holland’s inability to consistently control the action of the fight feels like a real concern against Marvin Vettori. Vettori may not offer the most variety as a standup fighter in the world, but he’s the picture of consistency in the cage. He works a high pressure style, with solid striking output, behind good power off his southpaw stance. He can change things up and wrestle when needed to and is a nearly impossible fighter to take down or out-grapple. He’s also insanely durable. If Holland can stay outside, use his range and variety to pick at Vettori, he’ll find opportunities to land. But Holland has always been willing to close distance, clash, and tie up with opponents. He’s happy to give up bad positions with the idea that he can fight through them and create something later. At this level, against opponents this consistent, I just don’t think those later opportunities are going to show up often enough for him to get clear wins. Marvin Vettori by decision.
Staff picking Vettori: Zane, Mookie, Stephie, Connor, Dayne
Staff picking Holland:
Sodiq Yusuff vs. Arnold Allen
Mookie Alexander: The lack of interest in Allen makes one conclude that he is a victim of his own lack of being great at any one area. That’s a shame because he’s a damn good fighter and is pretty composed and measured in his in-fight decision making. He really might be the more well-rounded fighter than Yusuff but he’s less dangerous in terms of power and ability to trade shots in the pocket. Yusuff also has a speed advantage and if the fight goes the way I think it will, we’ll see a lot more striking than wrestling or grappling and Yusuff will land the bigger shots to get the W. Sodiq Yusuff by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: This feels like a bit of a chancy pick to me, since I expect Allen will let Yusuff have the pressure and pace he wants to start this fight. But when Yusuff does get to pressure, he often opens himself up for hard counters and has been hurt several times in bouts as a result. Given Allen’s decent work off his back foot, his strong jab, and his improved counter boxing, I think he can catch Yusuff repeatedly coming in and get enough big moments throughout the fight to take a close win. But if Allen doesn’t make the best of those opportunities, Yusuff might really hurt him in the pocket. Arnold Allen by decision.
Staff picking Yusuff: Mookie, Stephie, Connor
Staff picking Allen: Zane, Dayne
Julian Marquez vs. Sam Alvey
Mookie Alexander: I might actually applaud Alvey if he makes a Julian Marquez fight bad. Julian Marquez by TKO, round 3.
Zane Simon: Marquez will probably walk straight into Sam Alvey’s counter hooks. But I don’t trust Alvey to throw enough of them to win, and Marquez’s chin has saved him often enough before. Julian Marquez via decision.
Staff picking Marquez: Zane, Mookie, Stephie, Connor, Dayne
Staff picking Alvey:
Nina Nunes vs. Mackenzie Dern
Mookie Alexander: Dern may have the power advantage on the feet but I doubt she’ll have improved her striking so much that she’ll be competitive with Nina. If this fight hits the ground at any point for any reason then Nunes will be in massive danger, especially since… well… Mackenzie Dern, but also she’s not really faced many serious submission specialists and indeed has never even faced a sub attempt in her UFC career. But Dern’s wrestling remains underwhelming and if that continues then Nunes will just pick her apart standing. Nina Nunes by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: There’s definitely a version of Nunes out there who has been easy to take down and could very quickly lose this fight. But, at least up until she took time off to have a kid, that version seemed like it was well into the past. Beyond that, Nunes is just a much much better striker than Dern and Dern’s wrestling game has yet to be a major factor in her bouts. Nina Nunes via TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Nunes: Zane, Mookie, Stephie, Dayne, Connor
Staff picking Dern:
Mike Perry vs. Daniel Rodriguez
Mookie Alexander: True story Mike Perry has no knockout wins since 2017 and has indeed been dropped more than he’s knocked his opponents down during that same time span. Maybe going to a real camp will improve him but he just looks like he’s regressed so much as a fighter that I feel like Rodriguez will survive some brawling moments and outstrike Perry for the W. Daniel Rodriguez by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: Mike Perry is spending time training at MMA Masters these days and hopefully that will make a major change in his pre-fight prep. Because if it doesn’t, he hasn’t looked like he has nearly the sharpness in his hands, nor the consistency of cardio necessary to win at a high level on the regular. Rodriguez will very likely offer up the kind of fight that Perry has won in the past through sheer power and determination. But until I actually see that version of him return, I’m not picking him to get the win. Daniel Rodriguez via decision.
Staff picking Perry:
Staff picking Rodriguez: Zane, Mookie, Stephie, Connor, Dayne
Jim Miller vs. Joe Solecki
Mookie Alexander: I’d love for Miller to win this. It’s his record-setting 37th UFC appearance and he’s been one hell of a fighter to watch. Unfortunately, Solecki is very likely to win a grappling-heavy matchup in which Miller will have trouble keeping his cardio up from round 2 onward. Miller could snatch a sub early but Solecki doesn’t seem like the type to fall into that trap. Joe Solecki by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: I expect Solecki to take the toughest path to victory against Miller, which is to tie up with him on the mat and give Miller a chance to hit the early sub. But, if Miller doesn’t win in the first, his cardio often fails him down the stretch. Solecki has looked like a very capable, positionally aware grappler thus far in his UFC tenure, so I’ll take him to ride out a tough round 1 on the way to a decision win. Joe Solecki by decision.
Staff picking Miller:
Staff picking Solecki: Zane, Mookie, Stephie, Connor, Dayne
This poll is closed