The Bloody Elbow team has made its predictions for Saturday’s UFC Vegas 27 card, and most of us are picking Rob Font to notch the biggest win of his career in his main event battle with former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt. As for the co-main event, the same applies for the staff leaning towards Yan Xiaonan over former strawweight champion Carla Esparza.
Zane Simon: I really don’t like picking this fight. On the one side you’ve got a truly elite athletic talent in Cody Garbrandt who has shown a fatal tendency not to give his opponents the respect they deserve, and is just coming off of a brutal bout with COVID-19. On the flip side, you’ve got Rob Font, who has a nicely technical rangy striking game and some surprising power, but doesn’t otherwise appear to have much in the way of athletic edge over his peers. If Garbrandt is on his A game all the way through, this could look like a more brutal version of Font’s fight with Assuncao, where he was just out-classed all the way through. Still, I like the steady improvements Font has made to his game, and given his range and power, I think he can do enough to throw Garbrandt off his rhythm. I’ll take Rob Font via TKO, round 3. But Garbrandt will be dangerous every second Font gives him space to work.
David Castillo: I feel like this fight has the potential to be a less fire and brimstone version of Cody’s fight with Munhoz, which both favors him and not favors him. Conceptually, I think Cody took the right approach. His problem is that he doesn’t seem to recognize the limits of his strengths. To be honest, it’s more entertaining that way. Garbrandt has a lot of technical chops that I think are on point enough to compete with Font’s rugged but technical approach. My issue here is just how formulaic I’d expect the outcome to be if Cody makes a sloppy entry. Font’s short strikes are absolute money. Rob Font by TKO round 2.
Victor Rodriguez: Nah, I can’t trust Garbrandt. Can he win? Absolutely, but I can’t bank on it against a more tenacious striker that can hit card and hit him off a break extra hard. Cumulative damage will matter, but Font’s also got the power to put Cody’s lights out. Me no likey. Rob Font by TKO.
Staff picking Font: Mookie, Stephie, Dayne, Zane, David, Victor
Staff picking Garbrandt: Chris Rini, Lewis
Zane Simon: Xiaonan’s lack of overwhelming physicality will probably serve Esparza at least a little bit here. Enough for a really good first round, maybe, if she can hit her takedowns early and often. But, after that, I really think Xiaonan’s pace is just going to be too much for Esparza to handle, especially if she slows down heading into the third round, they way she has in other recent fights. A great run of form for Esparza to put together a 4-fight win streak, but it feels like that ends here. Yan Xiaonan by decision.
David Castillo: The Gadelha fight put into perspective how well Yan can overcome fighters of Esparza’s type. Wrestle-grinding doesn’t look like the turnkey you’d expect out of someone like Yan, who isn’t a particularly imposing striker, but also doesn’t belong to the special class of ‘kiai’ fighters who are just spinning their joint wheels. Her combinations will serve her well, and she also has solid composure: keeping the offense going on the ground, working to get up, and keeping the offense going on the feet. She’s a solid little motor scooter for the division whereas Esparza remains a little too one-note. Yan Xiaonan by Decision.
Victor Rodriguez: Esparza’s got the confident striking and improved standing defense to make things a problem for Xiaonan. Yan’s got pressure striking and can survive off her back, but it’s going to cost her on the scorecards and Carla still keeps busy while on top. Carla Esparza by decision.
Staff picking Xiaonan: Mookie, Stephie, Lewis, Dayne, David, Zane
Staff picking Esparza: Chris Rini, Victor
Justin Tafa vs. Jared Vanderaa
Zane Simon: Tafa is definitely the more technical striker here, but I’m not all that convinced he has the pace or persistence to regularly pick up decisions behind that technique. Vanderaa is wild and willing to take a fight anywhere and everywhere. Assuming he doesn’t get KO’d, I just have more faith that he can win a messy, ugly fight. At just 4-2 as a pro Tafa has too much left to prove. Jared Vanderaa by TKO, round 2.
David Castillo: Definitely not a gimme here. Tafa has a solid foundation. Swift leg kicks, and sequences well from what his opponent gives him. Vanderaa should be able to close the distance, and muddy the fight up, however. In which case, is Tafa’s specific output enough to offset Vanderaa’s general pressure? That’s the question. Picking Tafa because I think he’ll look good enough in pockets to create enough openings to turn what would otherwise be ‘smooth, sporadic offense’ into ‘oh shit, Vanderaa’s in danger.’ Eventually. I think. Justin Tafa by Decision.
Victor Rodriguez: Vanderaa’s reach advantage, volume and pace are gonna be the biggest factor, and I don’t have faith in Tafa’s ability to work his way out of those exchanges without eating massive damage. Jared Vanderaa by TKO.
Staff picking Tafa: Mookie, Stephie, Dayne , David
Staff picking Vanderaa: Chris Rini, Zane, Victor
Felicia Spencer vs. Norma Dumont
Zane Simon: Dumont may be the better striker, but she got out-grappled by Megan Anderson last time she fought at 145. Assuming Spencer’s chin holds up fine, I doubt Dumont is going to be elusive enough to stay on her feet. Felicia Spencer via Submission, round 1.
Victor Rodriguez: Spencer’s got the funky Canadian Karate on her side, and a very slick submission game to go with it. I’ll trust that over Dumont’s rudimentary boxing and rushes to the clinch on this one. Felicia Spencer by submission.
Staff picking Spencer: Chris Rini, Mookie, Stephie, Dayne, Zane, David, Victor
Staff picking Dumont:
Ricardo Ramos vs. Bill Algeo
Zane Simon: Ramos likely has a speed edge here, but I get the feeling that Algeo’s size and determination is really going to give him fits. Especially if it means he can’t get early/easy takedowns from bodylock. Ramos might have a nice first round while Algeo settles into the rhythm of the fight, but if he doesn’t get the sub fast, I think Algeo’s pace will be a big problem. Bill Algeo via TKO, round 2.
Victor Rodriguez: I’m biased, and I don’t care. Algeo’s BJJ is super legit, and his striking should keep Ramos from getting too comfortable. Bill Algeo by decision.
Staff picking Ramos:
Staff picking Algeo: Zane, David, Mookie, Stephie, Victor
Jack Hermansson vs. Edmen Shahbazyan
Zane Simon: Feels like this fight has a very predictable arc to it, where it stops along that arc will likely entirely determine the winner. Edmen Shahbazyan will almost certainly start hot, cracking Hermansson with straight power right hands out of the gate. If he catches Hermansson off his game fast enough, that just might be the end of the fight. If he doesn’t, Hermansson’s crafty wrestling and momentum building striking behind a constant jab will almost certainly give Shahbazyan fits as the fight goes on. Still, I can just see Hermansson getting dropped early too clearly to ignore it. Edmen Shahbazyan via KO, round 1.
Victor Rodriguez: Can Edmen improve since his last outing? Absolutely! Is it enough to get an edge against a guy that is as far in his development as Hermansson? I’m gonna say no. Jack Hermansson by submission.
Staff picking Hermansson:Chris Rini, Mookie, Stephie, Dayne, David, Victor
Staff picking Shahbazyan: Zane
This poll is closed