The Bloody Elbow team has made its predictions for UFC VEGAS 31 and unsurprisingly we all have Islam Makhachev beating Thiago Moises in the main event. In the co-main event only Stephie Haynes is picking Marion Reneau to spoil Miesha Tate’s return to the Octagon.
Islam Makhachev vs. Thiago Moises
Mookie Alexander: Makhachev is just too strong, too hard to hit, and too good a grappler. Moises is a damn good grappler and is one of those difficult fringe contenders that won’t be an easy night for most lightweights, but I feel like Makhachev should be past fights like these. That Dagestani strength gonna come through in the end. Islam Makhachev by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: There’s a chance that Moises could snatch up a Hail Mary submission or a flash KO. Makhachev’s even striking rhythm does leave him very time-able standing. And Moises is a fantastic grappler. But, banking on that feels like a pretty chancy line of reasoning considering how little trouble Makhachev had just picking apart, and then bullying on the mat against Davi Ramos. Moises is likely going to spend too much of this fight on the back foot, be it standing or fending off takedowns to win rounds. And while he did get KO’d once, I’m not about to pick Makhachev to get finished on a whim. Islam Makhachev by decision.
Staff picking Makhachev: Mookie, Stephie, Connor, Zane, Dayne
Staff picking Moises:
Miesha Tate vs. Marion Reneau
Mookie Alexander: I don’t feel good about this fight at all from a predictions standpoint. Reneau has one foot out the door and towards retirement while Tate is getting back into this after five years. Reneau has been fairly competitive throughout her losing streak, so if Tate is even the slightest bit rusty she can capitalize on that and get a W. She also finishes her opponents almost all the time in her wins so it can’t be ruled out… but otherwise if Tate doesn’t look washed up she is likely going to wear out Reneau and take her down and control her throughout the fight. Miesha Tate by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: I’m not sure if time away will have reignited Tate’s passion for MMA to the extent that she’ll be more comfortable getting punched in the face than she used to be. But, as long as she still has her top flight wrestling credentials, I doubt that Marion Reneau is going to have a lot of sustained striking dominance. Especially since, once she’s been looking more prone to tiring herself lately. It may require a lot of grit and some ugly striking exchanges, but I’ll take Miesha Tate to ride out a decision win for a successful Octagon return. Still not convinced about that title run tho.
Staff picking Tate: Mookie, Connor, Zane, Dayne
Staff picking Reneau: Stephie
Jeremy Stephens vs. Mateusz Gamrot
Mookie Alexander: Stephens takes the opening round by outworking Gamrot. Then he blatantly shoves Gamrot several seconds after the horn sounds. Gamrot is unable to continue due to injuries suffered in the shove. Mateusz Gamrot by DQ, end of Round 1.
Zane Simon: I’m really kinda stumped on this one. On the one hand, Gamrot’s game built around very low single legs from way outside and power striking exchanges in the pocket just doesn’t seem like one built to work long term in the UFC. On the other hand, Jeremy Stephens has shown that he’s got a wide variety of ways to lose fights. And if Gamrot can regularly get in on his hips and drive him to the cage, that might be enough to just keep this fight slow enough to win an ugly grind. But, I also think Stephens really has been getting more technical as a striker over the last few years, relying more on his jab and low kicks to set up his power. And the fighters he’s lost to are mostly taller, longer, and able to regularly stay outside and out-kickbox him with a wider variety of tools. Gamrot is none of those things. It seems foolish to bank on Stephens getting a big KO between grind sessions. But it also seems risky to think that Gamrot can play with him in striking range for 15 minutes and come out unscathed. I’ll go Jeremy Stephens via KO, round 2.
Staff picking Stephens: Zane
Staff picking Gamrot: Mookie, Stephie, Connor, Dayne
Rodolfo Vieira vs. Dustin Stoltzfus
Mookie Alexander: Vieira is now the gold standard for BJJ Guy WIth Suspect Gas Tank in the middleweight division. So it’s very possible what happened against Anthony Hernandez happens again versus Stoltzfus. Otherwise what Stoltzfus wants to do is basically what Vieira does way better. Takedown, arm triangle, pass to side control, tap. Rodolfo Vieira by submission, round 1.
Zane Simon: I’m pretty much always going to pick Vieira against the bottom end of the middleweight division. And when he loses it’ll probably be the result of a pretty spectacular meltdown in a fight he was prepared to dominate. He’s bigger, stronger, a better grappler, and a better wrestler than Stoltzfus. That should be enough to win. Unless, of course, he can’t get the first round sub and gasses terribly. Rodolfo Vieira via submission, round 1.
Staff picking Vieira: Mookie, Stephie, Connor, Zane, Dayne
Staff picking Stoltzfus:
Billy Quarantillo vs. Gabriel Benitez
Mookie Alexander: Quarantillo is gonna fight at a ridiculous pace and that might make Benitez uncomfortable. I think he’ll be really looking to pursue takedowns and stifle Benitez’s striking that way. But his striking defense is a bit of an issue and Benitez can hit quite hard with pretty much anything he throws. This is a really difficult fight to predict because there are clear paths to victory for both men, but I’ve got a feeling Benitez is gonna catch him with something big. Gabriel Benitez by TKO, round 2.
Zane Simon: Quarantillo’s style is perfectly built to conquer a certain level of competition. Fighters who can’t maintain their cardio for 3 rounds, or don’t have the technical depth and confidence to handle pressure, or don’t have the grappling chops to hang with a dedicated scrambler. But those are gaps that Benitez tends to have covered. He faced a pretty similar problem, in a better wrestler and striker, against Enrique Barzola. And that’s a fight a lot of people think he technically won. Without a seriously technical wrestling game, is Quarantillo really going to be able to walk through all Benitez’s offense over and over and sap him with clinch grinding? I don’t think so. Instead, I think he’ll find himself eating incredibly hard kicks and clean 1-2s for three rounds solid and not making a lot of headway for it. Gabriel Benitez by decision.
Staff picking Quarantillo: Stephie
Staff picking Benitez: Mookie, Connor, Zane, Dayne
This poll is closed