The Bloody Elbow team has made its predictions for UFC Vegas 32, and rather scarily we have all picked Cory Sandhagen to spoil T.J. Dillashaw’s return to the Octagon in their highly anticipated main event. In the new co-main event, we also all have Kyler Phillips beating Raulian Paiva. Is the BE curse in full force? Watch the fights and find out.
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.
Cory Sandhagen vs. TJ Dillashaw
David Castillo: It’s difficult to know what to expect from Dillashaw other than cringe swagger. Even the poster graphics for this event looks like they used the liquify option to accentuate TJ’s smug grin. But Dillashaw, at his best, is still a solid collection of offensive skills. Especially against Sandhagen, who is more open to counterstrikes than his slick striking peers. Nonetheless, Sandhagen’s transitions from zone to zone, working on feints from southpaw, and combos from orthodox, should be enough offense to drill Dillashaw into dust in the long run. Dillashaw, like Moraes, might just have too much wear and tear to muster the energy to aim high. Cory Sandhagen by TKO, round 3.
Zane Simon: There are a couple really good questions in this fight that I just don’t think we’ll have the answer to until both men are in the cage. TJ Dillashaw is almost certainly going to go for takedowns on Sandhagen, and those takedowns will probably land. But, can he keep Sandhagen down? And if he can’t, is Dillashaw’s willingness to regularly reset standing going to allow Sandhagen to be the man pressuring? There are also, of course, many X factor questions as well. The biggest worry I have is one of pace. Dillashaw’s style was really suited to him being the way more active fighter. When he couldn’t be, he wasn’t nearly as dominant. Sandhagen puts out offense at a ridiculous rate. Is Dillashaw ready for that in his first fight back? Cory Sandhagen via decision.
Staff picking Sandhagen: David, Stephie, Dayne, Mookie, Zane
Staff picking Dillashaw:
Kyler Phillips vs. Raulian Paiva
David Castillo: I think Paiva is more than he showed at Fly. Bontorin is underrated and Kara-France is just flat out good. But there’s a reason why Phillips was supposed to fight Assuncao, and that’s because Phillips is trending up and gearing for higher profile fights. He’s the bigger, faster, and more well-rounded fighter, so other than your cliched ‘puncher’s chance’ I’m not sure how Paiva wins this one except drawing Phillips into a firefight that Phillips can easily shift into something grappling-based. Kyler Phillips by Decision.
Zane Simon: I’m a big fan of Paiva’s style. He crashes the pocket with combinations, sits inside to land counter shots, and is a shockingly decent defensive wrestler who creates offense off that defense. He’s also something of a blank slate when it comes to striking defense, often crashing the pocket with his chin up and on line. And, when he’s faced with much more powerful opposition, that takedown defense struggles to combat decisive shots. My guess is Paiva rushes into something hard and pays for it. But if Phillips can’t put him away, then this could get to be a tougher fight than he expected. Kyler Phillips via TKO round 2.
Staff picking Phillips: Stephie, David, Dayne, Mookie, Zane
Staff picking Paiva:
Darren Elkins vs. Darrick Minner
David Castillo: Elkins has gone from being the plucky, late-rally underdog to being flat out good to being the crotchety old man. It’s hard to project how much he still has left. He’s 1-4 over his last five, but some of that has been against seriously elite competition. Minner, on the other hand, is a decent fighter, and a pure frontrunner who is gonna rely on locking in his patented guillotine. Honestly I think it’s formulaic fight. Either Minner grabs the guillotine early and wins, or the fight goes long, and Elkins wins via decision. I’ll go with the old man that’s still alive in a young man’s profession. Darren Elkins by Decision.
Zane Simon: Picking Darren Elkins here does not make me at all comfortable. But Minner is EXACTLY the kind of fight he has won his entire career. A guy with some hyper-aggressive early power and pressure who has had a long history of gassing out and getting beat as the fight goes on. Minner is with James Krause these days, and maybe that will continue being the calming and consistent influence that he appeared to be during Minner’s fight against Rosa. But, Rosa is also the kind of opponent who has no problem working off his back and gave Minner repeated, perfect opportunities to work things out. Elkins won’t. I’ll pick Elkins to get this win, just because it’s so well set up for him and he’s still been hard to actually KO. But if Minner comes out and club-n-sub’s him in the first minute, I can’t say I’ll be shocked. Darren Elkins by decision.
Staff picking Elkins: David, Dayne, Mookie, Zane
Staff picking Minner: Stephie
Miranda Maverick vs. Maycee Barber
Zane Simon: I’m not really convinced that there’s much of anything physical or technical separating these two fighters in the cage. They both are much more confident punchers than they are technical. They both have good top games. And they can both be put on their backs by craftier wrestlers. They’re also both fire-plugs who carry a lot more power and strength than the bulk of their division. If I see any real difference between them it’s in their dedication to a style. Maverick reminds me a bit of a Kings MMA fighter. All hard nosed pressure built on a trust that she’s physical enough do get done whatever needs doing. Barber is a little happier to sit in the middle distance and just go one-for-one with opponents, trusting that she’ll land bigger/better shots there. Feels like Maverick stays on her front foot she’ll be able to land first and shoot first. If she can keep the initiative, that seems like a solid path to victory. Miranda Maverick by decision.
Staff picking Maverick: Stephie, Dayne, Mookie, Zane
Staff picking Barber:
Mickey Gall vs. Jordan Williams
Zane Simon: Williams’ health issues that kept him at 185 in the past seem like a major red flag for him to be dropping a division now that he’s in the UFC. Maybe he can do it safely, but I kinda need to see it. If he can, and does, then his constant brawling style could sap Gall. But Gall otherwise seems like the more technical fighter everywhere and he’s been improving slowly but consistently. I’ll take Mickey Gall via decision.
Staff picking Gall: Zane
Staff picking Williams: Stephie, Dayne, Mookie
This poll is closed