The Bloody Elbow team has made its predictions for UFC Vegas 33, and the slight lean is towards Sean Strickland to win the main event over Uriah Hall. Dayne Fox is on his own for the co-main, as he likes Kyung Ho Kang over Rani Yahya. Really there is not much else to say about this card.
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.
Uriah Hall vs. Sean Strickland
Mookie Alexander: I expect Strickland to win most of this fight and either end up staying on the winning path or getting brutally knocked out by some crazy kick. We should see both men have their moments with Hall the greater threat to get a finish. I love Strickland’s combination work and he is more comfortable working in minute to minute spurts than Hall has ever been. Possible wild card in this is whether or not Strickland wants to mix in his wrestling and neutralize some of the dangers of Hall’s offense. Sean Strickland by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: Strickland will likely find himself moving through exactly the kind of range where Hall excels for large portions of this fight. Whether or not that gets him brutally KO’d the way that he did against Zaleski, remains to be seen. This version of Strickland seems much more calm and commanding operating in that range, and I expect he’ll be winning this fight for just about every minute he’s not eating some massive spinning wheel kick from hell. I’m sold enough on Strickland’s durability right now that I’ll take him for the win, but he’ll be in peril every moment on the way to victory. Sean Strickland via decision.
Staff picking Hall: Stephie, Connor
Staff picking Strickland: Zane, Mookie, Dayne
Kyung Ho Kang vs. Rani Yahya
Mookie Alexander: It’s never a comfortable feeling picking Rani Yahya over three rounds given how much he can gas if a fast pace is set. Kang can win this standing despite his lack of KO power solely because… well… we know that’s not his game and Kang should have the advantage there. But I just can’t help but think Kang is going to give Yahya the fight he wants and that’s trouble. Kang also doesn’t throw enough for me to think he can wear Yahya out standing or outscramble him on the ground. Rani Yahya by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: Can Kyung Ho Kang actually out-grapple Rani Yahya? I think he’s going to try. If he keeps this on the feet and out at range, he’s got a clear path to winning. And hell, even getting on top and just holding Yahya down works pretty well. But Kang is much more apt to scramble on the mats than dominate positions, and he tends to chain takedowns behind his strikes, and respond to pressure with grappling. So I’ll take Rani Yahya via submission, round 2.
Staff picking Kang: Dayne
Staff picking Yahya: Zane, Mookie, Stephie, Connor
Niklas Stolze vs. Jared Gooden
Zane Simon: Stolze seems like the much more dynamic and creative fighter from range. Gooden is tough and persistent, but he’s really hyper focused on head hunting with punches and little else. That led to him even getting out-boxed by Abubakar Nurmagomedov. Niklas Stolze by decision.
Staff picking Stolze: Zane, Mookie, Dayne, Stephie, Connor
Staff picking Gooden:
Cheyanne Buys vs. Gloria de Paula
Zane Simon: Both women are pretty decent strikers, but de Paula seems like a really miserable wrestler and grappler in a way that I think Buys can take constant advantage of. Cheyanne Buys by decision.
Staff picking Buys: Zane, Mookie, Dayne, Stephie, Connor
Staff picking de Paula:
Bryan Barberena vs. Joe Witt
Zane Simon: A not terribly fast-footed wrestle-boxer with pretty obvious setups seems tailor made for Bryan Barberena’s slow building combination boxing game to pick up and pick off. Barberena’s become a much more technical boxer in recent years, it’s just unfortunately also coincided with him fighting much better and equally technical competition. This feels like a big step down from Randy Brown and especially Vicente Luque, and Barberena cruised against Anthony Ivy. Bryan Barberena via TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Barberena: Zane, Mookie, Dayne, Stephie, Connor
Staff picking Witt:
This poll is closed