The Bloody Elbow team has made its predictions for UFC Vegas 37, and we’re all picking Anthony Smith over Ryan Spann in the main event. I don’t want to here about any damn BE curse because we all got Derek Brunson over Darren Till correct. We’re also unanimous for the co-main between Ion Cutelaba and Devin Clark.
Anthony Smith vs. Ryan Spann
Mookie Alexander: Wouldn’t be shocked if Spann knocked Smith out but even for someone who has been stopped as often as Smith, he’s not easy to just crush with heavy shots. I just feel that Spann’s greatest strengths could be used against him. Smith is the more technical and composed fighter and if he can weather Spann’s aggression and willingness to swing for knockout shots, I believe he’ll tire Spann out, get him to the mat after peppering him with his jab and leg kicks, and stops him with ground-and-pound. Anthony Smith by TKO, round 3.
Zane Simon: This feels like a very tossup fight at light heavyweight, if for no other reason than that it’s hard to trust how Smith is going to show up from one bout to another. Is he going to find the range and spacing for his powerful jab and solid single strikes? Is he going to get the room on the ground to pull off a slick submission? Or is he going to get tagged up standing and/or swamped on the mat after giving up superior positions. On the flip side, Spann can do a bit of everything, but he rarely seems to be that comfortable or deeply technical in any one area. If he’s somewhere between Aleksandar Rakic and Devin Clark, that’s a lot of room to cover. Eventually, just given Smith’s notable comeback ability and his great finishing instincts, I’ll pick him to win this bout over 5 rounds. But, if Spann just goes out and drills him with a couple huge counters and puts him away, that won’t be the world’s most shocking outcome. Anthony Smith via submission, Round 3.
Staff picking Smith: Stephie, Zane, Mookie, Dayne, Connor
Staff picking Spann:
Ion Cutelaba vs. Devin Clark
Mookie Alexander: Cutelaba is a glass cannon but Clark is just glass in this fight. He’s not difficult to break and he has scarcely shown himself to be a serious finishing threat. Cutelaba is going to start fast and end it fast. Ion Cutelaba by KO, round 1.
Zane Simon: Cutelaba is a finisher and Devin Clark gets finished every time he loses. Ion Cutelaba via KO, round 1.
Staff picking Cutelaba: Stephie, Zane, Mookie, Dayne, Connor
Staff picking Clark:
Ariane Lipski vs. Mandy Bohm
Mookie Alexander: This is less about Bohm and more having no confidence in Lipski to beat anyone who isn’t at the absolute bottom of the barrel in the division. Bohm has interesting upside and Lipski has been a massive disappointment in the UFC. Mandy Bohm by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: It’s hard to tell just how good Bohm is as of yet. She seems like a decently schooled striker with lots of confidence. But she also seems like she’s been facing small, sub-par athletes who can’t strike much with her at all, or force her out of her game. Lipski is wild and aggressive to a fault, but she’s got real natural power and precision in her standup. I’ll bank on the better athlete, just because I don’t trust Bohm’s ground game is actually good enough to put Lipski away, but reality is it’s a coinflip fight. Ariane Lipski via TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Lipski: Stephie, Zane, Dayne
Staff picking Bohm: Mookie, Connor
Arman Tsarukyan vs. Christos Giagos
Mookie Alexander: Pretty much everything Giagos wants to do in his fights will be nullified by Tsarukyan. Expect Arman to outwrestle and outgrapple Giagos and keep up one hell of a pace in doing so. Arman Tsarukyan by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: I don’t think there’s anything Giagos brings to the table that Tsarukyan hasn’t seen at this point, or (more unfortunately for Giagos) that Tsarukyan isn’t better at. Giagos almost always needs to have a wrestling and strength advantage over opponents to win his bouts, and that seems like something he absolutely won’t have here. Arman Tsarukyan by decision.
Staff picking Tsarukyan: Stephie, Zane, Mookie, Dayne, Connor
Staff picking Giagos:
Mike Rodriguez vs. Tafon Nchukwi
Mookie Alexander: Rodriguez obviously got robbed of a win against Ed Herman but that he managed to lose that anyway is truly absurd. Nchukwi can crack and I can see him shutting off Rodriguez’s lights. Tafon Nchukwi by TKO, round 1.
Zane Simon: The size and the clinch striking are big advantages for Rodriguez here, but man have I seen him lose a lot of different ways. He’s been KO’d by strikers that were cleaner than him, subbed by grapplers that could hang on long enough to drag him to the mat, and just out-worked by more energetic fighters willing to clinch him up and push a grinding pace on him. Do any of those archetypes precisely fit Nchukwi? Not exactly. But despite his relative inexperience, he is a remarkably consistent striker with a strong grounding in technical form and defense. If he can counter consistently in exchanges, I’ll take him to win. Tafon Nchukwi via KO, round 2.
Staff picking Rodriguez:
Staff picking Nchukwi: Stephie, Zane, Mookie, Connor, Dayne
Nate Maness vs. Tony Gravely
Mookie Alexander: Maness better watch out, because he’s in Grave(ly) danger against Tony... Tony Gravely by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: Each of Maness’ UFC wins feel like they’ve come by the skin of his teeth and we’re just waiting for the kind of really consistent, physical athlete who can go out and win punching exchanges and wrestling exchanges as he backs himself repeatedly to the cage. Gravely doesn’t have the deepest game in the world, but he delivers it consistently. Tony Gravely by decision.
Staff picking Maness:
Staff picking Gravely: Stephie, Zane, Mookie, Dayne, Connor
Joaquin Buckley vs. Antonio Arroyo
Mookie Alexander: Buckley either will do something cool or get coolly switched off. I’m leaning towards him doing something cool. Joaquin Buckley by KO, round 1.
Zane Simon: Arroyo gets tired, Buckley doesn’t. Kinda expect this to look a lot like Buckley vs. Wright, with both men landing some solid shots as Buckley keeps the pressure high and builds momentum. Joaquin Buckley via KO, round 2.
Staff picking Buckley: Stephie, Zane, Mookie, Dayne, Connor
Staff picking Arroyo:
This poll is closed