The Bloody Elbow team has made its picks for UFC Vegas 36, and curiously we have all picked betting underdog Derek Brunson over Darren Till in the main event. Meanwhile only Zane Simon is picking Sergey Spivac to get the short notice upset win over heavyweight prospect Tom Aspinall.
Derek Brunson vs. Darren Till
Mookie Alexander: I’m not worried that the BE curse is in effect because we’re just two events removed from everyone picking Jared Cannonier over Kelvin Gastelum and being 100% correct. Admittedly I am not comfortable that this is a sweep for Brunson when Till is the favorite. There’s every bit the chance Till can catch Brunson in the clinch or with one of those countershots that will put Derek on skates. But Till is methodical to a fault and if he won’t fight at a faster pace then he is not going to tire Brunson out. I am pretty sure Till has legitimately good takedown defense but he’s also fought shockingly few willing wrestlers. Brunson is pretty damn strong and unless Till has Izzy-like takedown defense for 185, I think that might be his path to a W. Let’s also not discount that for as much as Brunson can be compromised defensively and a bit wild offensively, he has the power to hurt Till. Again, not feeling super confident about this one but the pick is Derek Brunson by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: One of those cards where there seems like a very reasonable choice to make in a bout that could quite easily go the other way. The truth of Darren Till’s career to date is that very little of it has looked dominating when it comes to elite level fights. That victory over Donald Cerrone stands as his only truly clear win over a top level opponent, and there’s a serious argument he lost to Stephen Thompson. On the flip side, as much as Brunson has hit a hard wall in the past against the likes of Adesanya, Whittaker, Jacare, and Romero, his wins are practically always incredibly dominant. If Brunson can find a path to victory, he’s much more likely to pursue it relentlessly than Till. Can Till hurt Brunson badly enough early in the fight to put him away? Or stuff enough shots to pick him off all night? Maybe, but that’s the kind of performance I need to see more proof of from Till. Whereas I’ve got plenty of proof that Brunson can go get takedowns and grind his way to victory. Derek Brunson via decision.
Staff picking Brunson: Mookie, Stephie, Dayne, Zane, Connor
Staff picking Till:
Tom Aspinall vs. Sergey Spivac
Mookie Alexander: Spivac looked like he’d be one of the worst fighters on the UFC roster when Walt Harris knocked him out quickly. He’s been much better since then and a tricky opponent for Aspinall. I’m still pretty high on Aspinall’s upside and I think he will go after Spivac early and get the quick knockout. Tom Aspinall by TKO, round 1.
Zane Simon: There’s a real good chance Aspinall comes out and just detonates Spivac in the first minute or so to continue his rise as one of heavyweight’s rare top prospects. But, I just kinda want to be more convinced that he’s that guy after watching him flurry on Andrei Arlovski to the point of exhaustion and have to resort to his wrestling game to finish the fight. That, in and of itself, was an impressive feat. But does it speak so well to defeating Spivac, who (outside of his loss to Walt Harris) has been a tough, grimey heavyweight in the UFC, who tends to have to be firmly out-wrestled to be defeated easily. Is Aspinall really a good enough wrestler to out-work Spivac on the ground if he has to? Or will he start hot, get tired, and then get dragged into an ugly grind where he ends up on bottom getting out-worked. I’m gonna vote against fun here and say Sergey Spivac by decision.
Staff picking Aspinall: Mookie, Stephie, Dayne, Connor
Staff picking Spivac: Zane
Alex Morono vs. David Zawada
Mookie Alexander: This should be a banger, but Zawada is unlikely to outslug Morono if he’s going to choose that strategy. Alex Morono by TKO, round 2.
Zane Simon: Every Morono fight is going to include some aspect of danger for him. His lack of top-end athleticism and understanding that pressure and aggression are his best weapons always means he’s walking himself into the offense of his opponents. And if Zawada is anything he’s all offense, all the time. So there’s plenty of opportunity for Morono to walk onto something big. Unfortunately for Zawada though, his constant, unchecked aggression, also means he puts himself in tons of bad spots, and makes lots of errors for his opponents to capitalize on. And Morono has proved himself to be excellent and turning mistakes into advantages. Could get hairy for him here or there, but I’ll take Alex Morono by decision.
Staff picking Morono: Mookie, Stephie, Zane, Connor
Staff picking Zawada: Dayne
Modestas Bukauskas vs. Khalil Rountree Jr
Mookie Alexander: That Prachnio fight basically is my give up moment for Rountree. He really cannot fight even 7 hard minutes without exhausting himself. Now he might be able to KO Bukauskas because there’s every reason to still at least believe in his power, but beyond that I just think Bukauskas is every bit as capable of knocking out Rountree Jr and more than capable of winning it beyond round one. Modestas Bukauskas by TKO, round 2.
Zane Simon: This absolutely could be a great fight for Rountree to show off his power muay thai game against someone that wants to sit out at his range and work at a fairly slow pace. But I’ve just seen Rountree find too many ways to lose at this point to pick him here. Could he crush Bukauskas with low kicks on his way to a TKO win? Sure? Could he also get clinched up and slowed down or just out-paced, or taken to the mat, or hit with a random KO shot? Yeah. All those things are possible too. I’m not sure how Bukauskas gets it done, but I’ll take Modestas Bukauskas by TKO, round 3.
Staff picking Bukauskas: Mookie, Stephie, Dayne, Zane
Staff picking Rountree Jr: Connor
Paddy Pimblett vs. Luigi Vendramini
Mookie Alexander: Not really sold on Paddy’s ceiling as a future champion or anything like that but he should be a fun addition to 155. Vendramini really doesn’t push the action consistently enough for me to fancy the upset. Pimblett will get this fight on his terms and choke out Luigi for a successful UFC debut. Paddy Pimblett by submission, round 1.
Zane Simon: Pimblett is extremely hittable, but that’s not really been the avenue to beating him in the past, and while Vendramini isn’t a bad grappler, his power striking is clearly his big edge in this fight. Instead, what seems to get Pimblett in trouble is his willingness to start fast with lots of aggression and the fade if he can’t get the early finish. But, Vendramini hasn’t shown much ability on his own to push a mean pace if he has to. Given that Pimblett seems like the more technical wrestler, my guess is he’ll get the advantage of starting grappling exchanges on his terms. Paddy Pimblett by submission, round 1.
Staff picking Pimblett: Mookie, Stephie, Zane, Connor
Staff picking Vendramini: Dayne
This poll is closed