The Bloody Elbow staff has made its picks for Saturday’s UFC Columbus card in Ohio, and we’re As for the co-main event, everyone is picking Alexa Grasso over Joanne Wood. We’re nearly unanimous on Askar Askarov over Kai Kara-France, with only Victor Rodriguez siding with the City Kickboxing standout. To see the latest betting lines for these fights, head over to DraftKings Sportsbook.
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 Victor Rodriguez entered all of his predictions on Thursday 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.
Curtis Blaydes vs. Chris Daukaus
Mookie Alexander: It’s just too difficult to ignore the heavy wrestling advantage Blaydes has in this one. Daukaus very much has a chance with his power and Blaydes’ tendency to get rocked in fights, but as long as Curtis doesn’t get reckless he should be able to get the fight to the ground and dictate the action on his terms. Curtis Blaydes by TKO, round 3.
Zane Simon: Chris Daukaus really blitzed his way into the elite ranks of the heavyweight division with an absolute minimum of resistance. And unfortunately, it may just be that he swam out a little too far from shore in the process. Not to over extend a metaphor, but heavyweight stays shallow for an awfully long time right up until the deep water. It’s a lesson Curtis Blaydes has had to learn a couple times before, now, getting pushed back in grasping distance of a title shot. And at the same time it’s very much a category Blaydes represents. He’s one of heavyweight’s very, very few truly technical wrestlers. And he’s got the size and strength to make fights nearly impossible once he gets on top. Is Daukaus ready to deal with that? I haven’t seen him have to yet, so I’m going to say no. Curtis Blaydes via TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Blaydes: Mookie, Victor, Stephie, Dayne, Zane, Connor
Staff picking Daukaus:
Joanne Wood vs. Alexa Grasso
Mookie Alexander: Yeah I’m not confident in picking Joanne Wood in these types of fights anymore. Grasso is gonna outwork her, outland her, and get the nod on the scorecards. Alexa Grasso by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: Grasso has enough consistency to stick with Wood’s pace, even though I do worry just a little bit about Wood’s ability to pick up steam as fights go on. If Grasso fades at all like she did in round 3 against Barber, Wood will definitely be right there, pouring on volume. But given that Grasso is also the cleaner puncher with more power, I think she can do enough to take both the first and second round before Wood can truly make the fight close. Alexa Grasso by decision.
Staff picking Wood:
Staff picking Grasso: Mookie. Stephie, Victor, Dayne, Zane, Connor
Askar Askarov vs. Kai Kara-France
Mookie Alexander: I’ve been a bit of an Askarov skeptic but I can’t deny how good he is anymore. He’s likely too strong a wrestler and too effective a scrambler for Kara-France not to get dragged into the type of grueling fight he’s lost before. Askar Askarov by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: Kara-France’s struggles with range offense are probably going to be his major Achilles heel here. Askarov loves to stay way out at range, plonking people with long strikes, before crashing into the pocket for clinches and takedown opportunities. If Kara-France is hoping to keep this fight in the pocket for punching exchanges, he’s almost certainly going to have to walk himself onto a lot of reactive takedowns, or back off to a range where Askarov can dictate the action. Askar Askarov via submission, Round 3.
Staff picking Askarov: Mookie, Stephie, Dayne, Zane, Connor
Staff picking Kara-France: Victor
Matt Brown vs. Bryan Barberena
Mookie Alexander: Brown wins this early or Barberena wins it late. I don’t like how wide open Barberena has looked defensively and his chin can easily be dented by Brown’s power, which is still very much potent. If he survives then I think he wears Brown down and gets a decision. Otherwise… Matt Brown by KO, round 1.
Zane Simon: I’m definitely very concerned with Bryan Barberena’s recent fights. Even when he’s winning, it seems like he’s getting hurt a lot more than he used to, and like the pace that used to define his style just isn’t there anymore. That said. He’s still been incredibly hard to finish. And if he can keep pushing any kind of grind for more than a round, I’m not convinced Brown can keep up with him. Since Barberena still isn’t getting KO’d early, I’ll take him to get the win. But this fight could get pretty brutal if it lasts more than 5-7 min. Bryan Barberena via TKO, round 3.
Staff picking Brown: Mookie, Stephie, Victor, Dayne, Connor
Staff picking Barberena: Zane
Ilir Latifi vs. Aleksei Oleinik
Mookie Alexander: Latifi can’t be choked (he’s literally never been submitted so this is not even me doing my Latifi bit) and Oleinik is old even for heavyweight. A brutal overhand is gonna end this. Ilir Latifi by sledgehammering, round 1.
Zane Simon: I still think Latifi looks like a profoundly uncomfortable heavyweight. But he’s still got an unchokeable neck and Oleinik hasn’t had more than a round of cardio for the last five years. Ilir Latifi via TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Latifi: Mookie, Victor, Stephie, Dayne, Zane, Connor
Staff picking Oleinik:
Marc Diakiese vs. Viacheslav Borschev
Mookie Alexander: Man, Diakiese had so much potential. This guy started 12-0 and is just 2-5 in his last seven and has scarcely resembled the guy who sensationally KO’d Teemu Packalen. Borschev is a powerful striker and he really busted up Dakota Bush in his UFC debut with that body shot. Diakiese is a good striker but his wrestling may be what wins him this fight. He’ll pose a threat to Borschev’s takedown defense and try to change up the rhythm of the contest aka mix the martial arts. I am not confident in picking Diakiese at all but I’ll go with Marc Diakiese by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: On paper, this feels very much like a fight Diakiese should win. He’s always been a surprisingly strong wrestler, going back to his BAMMA days, and he’s got the speed and power standing to surprise Borschev from range in exactly the same way Dakota Bush did, but with a lot more sting behind it and a lot less tendency to panic and gas out early. But, Diakiese has also just found ways to lose a lot of fights at this point. Part of that is down to level of competition. No shame in losing to Dan Hooker or Rafael Fiziev. Part of that is facing other similarly talented athletes who are durable enough to take his shots and hang with him. That could be Borshchev, but I don’t really know at this point, his career is still so green. I’ll take Marc Diakiese by decision, but Borshchev showing up and putting on a show wouldn’t shock me either.
Staff picking Diakiese: Mookie, Dayne, Zane, Connor
Staff picking Borschev: Stephie
This poll is closed