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Bellator 279 and UFC Vegas 52 staff picks and predictions

Check out the Bloody Elbow staff’s picks and predictions for Bellator 279 and UFC Vegas 52.

The Bloody Elbow team has made its predictions for both Bellator 279 and UFC Vegas 52, and everyone thinks Cris Cyborg will win her main event rematch over Arlene Blencowe to defend her Bellator featherweight title. On the UFC side, there’s only a slight lean towards Jessica Andrade to defeat Amanda Lemos in that pivotal strawweight main event. 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 I 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.

Bellator 279

Cris Cyborg vs. Arlene Blencowe

Mookie Alexander: I know we’ve had some rematches go very differently from the first fight lately, but this is gonna be another blowout. Cris Cyborg by TKO, round 2.

Zane Simon: Yeah... no. Cris Cyborg via KO, round 1.

Staff picking Cyborg: Mookie, Dayne, Zane, Victor, Stephie
Staff picking Blencowe:

Juan Archuleta vs. Raufeon Stots

Mookie Alexander: Stots’ lack of five-round experience concerns me a bit but I love his upside. You have a Division II national champion wrestler who just came off an impressive win over Magomed Magomedov and otherwise would’ve been fighting Sergio Pettis for the actual title and not an interim belt if not for Pettis’ injury. Archuleta is really good pretty much everywhere but his wrestling and grappling tend to stand out the most, but that’s where I think Stots can neutralize him and do just enough on the feet to pull out a close win. This is the most intriguing quarterfinal to me. Raufeon Stots by decision.

Zane Simon: I kinda get the feeling this is gonna be a rough fight for Stots, who absolutely has the physicality to handle Archuleta’s wrestle-grappling attacks, but really doesn’t push much of a pace on the feet with his striking. Archuleta isn’t the most natural, flowing striker I’ve ever seen, but given his insane durability, he’s very willing to throw himself into the fire just to make things work. Given that Stots hasn’t been much of a finisher for Bellator, I’m gonna take Archuleta’s pace to win out, even if neither man is getting a lot of really definitive offense going. Juan Archuleta via decision.

Staff picking Archuleta: Zane
Staff picking Stots: Mookie, Dayne, Victor, Stephie

Ilima-Lei Macfarlane vs. Justine Kish

Mookie Alexander: This is a showcase fight for Macfarlane after a long absence since losing her title. Kish is gonna be outmatched on the mat. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane by submission, round 2.

Zane Simon: Kish is unquestionably the much more confident, comfortable striker standing. So if she can keep this on the feet, she has a solid shot at getting a win. But, she also has a tendency to be very flat footed and to square herself as she throws. It leaves her open to getting countered hard, and to getting tied up by a shot attempt. If MacFarlane is gonna get lots of chances to grapple, I gotta pick her to make one count. Ilima-Lei MacFarlane by submission, round 2.

Staff picking Macfarlane: Mookie, Dayne, Zane, Victor, Stephie
Staff picking Kish:

Poll

Who wins?

This poll is closed

  • 88%
    Cris Cyborg
    (217 votes)
  • 11%
    Arlene Blencowe
    (28 votes)
245 votes total Vote Now

UFC Vegas 52

Amanda Lemos vs. Jessica Andrade

Mookie Alexander: This is fascinating because Andrade is hardly indestructible and for all of her striking prowess, Lemos also hits really damn hard. Where I sense Andrade has an opportunity to win is the very fact that this is a five-rounder. Lemos is the type of fighter whom I suspect won’t have her power carry over into the later round as she fatigues, and while fans may expect predominantly a striking contest, I can envision Andrade trying to hit high amplitude takedowns on Amanda. Andrade’s body work could also go a long way towards tiring Lemos out, and I think that will be how she weathers an early storm and takes over down the stretch for the stoppage. Jessica Andrade by TKO, round 3.

Zane Simon: I expect we’ll see a couple really thrilling, scary moments early in this fight, while Andrade is getting her timing and sense of distance down, and Lemos is throwing heat straight from the jump. But, assuming Lemos doesn’t just catch Andrade totally cold early, then Andrade is the much more tireless, more active, and more well rounded fighter across multiple rounds. It’s hard not to see Andrade mashing Lemos into the cage, and taking her down repeatedly. Jessica Andrade via TKO, round 4.

Staff picking Lemos: Dayne, Stephie
Staff picking Andrade: Mookie, Zane, Victor

Clay Guida vs. Claudio Puelles

Mookie Alexander: Why is this the co-main? Clay Guida by split decision.

Zane Simon: I’m entirely ready for the wheels to just fall off Clay Guida at some point. For him to start getting blown out by any random opponent, just because aging has serious costs, especially in the lower divisions. But Puelles really doesn’t seem like the guy to make it happen. When Puelles has a wrestling advantage, he can win out grappling battles. And occasionally just hit some nice subs. When his opponent just wants to wait at range Puelles has some powerful kicks. But if neither of those things happen, Puelles tends to struggle very badly. Guida can still wing punches into the pocket and hit takedowns. Think that’ll be enough to scrape out the win. Clay Guida by decision.

Staff picking Guida: Mookie, Dayne, Zane, Stephie
Staff picking Puelles:

Alexander Romanov vs. Chase Sherman

Mookie Alexander: Good on Sherman for getting a bump in pay on short notice. That said, he has pretty much no chance against Romanov. Alexander Romanov by submission, round 1.

Zane Simon: I just hope the UFC keeps Sherman around for another couple fights after getting smashed in this one. Alexander Romanov by TKO, round 1.

Staff picking Romanov: Mookie, Dayne, Zane, Stephie
Staff picking Sherman:

Maycee Barber vs. Montana De La Rosa

Mookie Alexander: Barber could win this by just being the physically stronger and more aggressive fighter, but I really am underwhelmed by her skill set and De La Rosa may be able to outstrike her and pose problems on the mat in grappling scrambles. Montana De La Rosa by decision.

Zane Simon: Montana De La Rosa may just be the more technical fighter in this bout in every area. She’s worked hard on her boxing game, she shoots her takedowns well, and she’s at her absolute best as a scrambling grappler and back-take artist. She’s also just not an exceptional athlete. Notably she lacks speed and the pop that can come with that speed. I expect De La Rosa to stay in this fight and make it tough all the way through, but I think she’ll just find herself getting out-muscled too often by Barber in the clinch and on the mat. Maycee Barber by decision.

Staff picking Barber: Dayne, Zane, Stephie
Staff picking De La Rosa: Mookie

Charles Jourdain vs. Lando Vannata

Mookie Alexander: These two are going to inflict so much punishment on each other and I have no idea which way it’s going to go. Vannata may have the better shot of a singular connection that ends the fight, but he’s the worse defensive fighter and I think Jourdain has the cleaner minute to minute offense. Again, it’s great matchmaking and ultimately I believe Jourdain is going to have the more damaging moments on his way to a Fight of the Night bonus and a win on the scorecards. Charles Jourdain by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: I love this fight, and I’m not at all convinced I know who is going to come out with the win. Has it in him to be one of the slickest, most fluid fighters in the sport today. But I don’t know if it’s just the indecision of being spoiled for choice with all his tools, or a love of watching his own work, Vannata gets hit hard a lot. He has a nasty habit of dropping down right in front of people, throwing something cool, and getting clubbed in return. Jourdain has a reputation for high-flying power strikes. But he’s been finding his footing more and more as a consistent performer. No matter how his fights go, you can be sure he’s always taking every opportunity in front of him to hurt his opponent. Erosa laid out a game plan to beat him, behind relentless pressure and output. Can Vannata do that? The potential is there, but I feel a lot more certain that I know how Jourdain is going to perform from minute to minute. Charles Jourdain by decision.

Staff picking Jourdain: Mookie, Zane, Stephie
Staff picking Vannata: Dayne

Poll

Who wins?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Amanda Lemos
    (78 votes)
  • 73%
    Jessica Andrade
    (220 votes)
298 votes total Vote Now