The Bloody Elbow staff has made its picks for Saturday’s UFC Vegas 55 event, and we’re unanimously picking Holly Holm over Ketlen Vieira in the main event. Opinion is more split on the co-main between Santiago Ponzinibbio and Michel Pereira, which could be the frontrunner for Fight of the Night.
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 Zane Simon 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.
Holly Holm vs. Ketlen Vieira
Mookie Alexander: Vieira at least showed she can go five rounds without her cardio falling apart in her win against Miesha Tate. However, Tate couldn’t get her to the mat and was at a distinct disadvantage on the feet. Holm is absolutely going to have the superior striking, and she’s pretty damn strong so Vieira will find it a lot harder to just outwrestle and outgrapple her at will. There are just too many things that need to go right for Vieira to win this, not the least of which is for her to get past Holm’s jab and kicks and create any consistent round-winning offense. This is Holm’s fight to lose. Holly Holm by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: With the exception of a big comeback submission win for Miesha Tate the fighters that have found a way to beat Holly Holm have done so through one notable avenue, they’ve out-struck her. Opponents that can’t land the bigger shots more consistently pretty much always fail to take a decision away from Holm. Vieira has the size to compete, might even have the strength and power, but I just haven’t seen any of the consistency in her standup. While the Brazilian may have a good grappling edge on the ground, taking Holm down and keeping her there has been notably impossible over her MMA career. Seems all primed for a 5-round decision. Holly Holm by decision.
Staff picking Holm: Zane, Mookie, Connor, Dayne, Stephie, Victor
Staff picking Vieira:
Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Michel Pereira
Mookie Alexander: I don’t really like a lot of what I’ve seen from Ponzinibbio since his injury/health problems set him back. Li Jingliang obviously lit him up, he had a slow start before rallying back against a very defensively challenged Miguel Baeza, then had a surprisingly flat showing against Geoff Neal. For as much of a wild man as Pereira tends to be, we’ve seen a bit more composed version of him in his recent fights (except against Niko Price, which was chaotic and eventually he was hanging on for dear life). He is a striking threat but he’s also proven formidable on the mat with his ability to get takedowns. If this is just pure striking then Ponzinibbio might have the win in his sights, but I suspect Pereira might change things up a bit and catch The Ponz off guard. Michel Pereira by decision.
Zane Simon: I don’t think this is likely to be an easy fight for Ponzinibbio, but I do think it’s one that his natural predilection for pressure and combination punching leaves him well suited to win. Even following his KO loss to Li Jingliang, the ‘Argentine Dagger’ has still looked hard to put away in recent bouts. And he’s shown the kind of dogged determination to stay in fights that can keep him competitive with just about anyone. Pereira can change just about any fight in a second, and he’s done a lot better lately staying calm and keeping dangerous late into fights. But he’s still pretty bad at controlling the tempo of his bouts. And when Andre Fialho was willing to stay in his face and throw multi-punch combos he had a lot of success finding Pereira’s chin. It’s something I think Ponzinibbio can recreate with a lot more round-by-round consistency. Santiago Ponzinibbio by decision.
Staff picking Ponzinibbio: Zane, Connor, Stephie, Victor
Staff picking Pereira: Mookie, Dayne
Chidi Njokuani vs. Dusko Todorovic
Mookie Alexander: It’s hard to ignore how badly Tudorovic’s losses have gone and how Njokuani can exploit that. His power clearly has to be respected not just historically but also for what he did to the notoriously durable Marc-Andre Barriault. Njokuani has a tendency to be a bit inconsistent with his offensive rhythm, which could provide opportunities for Todorovic to try and wrestle and force him into grappling exchanges, but I get the sense that he’s going to eat one too many big shots and pay the price. Chidi Njokuani by TKO, round 2.
Zane Simon: There’s no doubt that Njokuani is the far superior striker here. But even given his power and technical quality, his quick KO over Marc-Andre Barriault was something of a shock. For the most part, Njokuani has a habit of letting opponents hang around with him and letting them make fights more difficult than they should be. Todorovic is absolutely primed to get lit up by hard shots, but he’s also incredibly determined to take a hard fight to people. If Njokuani is going to end up clinched up with Todorovic over and over, I think Todorovic can find takedowns and find ways to out-grapple ‘Chidi Chidi Bang Bang’. Dusko Todorovic via submission, round 2.
Staff picking Njokuani: Mookie, Dayne, Stephie, Victor
Staff picking Todorovic: Zane, Connor
Polyana Viana vs. Tabatha Ricci
Mookie Alexander: Viana gonna get outgrappled. Tabatha Ricci by submission, round 2.
Zane Simon: Polyana Viana is at all times exceptionally willing to grapple and Tabatha Ricci should be the much better, more consistent grappler. Tabatha Ricci via submission, round 1.
Staff picking Viana:
Staff picking Ricci: Zane, Mookie, Connor, Dayne, Stephie
Eryk Anders vs. Jun Yong Park
Mookie Alexander: There’s every reason to believe this fight is not going to be good to watch. We’ve seen Park throw down (and it resulted in a loss) against Gregory Rodrigues, but that may in turn make him hesitant to go in too deep against Anders and his power. Most likely this is just a slow-paced battle for control with some forgettable kickboxing exchanges in and around the edges of this fight. Jun Yong Park by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: I’m always a little worried when Park is fighting. His style of high-volume pocket brawling tends to make him an easy target for return fire. And the fact that he’s not the biggest puncher or fastest athlete in the world means that he’s usually walking a tightrope in bouts, trying to land the better shots while not getting hurt so bad he gets put away. Anders is bigger, stronger, and more powerful, but he’s also a much more awkward fighter everywhere, and still has trouble striking in combination. As long as Park can keep scrambles going, and doesn’t get scared off or put out standing with Anders, I think he can out-work ‘Ya Boi’ for the win. Jun Yong Park by decision.
Staff picking Anders: Dayne
Staff picking Park: Zane, Mookie, Connor, Stephie
This poll is closed