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UFC 275: Teixeira vs. Prochazka staff picks and predictions

Check out the Bloody Elbow staff’s picks and predictions for UFC 275 in Singapore.

The Bloody Elbow staff has made its picks for Saturday’s UFC 275 event in Singapore, and we’re predominantly picking Jiri Prochazka to take the light heavyweight title away from Glover Teixeira in the main event. In the co-main event, we’re unsurprisingly unanimously backing Valentina Shevchenko to successfully keep her women’s flyweight belt against Taila Santos. We’re also all picking Zhang Weili to win her rematch over Joanna Jedrejczyk in this battle of former women’s strawweight champions.

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.

Glover Teixeira vs. Jiri Prochazka

Anton Tabuena: Prochazka isn’t as tested as the veteran champion and he can also get too wild at times, so I can see Teixeira finding opportunities to either counter with a big shot or land a takedown. There are very real avenues to victory for Teixeira, but am I confident in seeing the 42-year-old just keep turning back Father Time? He’s repeatedly proven a lot of people wrong lately, but I’m not sure I would pick Glover to keep surviving big shots, especially against a faster and much more dynamic opponent in Prochazka. Jiri Prochazka by TKO.

Mookie Alexander: Teixeira can crack. He can grapple (boy he can grapple). Prochazka’s unpredictability and high-octane offense can come at the expense of getting out of position or getting clocked. There’s every reason to believe that Prochazka is vulnerable here especially if he gets a little too amped up. And yet... Teixeira gets hurt a lot and Prochazka has a million different ways to knock people stiff, so... Jiri Prochazka by KO, round 1.

Zane Simon: It’s not hard to see a lot of ways that Teixeira might be able to turn this fight in his favor. Prochazka loves to pressure with constant output and little defense; Glover may be more hittable and seemingly less durable than ever, but he rarely gets KO’d and has shown a terrific knack for turning moments of aggressive offense from his opponents into major momentum stealing swings for himself. Prochazka is a terrific athlete with fantastic vision, but if Glover can even just get on top of him and slow him down for a round, that might even things up enough to make this fight really interesting. All that said, Prochazka is a terrific athlete with fantastic vision, and a powerful KO artist who doesn’t just rely on the counter or single blitzing moments of offense, but a constantly cascading barrage of strikes. If he gets off to a hot start, I think he’ll end things quick. Jiri Prochazka via TKO, round 1.

Staff picking Teixeira: Victor, Dayne
Staff picking Prochazka: Mookie, Stephie, Anton, Zane

Valentina Shevchenko vs. Taila Santos

Anton Tabuena: It’s really hard to maintain dominance for half a decade, but I honestly just don’t think anyone in the top five can beat Shevchenko right now. If Peña beats Nunes again, I would rather see Shevchenko move up and try to win that second belt, since she already has a win over the champion. Either way, I don’t think this flyweight run will end anytime soon, but fans should probably appreciate this championship streak even more. Valentina Shevchenko by TKO.

Mookie Alexander: Shevchenko’s grip on the flyweight division I suspect will end within the next year. The division is getting better and the top prospects have shown a level of physicality and dynamic fighting ability that’s just not been prevalent in a lot of the top contenders over the years. Taila Santos has a chance to win a round. That’s about it. Shevchenko is too strong, won’t be taken down by the Brazilian, and will have a distinct advantage with her striking. Valentina Shevchenko by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: Much like (and perhaps even more so than) Jennifer Maia, Santos has a baseline physicality to her game to make this fight interesting. She’s got some good speed, real power, and some offensive skill everywhere. But it’s not really deep skill anywhere and it seems very unlikely that she’ll try to stay out at range and trade punches with Shevchenko. Instead both women like to use their striking as direct avenues into the clinch. But once they get there, Shevchenko is much, much more decisive. And if we go back to Santos’ loss to Borella, it was upperbody clinch trips that got her to the mat. That’s Shevchenko’s bread and butter. Valentina Shevchenko by decision.

Staff picking Shevchenko: Mookie, Stephie, Victor, Anton, Dayne, Zane
Staff picking Santos:

Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Anton Tabuena: Will Jedrzejczyk brawl less this time around? I really think it’s in her nature to engage in a firefight after getting cracked, so I believe this will still be as fun as the last one. I expect it to go back and forth again, but I think Zhang will still have better athleticism, physicality and power, which will be the key to winning more exchanges as they wear each other down. I just wish they paid them more to make it a five rounder, but oh well. Weili Zhang by Decision.

Mookie Alexander: A layoff that long is going to raise a lot of questions about rustiness for Joanna, which means in a three-rounder she really cannot afford a slow start. There’s not a lot to separate these two (as evidenced by the first fight), but one area where I feel Zhang has the edge is her physicality. Joanna’s takedown defense is exemplary and was so in the first fight, but just the threat of Zhang’s wrestling could throw off Jedrzejczyk’s rhythm and ability to get strikes off at will. I also suspect Zhang is a little more powerful with her shots and her more damaging shots will see her get the W again. Zhang Weili by Decision.

Zane Simon: The layoff is one concern for me with Jedrzejczyk in this fight, but the bigger one is of power married with consistency. I won’t lie, I’m a little worried that Zhang is a little too willing to mix things up from fight to fight to come with a similar approach that she took in the first bout. If she does come to wrestle, that’s been a losing approach for everyone but Shevchenko. But, if I assume she does a lot of things the same, then the trouble for Jedrzejczyk is, when faced with a striker that can keep pace with her and track her down in open space, the only solution she’s ever really found is to try and create more volume. Zhang is just too light on her feet to make me think that Jezdrzejczyk can matador her the way she did a much more plodding (especially at the time) Andrade. And given that Jedrzejczyk has a serious blind spot for left hooks, if she has to have numerous exchanges with Zhang, I just think she’ll get hit too clean too often to make a pure numbers game the focus of the fight. It was a problem in the first bout and it was a problem against Namajunas and it was a problem against Shevchenko. Weili Zhang by decision.

Staff picking Zhang: Mookie, Stephie, Victor, Anton, Dayne, Zane
Staff picking Jedrzejczyk:

Jake Matthews vs. Andre Fialho

Zane Simon: I love Fialho’s UFC run to date, and I really like the set of skills he’s putting together behind a heavy power-punching game. But, I feel like this is going to be a course correction fight for him. Matthews is very hard to hurt on the feet and very safety minded with his standup, while still being strong enough to land hard shots in open space. Considering Cameron VanCamp didn’t have trouble hitting Fialho, I expect Matthews will land his strikes when he looks to, and probably do it while giving less to hit in return. Otherwise, Fialho’s loss to Glaico Franca seems instructive, since that’s a fight where Franca was able to repeatedly shoot in, push him back, and bank grinding time on top just through persistance and will. That’s exactly the kind of wrestling game that works best for Matthews. Add in the quick turnaround for Fialho, and this feels like a disappointing loss. Jake Matthews by decision.

Staff picking Matthews: Anton, Zane
Staff picking Fialho: Mookie, Dayne, Stephie

Jack Della Maddalena vs. Ramazan Emeev

Mookie Alexander: This is a “hope” picks more than anything. Emeev is one of my least favorite fighters to watch on the roster. Like 80% of his game is clinch control and grappling without the slightest threat of a finish. There are still questions about Maddalena’s defensive wrestling and grappling to be answered, and I fear he might give up a round just off Emeev stifling his offense. The hope is that his sharp striking and timing flummoxes Emeev and he ends up winning the rest of the fight by having his damage outweigh Emeev’s nothingness. Jack Della Maddalena by decision.

Zane Simon: The version of Ramazan Emeev who first hit the UFC is a guy that I would probably pick to beat Della Maddalena 9x out of 10. A durable, grinding, wrestle focused fighter who was fairly fearless in his pursuit of control positions. And while the grind is still there, the confidence in getting to it seems to be eroding. Every fight for the past three years has involved Emeev getting tagged up and hurt in whatever time he spends standing, making his control focused wrestling much less effective to judges. The loss to Danny Roberts feels like a telling one to that effect. Della Maddalena may not be the best wrestler in the world, because he’s SO offensively focused, but if Emeev can’t do major damage to him, then the amount of offense the Aussie creates seems like a major problem. Jack Della Maddalena via TKO, round 3.

Staff picking Maddalena: Mookie, Stephie, Victor, Anton, Dayne, Zane
Staff picking Emeev:

Jacob Malkoun vs. Brendan Allen

Zane Simon: I like what Malkoun’s been doing in the cage a lot. He’s learned to keep a jab out in front of him when stepping into the pocket, he lands strikes in transition positions, and he works through a variety of wrestling attacks to find what works. And when something works? He sticks with it. He’s still not the fastest, strongest, or most durable guy in the cage, however. And it feels like a lot of his success has come from being a better grappler than the men he’s trying to take down. That won’t be the case with Allen, who is dangerous anytime he’s on the mat, in any position. Given Allen’s aggressive distance striking game and clinch offense as well, it seems like a pick your poison fight for Malkoun. Brendan Allen via Submission, round 1.

Staff picking Malkoun:
Staff picking Allen: Mookie, Anton, Dayne, Zane, Stephie

Seung Woo Choi vs. Joshua Culibao

Anton Tabuena: I am obviously rooting for the Filipino to pull off some wild ninja shit. Joshua Culibao by TKO

Zane Simon: Much like Malkoun, I like what Culibao is putting together a lot. He knows how to build effective aggression and to make fights difficult for opponents using whatever gaps he can find. A big part of that, however (and a remaining struggle) seems to be distance offense and whether or not his opponents have it. If Culibao can be relatively safe from range, he can get clever with his kicks and jabs and he can stifle the offensive game of opponents inside. But when fighters have a range advantage on him, or are even just willing to throw from distance, he tends to get hit clean and hard, and often unbalanced. Seung Woo Choi is practically all dangerous range offense. Seems like it might be a really tough style matchup for Culibao to solve. Seung Woo Choi via TKO, round 2.

Staff picking Choi: Mookie, Dayne, Zane, Stephie
Staff picking Culibao: Anton

Steve Garcia vs. Hayisaer Maheshate

Zane Simon: If Malkoun and Culibao are less athletic dudes who tend to find crafty ways to break down better opposition, Steve Garcia has a much more one-size-fits-all approach. Mostly, he throws himself into the pocket and looks to create chaos. He’s got some tight form on his hooks, and some decent shots into aggressive top control (probably the best part of his game). But all of it is channeled through having to wade into the teeth of his opponent’s offense and take whatever they’re throwing back in return. Is Maheshate good enough to offer a consistent enough threat to Garcia to find a KO or even just control him for three rounds? Could be, but I’m not terribly convinced from his Contender Series bout. For now, I’ll take Steve Garcia via TKO, round 2.

Staff picking Garcia: Mookie, Anton, Dayne, Zane, Stephie
Staff picking Maheshate:

Kang Kyung-ho vs. Danaa Batgerel

Zane Simon: Kang definitely has more options to change things up if he wants to. He’s got the wrestling and grappling chops to frustrate Batgerel and take him out of this fight. But what Kang wants to do in a fight is always hard to predict. Sometimes he’ll stick with a range striking battle, sometimes he’ll go wild with a brawl, sometimes he’ll get to control positions and just kind of... do nothing? We all know what Batgerel is coming to do. Either moving forward or backwards he’s looking for the counter left hook, and he’ll keep pumping out a steady diet of punches to set it up if he doesn’t get a lot of offense from his opponent. It’s a chancy pick, but I’ll take Batgerel for the decision. I know what fight he’ll be looking to have, and I can’t say that for Kang.

Staff picking Kang: Anton, Dayne
Staff picking Danaa: Mookie, Zane, Stephie

Liang Na vs. Silvana Gómez Juárez

Zane Simon: I like Gomez Juarez’s game a lot more than Na’s but I’m just not convinced she’s a powerful enough athlete to really find wins with it in the UFC. If Na just goes out and goes ham on her to create a wild, scrambling grappling game, is Gomez Juarez gonna stop it? Liang Na via submission, round 1.

Staff picking Liang: Mookie, Anton, Dayne, Zane, Stephie
Staff picking Juarez:

Ramona Pascual vs. Joselyne Edwards

Zane Simon: Edwards’ wrestling defense is miserable, this fight is at featherweight where she’s never fought before. Pascual is clearly durable as hell and can hit some quality shots even when exhausted and beat up. Ramona Pascual by decision.

Staff picking Pascual: Anton, Dayne, Zane, Stephie
Staff picking Edwards: Mookie

Poll

Who wins?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    Teixeira and Shevchenko
    (183 votes)
  • 4%
    Teixeira and Santos
    (28 votes)
  • 62%
    Prochazka and Shevchenko
    (370 votes)
  • 2%
    Prochazka and Santos
    (15 votes)
596 votes total Vote Now