The Bloody Elbow staff has submitted its predictions for UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs. Leites in Glasgow, Scotland. Tim Burke, who was one of only two people to pick Frank Mir over Todd Duffee, is the only one going for Thales Leites to beat Michael Bisping AND the lone dissenter in the co-main between Ross Pearson and Evan Dunham. He also plans on picking Takanori Gomi to win every fight next week, so take that with a grain of salt.
Note: Predictions are entered throughout the week and collected on Friday. Explanations behind each pick are not required and some writers opt not to do so for their own reasons. For example, if Phil Mackenzie entered all of his predictions on Tuesday 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.
Michael Bisping vs. Thales Leites
Anton Tabuena: After his earlier stint, who would’ve thought that Leites would be headlining a UFC event in 2015? It’s pretty impressive, but I think he has his hands full on this one. Even if Bisping seems to be closing the end of his athletic prime, he should still be the better overall fighter. Michael Bisping by Decision.
Mookie Alexander: Truth be told, I would pick Leites in a 3 round fight. But I don’t trust him to win later rounds against someone like Bisping. This is a case where Leites has to, as Zane said, either win like Kennedy over 5 rounds or destroy him like Rockhold, Vitor, etc. have done in the past. For as much as Leites’ striking has improved and Bisping’s chin is getting worse by the minute, there’s a big difference between schooling Francis Carmont and then Michael Bisping. I think Bisping starts slowly (as usual) and then starts to work his boxing a little bit more, stuff the takedowns, tire Leites out, and get a decision. I wouldn’t be shocked if Leites got the win, though. There is going to come a time where Bisping starts losing to guys he’d otherwise beat regularly (8 out of 12 times, or 80%), and we almost saw it happen vs. Dollaway. Michael Bisping by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: This is one of those weird fights where I don’t feel like there’s a good, concrete prediction to be made. Leites is a few years younger than Bisping, but he’s actually been fighting longer. While he’s looked better lately, I’m not particularly sure that that’s not just because Bisping is fighting and losing to better competition. Eventually, my question becomes: Can Leites squeak out a decision going the Kennedy/Sonnen route, or is he dynamic enough to pull a Rockhold? Frankly, I’m not convinced of any of those things. Bisping is super hard to submit and for as often as he gets hurt in fights, it’s really only guys with facemelting power that have put him away. Leites will have to be super consistent everywhere to win and well… I’m picking Michael Bisping by decision, especially over 5 rounds.
Fraser Coffeen: I’m really struggling here because I just don’t feel like I have a good read on either guy at all at this point in their careers. I feel like Bisping is generally a pretty underrated fighter, with many fans confusing their dislike of his personality with a dismissal of his skills. But he’s been struggling more and more lately and has not picked up back to back wins since 2011. Meanwhile, Leites has never really super impressed me, which feels weird to say about a guy on an 11-1 run against all solid competition. Prime vs. prime, this is all Bisping, but in 2015? Much harder to call, and while I lean Bisping (as apparently does the entire staff), don’t let our near clean sweep fool you into thinking this is a lopsided fight. Michael Bisping by decision
Staff picking Bisping: Rainer, Zane, Stephie, Mookie, Phil, Fraser, Anton
Staff picking Leites: Tim
Evan Dunham vs. Ross Pearson
Anton Tabuena: Remember when Dunham dominated Sherk and we thought he’s the next best thing? It kinda didn’t pan out. I don’t think he turns the tide here either. Ross Pearson by Decision.
Mookie Alexander: This is my favorite fight on the card. Neither one of these guys is championship material, but they’re both fun to watch when they’re at their best. Dunham is a brutally slow starter and that has gotten him in big trouble far too often in his career. Pearson isn’t fast out of the gates, mind you, but he’s got a big opportunity in front of him if he can start fast and put Evan under pressure. Dunham has the physical tools to trouble Pearson, but I like Ross’ technically sound boxing and increased power to get him past the once promising lightweight talent. I don’t expect too many takedowns or ground exchanges in this one. Ross Pearson by decision.
Zane Simon: There is every possibility that Dunham uses his aggressive pressure game to overwhelm Pearson, and get him slipping and rolling right into something that hurts him. But, in general, it’s really only been more athletic/technical strikers that have broken down Pearson’s boxing (an injury in the Cole Miller fight notwithstanding). At the same time, it’s more technical strikers that have largely beat Dunham as well. Since Pearson is a much better striker than everyone Dunham has beat and Dunham isn’t as good a striker as the guys that have beat Pearson… Ross Pearson by decision.
Phil Mackenzie: Evan Dunham has gone from being hugely overrated to being criminally underrated. In part this is because he has such a clearly defined style that is going to be great against some guys and terrible against others. Roughly summarized- ugly, low power jabs and one-twos plus some kicks from the outside, then into the clinch where he’ll attempt to outwork the other guy with sheer pace and durability. Doesn’t seem special, but he made it work against Gleison Tibau where Hallmann, Parke etc failed, and he deserved to beat RDA in my book. Basically, meet him head-on, and you’re in for a rough night. Fight him consistently on the outside and he’s in trouble. Pearson’s a little overrated- his loss to Iaquinta was at the tail end of a string of stylistic lay-ups with “names”. He is the better striker, but being English he’s far too in love with slip-> left hook as the solution to absolutely everything. I’ll take Pearson in an absolute cracker of a fight, I think he’s in his athletic prime and Dunham isn’t, but I wouldn’t be remotely surprised to see Dunham nail him with a step-knee when he ducks in or to see the stronger and more durable fighter bully him around. Ross Pearson by unanimous decision
Staff picking Dunham: Tim
Staff picking Pearson: Rainer, Phil, Zane, Stephie, Mookie, Fraser, Anton
Joseph Duffy vs. Ivan Jorge
Anton Tabuena: The McGregor Killer. Joseph Duffy by TKO.
Mookie Alexander: Oh, well I’m not picking the guy who lost to Rodrigo Damm just a year ago to beat a really good prospect, so … Joseph Duffy by whatever he wants, round 1.
Phil Mackenzie: What with that Affleck vs Flying Murderjesus movie coming out and now this, it’s not a good time to be a fan of Batman. He’s going to get duffed. Joseph Duffy by TKO, round 2
Zane Simon: Holy mismatch Batman! Joseph Duffy is going to go all Knightfall era Bane and put a serious beating on the caped crusader. Joe Duffy by KO. Round 1.
Staff picking Duffy: Rainer, Phil, Zane, Stephie, Mookie, Fraser, Tim, Anton
Staff picking Jorge:
Joanne Calderwood vs. Cortney Casey-Sanchez
Zane Simon: Despite the late notice and inexperience, I think this is the right fight for Calderwood. She got manhandled by Maryna Moroz last time out and it threw some brutal perspective on her MMA career. Notably, she hasn’t faced a lot of great athletes, and when she has, she’s struggled. The most physically gifted fighter she’d taken on before Moroz was probably Norma Rueda-Center, who despite being raw as all hell, still gave Calderwood a scrap. (Shoutout to the Killer Bunny for being tough, scrappy, and skilled). And there too we have Cortney Casey-Sanchez, a raw but potential laden prospect. Calderwood needs to prove she can really show up and dominate athletes that deserve to be in the UFC, skilled or unskilled. I think she’ll win, but it’s all about how good she looks doing it. Joanne Calderwood by decision.
Phil Mackenzie: UFC WMMA has seen a lot of hype trains of various size go crashing off the rails. Calderwood was one of the more cataclysmic ones, where she got absolutely thumped by a BJJ fighter in what was nominally Calderwood’s specialty before getting tapped out. I mean, Cortney’s only got 5 pro fights. But Maryna Moroz only had 6, and frankly looked less talented than Casey-Sanchez prior. Calderwood sounds like her head still really isn’t in it, at all, and this is not the sport for that. Cortney Casey-Sanchez by unanimous decision.
Fraser Coffeen: I’m increasingly feeling like the key to picking most WMMA fights is physicality. We’re at a point in the evolution of the women’s division where a talented fighter like Roxanne Modafferi just can’t overcome her lack of physical strength, and so we get predictable fights like this past week’s Andrade vs. Moras. And looking at the physical tools here, I am sorry to say, I don’t like Jojo’s chances. Courtney Casey-Sanchez by decision
Staff picking Calderwood: Rainer, Zane, Stephie, Mookie, Tim, Anton
Staff picking Casey-Sanchez: Phil, Fraser
Leon Edwards vs. Pawel Pawlak
Mookie Alexander: I dunno. Edwards just has that feel of being an eternally inconsistent fighter in the UFC. For every awesome KO he has, he’ll drop some decisions due to lack of volume and not much of a ground game. Pawlak is decent but he doesn’t stand out anywhere. He has the advantage on the mat but I don’t think he’s going to last 3 rounds standing with Leon. Leon Edwards by TKO, round 2.
Phil Mackenzie: Leon Edwards is the easy pick, he’s faster and has a ton more power and striking technique, but Pawlak is aggressive, and a real gamer. More to the point, Edwards doesn’t throw remotely enough volume. He should mop up but a frustrating and totally preventable decision loss is a distinct possibility. Leon Edwards by TKO, round 1
Zane Simon: Leon Edwards is going to take Pawlak’s lunch money and stuff him in a locker. Edwards’ biggest problem is with exerting constant pressure against bigger, tougher fighters. Pawlak is neither of those things. I doubt he can get Edwards down and he can’t hang with him standing. Leon Edwards by KO, Round 1.
Staff picking Edwards: Rainer, Phil, Stephie, Mookie, Fraser, Tim, Zane, Anton
Staff picking Pawlak:
Leonardo Mafra Teixeira vs. Steven Ray
Phil Mackenzie: Stevie Ray looked good last time, but Leo Mafra is several dozen steps ahead of Marcin Bandel physically speaking. This should be an interesting one- I’m still not sure that Mafra isn’t carrying a bit too much muscle in his lightweight incarnation. Someone like Stevie Ray can really force him to work. Overall though, I think Mafra’s improvements in wrestling as well as his retained power mean his potential routes to victory (top control 29-28 decision or big punches early on) probably outweigh Ray’s. Could be great fun though. Leonardo Mafra Texeira by unanimous decision
Zane Simon: I feel like Ray and Mafra had pretty similar opponents last time out. Both were faced with aggressive, one dimensional grapplers without a lot of secondary skills or big athletic upside. Ray bulldozed Marcin Bandel to a second round TKO, Mafra beat up Carrizosa to a decision win. Eventually, as much as I think Mafra is a physical freak and as much as I like the young talent Chute Boxe is producing right now, I don’t think Mafra has it in him to take a decision off Ray. Ray is too strong, too good a wrestler, and hits too hard. Steven Ray by submission, RNC in Round 2.
Staff picking Mafra: Rainer, Phil, Stephie, Tim
Staff picking Ray: Zane, Mookie, Fraser, Anton
Patrick Holohan vs. Vaughan Lee
Mookie Alexander: Vaughan Lee is ridiculously inconsistent, and he lost his last fight, which keeps his win-then-lose pattern in the UFC holding steady. I’m really good at pattern recognition, at least based on the my old elementary school state test reports, so that means … Vaughan Lee by decision.
Phil Mackenzie: I’ve never been high on Paddy Holohan, even after he beat Josh Sampo, for broadly similar reasons to why I was always suspicious of Niklas Backstrom- basically, you need to show me more than flying attacks and high risk submission grappling. Despite obvious disparities in records, I actually favour Vaughan Lee quite strongly here. I think he’s a much better striker who has figured out a decent high-volume style. His tendency to get massively overconfident could be his doom against an opportunist like Holohan, but Vaughan Lee by unanimous decision
Zane Simon: I’m with Phil here, and not just because I’ve always been a bit of a mark for Vaughan Lee. Holohan’s style is just so untrustworthy. When he’s not leaping in for big strikes, he’s giving up all kinds of position for submissions on a wing and a prayer. His loss to a pretty mediocre but solidly controlling Chris Kelades somewhat reinforced all my doubts about his prospects and a win over Shane Howell (especially a decision win) does nothing to inspire confidence. That may seem harsh, but Lee seems like the much more hot and cold fighter. When he’s on he’s great, when he’s off he can get beat. Still, I’ll take a chance on Lee being on than I will of Holohan getting enough power behind something to hurt him or submitting him off his back. Vaughan Lee by Decision.
Staff picking Holohan: Rainer
Staff picking Lee: Phil, Stephie, Zane, Mookie, Fraser, Tim, Anton
Ilir Latifi vs. Hans Stringer
Mookie Alexander: The all-time greatest of all-time is back. Ilir Latifi by sledgehammering, round 1.
Phil Mackenzie: Stringer looked really bad last time out. Weirdly bad. He’s never struck me as a mediocre enough athlete to get exhausted by his own top control, but that’s basically what happened against Maldonado. I’m going to pick Latifi, he’s way more physically powerful and aggressive, but he’s got gaping defensive flaws and Stringer probably isn’t as bad as we think he is? Ilir Latifi by sub, round 2
Zane Simon: If Ilir Latifi loses this fight, we’re essentially out another potentially fun fighter at LHW. Latifi isn’t a future contender or anything, but he’s powerful, has an interesting style, and can compete at a reasonably high physical level. String seems like the classic case of a young kid who wore his body out before his skills could really develop in the cage. He has 31 fights over a decade and he’s only 28. Even off a win, I’d have serious doubts that Stringer can turn a corner in his career and become a really solid talent even in a division as thin as 205. Ilir Latifi by TKO, Round 1.
Staff picking Latifi: Rainer, Phil, Stephie, Zane, Mookie, Fraser, Tim, Anton
Staff picking Stringer:
Mickael Lebout vs. Teemu Packalen
Phil Mackenzie: Whatever Crossfight are doing with Lebout, Lapilus and Duquesnoy, they should keep doing it. Lebout looked way better than I thought he would against Sergio Moraes, and he probably deserved to win that fight. Mickael Lebout by unanimous decision
Zane Simon: This is going to be a really interesting fight between two really well matched opponents. Both guys have some decent boxing, although I’d say Packalen has the better and more powerful hands and worse footwork and movement. Both guys have some good offensive wrestling and Packalen is probably the better submission offense and Lebout’s sub defense is fantastic. It’s very likely a tossup fight, but I’ll pick Lebout, because I liked him when I scouted him and think he can be a scrappy action fighter in the division. Also he’s not coming in on short notice. Mickael Lebout by decision.
Staff picking Lebout: Rainer, Stephie, Zane, Mookie, Fraser, Tim, Anton
Staff picking Packalen:
Paul Redmond vs. Robert Whiteford
Phil Mackenzie: You know, this preliminary card is hard as shit to pick. Getting dummied by Mirsad Bektic wasn’t exactly surprising, and didn’t tell us much about a fairly talented submission grappler in Paul Redmond. Similarly, the one big blemish on Rob Whiteford’s record is Jimi Hettes in his UFC debut, when fighters tend to underperform the most. In a fight between sub grapplers, I think Daniel Pineda’s a better win than anyone Redmond’s beaten, and Whiteford’s striking has improved a bit, so Robert Whiteford by unanimous decision
Zane Simon: This card is hard to pick. A lot of really close fights between guys desperate to make a name for themselves. In this case, I’ve got to go with Redmond. Whiteford is the better athlete, and he’s got a powerful boxing/judo centric game, but I really like what Redmond’s been developing lately. Initially known as a sub hunter, he’s put together a decent pocket boxing game and a pretty good wrestling game to go with his sneaky submission offense. Whiteford has the athleticism, but he’s really inconsistent and his offense comes in sprints. Paul Redmond by decision.
Staff picking Redmond: Zane
Staff picking Whiteford: Rainer, Phil, Stephie, Mookie, Fraser, Tim, Anton
Marcus Brimage vs. Jimmie Rivera
Phil Mackenzie: Can I just get an easy fight to call please? I tried listening to the Vivisection to crib picks, but without Nate there to shout at everyone I fell asleep. Zane and Connor too goddamn soothing and dulcet for their own good. Anyway, Brimage probably isn’t quite as physically gifted as he fights like he is, if that makes sense, but he’s still pretty talented. Rivera is a similar fighter whose game is appearing to “click” a bit more with some decent wins over solid regional competition. I guess my pick comes down to whether Brimage has gone back to training with ATT rather than doing his own thing in ‘Bama. In researching which of these is true, I have instead found that he has a lot of Astrology stuff on his twitter timeline. Like, a LOT. Good enough for me! Jimmie Rivera by unanimous decision
Zane Simon: Damn it. I don’t know. I really don’t. Rivera is on a serious roll and he’s developed a nice overall game. On the other side Brimage seems to have finally found his niche as an action striker and he’s really gotten pretty decent at it. Rivera isn’t quite as good a boxer as Garbrandt and that was a close fight for Brimage. And despite Rivera’s wrestling background, it’s not exactly a skill he likes to go to. So this probably ends up being a shoot out and I think that’s a real 50/50 scenario. I guess I’ll take Rivera, momentum is on his side, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Brimage gets the win. Jimmie Rivera by decision.
Staff picking Brimage: Mookie, Tim, Anton
Staff picking Rivera: Rainer, Stephie, Zane, Phil, Fraser
Chris de la Rocha vs. Daniel Omielanczuk
Mookie Alexander: Heavyweight results don’t make sense anymore, so while Omielanzcuk should be the pick here, I’m going with Chris De La Rocha by Raging Against the Machine, round 3.
Phil Mackenzie: Only four fights into an MMA career, but a UFC run has to start somewhere. It has to start somehow. What better place than here? What better time than now? De la Rocha might have some potential but he is super duper green. Omielanczuk’s not fantastic, but he’s a specialist in the same area as de la Rocha and much more experienced on the feet. De la Rocha’s abilities to rip the mike, rip the stage, rip the system, as well as his seemingly innate or inborn capacity to rage against ‘em could potentially even things up, but Daniel Omielanczuk by submission, round 2
Zane Simon: It’s heavyweight, so anything can happen. Omielanczuk should win. Really. But De La Rocha is big, athletic and a willing brawler, so who knows. Daniel Omielanczuk by TKO, Round 2.
Staff picking de la Rocha: Mookie
Staff picking Omielanczuk: Rainer, Phil, Stephie, Zane, Fraser, Tim, Anton
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