UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs. Till staff picks and predictions

The Bloody Elbow staff has submitted its predictions for Sunday’s UFC Liverpool card, and it’s a unanimous choice in the main event, as we’re…

By: Mookie Alexander | 5 years ago
UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs. Till staff picks and predictions
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

The Bloody Elbow staff has submitted its predictions for Sunday’s UFC Liverpool card, and it’s a unanimous choice in the main event, as we’re all going for Stephen Thompson to beat Darren Till, making an already rough weekend for Liverpool that much worse. It’s also a unanimous nod for Neil Magny to get the win over Cage Warriors veteran Craig White in the co-main.

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 Phil Mackenzie 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.

Darren Till vs. Stephen Thompson

Mookie Alexander: Well I’m pretty much compelled to pick Till because he missed weight, am I not? Coming in heavy has seemingly been a winning formula for many UFC fighters as of late. When breaking down the specifics of this fight, I do think the size difference that Till enjoyed over Cerrone played a major factor in his dominant performance, and that won’t be there against Wonderboy. Thompson may not be high output, but he picks his spots well and I do think Till tends to ease off late in rounds. Also of concern is how often he absorbed leg kicks in the Bojan Velickovic fight. I think Wonderboy can exploit that and effectively fend off Till’s willingness to pressure. It should be a fascinating battle, but Till isn’t quite ready in my view. Stephen Thompson by unanimous decision.

Victor Rodriguez: I usually side with the fighter with a Muay Thai base over a karate guy almost every time, but this one gives me pause. Wonderboy should be able to stick and move, creating opportunities with side kicks and lots of evasive maneuvers. Till hits harder, but he’ll struggle to really get the timing down here and be the more accurate striker. Despite his explosiveness and more dynamic overall athleticism, at some point it seems Thompson will be the one dictating the tempo and working with more volume. Till should be able to work his leg kicks in and make things tighter over time, making this a closer affair. God, I really want to pick Till here, but still gotta go with the craftier veteran. Stephen Thompson by decision.

Staff picking Till:
Staff picking Wonderboy: Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Phil, Victor, Stephie, Mookie, Tim

Neil Magny vs. Craig White

Mookie Alexander: Craig White seems fun but “fun” normally isn’t the type of fighter that gives Neil Magny problems, and not on short notice. I’d have picked Gunnar Nelson to beat Magny had that fight stayed intact, but since he’s not here, I have to think Magny dominates this fight from top position and gets the W. Neil Magny by TKO, round 2.

Phil Mackenzie: Craig White is a good, fun fighter, and I got to watch his last win live at Cage Warriors. However, it’s also difficult to think of how he wins this one. He’s not a driving puncher, and capitalizes best off wild exchanges. He attacks submissions from his back rather than having a deep wrestling and top control game, and being on your back vs Magny has pretty much always meant a lost fight: he’s huge, smothering and lines up piledriver ground and pound given the chance. White could feasibly capitalize on Magny’s slow starting but even then it’s a struggle to see how exactly he gets it done unless Magny’s chin has been badly eroded. Neil Magny by TKO, round 2.

Victor Rodriguez: If you haven’t seen White fight before, you’re in for a treat. He’s capable of some very fun performances, but not the kind of opponent that can overwhelm Magny. He doesn’t present the kind of challenges that someone like Lorenz Larkin does, nor will he be able to bully Magny around. Magny’s got decent wrestling and good control on the ground, leading to the likely outcome of a decision win for Magny. Neil Magny by decision.

Staff picking Magny: Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Phil, Victor, Stephie , Mookie, Tim
Staff picking White:

Arnold Allen vs. Mads Burnell

Mookie Alexander: I like Arnold Allen’s upside. He hasn’t fought very often in the UFC, but he’s impressed when actually competing. Burnell is not a good striker and is unlikely to catch Allen in a submission, so I expect another win for Arnold. Arnold Allen by unanimous decision.

Phil Mackenzie: Burnell reminds me a little of Emil Weber Meek: a fighter who is perhaps technically a bit underwhelming, but who makes up the difference by having no real glaring flaws in any position, and is just super tough, aggressive, strong and keeps a great pace. In terms of pure athleticism, Allen has a clear limit which might actually be a touch underneath Burnell’s, but if Tristar specialize in anything it’s in clinically targeting defensive gaps. In this case, Burnell’s weirdly tight forearm guard leaving him open to sliding the jab up the middle and blinding him to the leg kick. Mix in some judicious takedowns where Allen is less likely to blow his gas tank than Mike Santiago, and I think we have a reasonably competitive but clear Arnold Allen by unanimous decision.

Victor Rodriguez: I’m still high on Arnold Allen, and am confident in his progression as a fighter to see him outstrike Burnell with speed and precision. Calling it a ground finish here. Arnold Allen by submission, round 1.

Staff picking Allen: Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Phil, Victor, Stephie, Mookie, Tim
Staff picking Burnell:

Makwan Amirkhani vs. Jason Knight

Mookie Alexander: Having described Knight as potentially being the new Jimy Hettes, I probably shouldn’t be picking him here. Amirkhani hits harder, Knight is far too hittable, and “Mr. Finland” is the better wrestler. However, I do think Amirkhani is quite prone to losing scrambles in key situations, and Knight seems to excel there. Onus is honestly on Amirkhani to keep it standing, because I think Knight can catch him on the ground and submit him. This is personally my favorite bout on the card outside of the main event, and I’m going with Jason Knight by split decision.

Phil Mackenzie: Small hype trains which both crashed meet in a fairly compelling fight. Knight is a concern. It feels a bit like Brandon Moreno, where his relatively unstructured game means that he’s starting to get figured out at exactly the point in his career where you’d be expecting a surge in ability, and it’s damaging his confidence. Amirkhani is surprisingly difficult to hit cleanly and a dogged wrestler, and Knight’s defense is generally his offense. He hits his own double legs fairly well, and is a strong scrambler, and throws a nice one-two down the pipe, but he just doesn’t respond defensively to anything very well. Amirkhani has little interstitial offense between flying knees and grinding on the mat, so it’s possible that Knight just lands more damage over three rounds, but I have to feel like Mr. Finland is the more coherent fighter at this point in time. Makwan Amirkhani by unanimous decision.

Victor Rodriguez: I’m feeling Amirkhani keeps getting his wrestling background overlooked because of how wild he is as a striker. He can keep it under control, though. I’ve doubted Knight in the past, and he’s proven me wrong – but this is the kind of opponent that could easily be in the top ten in due time. Amirkhani is a better athlete with more overall skills and a good chin that won’t fall for the kind of traps that Knight sets. Makwan Amirkhani by TKO, round 2.

Staff picking Amirkhani: Bissell, Phil, Victor, Stephie
Staff picking Knight: Nick, Dayne, Mookie, Tim

Eric Spicely vs. Darren Stewart

Mookie Alexander: Why is this on the main card? Darren Stewart has zero wins in four UFC fights. He’s been submitted in his last two bouts. Eric Spicely can submit people, including Thiago Santos, and he’ll tap out Darren Stewart. Eric Spicely by submission, round 1.

Phil Mackenzie: Darren Stewart just doesn’t seem to know what he wants to be. He’s not physically powerful enough to just hulk people in the clinch as he used to on the UK scene. His last fight against Julian Marquez showed some green shoots of promise: throwing in combination, working for takedowns… if he wasn’t going one thousand miles an hour and guaranteeing that he was going to exhaust himself. Spicely is a godawful athlete for middleweight, but a crafty fighter who knows what he’s good at: namely scrambles and submissions. Stewart’s inability to keep calm got him tapped against both Marquez and Roberson, so Eric Spicely by submission, round 2.

Staff picking Spicely: Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Phil, Victor, Stephie, Mookie
Staff picking Stewart: Tim

Claudio Silva vs. Nordine Taleb

Mookie Alexander: Nope. Taleb is an underrated fighter and Silva hasn’t fought in almost four years. Nordine Taleb by unanimous decision.

Phil Mackenzie: Claudio Silva comes to this fight off a red-hot win over current contender Leon Edwards which was, er, three and a half years ago, at that event when a skateboard beat Shogun. He’s surprisingly quick and explosive, and has a bunch of different offensive tricks for closing distance (punch-kick combinations, phase-shifts, even angles), but his striking defense is largely non-existent, and he has a bad tendency to fade. I guess the analogue here is probably Warlley Alves, but Silva just doesn’t have the physicality or finishing potential. Taleb will likely have some scares early but should be able to pick Silva off with straighter punches and chewing him up with kicks as the fight goes on. Nordine Taleb by unanimous decision.

Staff picking Silva:
Staff picking Taleb: Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Phil, Victor, Stephie, Mookie, Tim

Tom Breese vs. Daniel Kelly

Mookie Alexander: I expect Breese to comfortably outstrike Kelly, but no one would be surprised if Judo Dan worked his dadbod magic one more time. Breese has been out for some time and that gives me some concern. Tom Breese by unanimous decision.

Phil Mackenzie: I wonder where Breese is at right now. In his fight against Strickland, he looked like he was struggling with the concept of being the less technical fighter, and getting outworked. Since then, he was pulled from the London card for what sounded like a panic attack, and then had a major injury. None of this bodes well for a young fighter’s confidence, and Daniel Kelly is not a fighter that you can be less than confident against. I have to pick Breese- he is younger, faster and rangier, but there are serious issues to worry about here: Kelly’s ability to throw in combination, and underrated sneaky ability to meld punches kicks and trip takedowns, and his own excellent takedown defense. Hm. Tom Breese by unanimous decision.

Victor Rodriguez: I hate picking against Judo Dan, but Breese’s striking is just so damn good. He could keep Kelly at bay with his boxing and use his counter game to punish Kelly for the duration of the bout. Breese is part of the division’s future, and Kelly will break down over time – especially if Breese starts breaking out body shots. Tom Breese by TKO, round 3.

Staff picking Breese: Bissell, Nick, Phil, Victor, Stephie, Mookie
Staff picking Kelly: Dayne, Tim

Brad Scott vs. Carlo Pedersoli Jr.

Phil Mackenzie: Carlo Pedersoli Jr is a mix of intriguing and worrying. He’s an karate stylist, who moves well and has an accurate and clean kick and cross. He can wrestle and grapple. His defense, like a few other fighters, seems limited to getting out of dodge as fast as possible, or just throwing until the opponent gives up. His tendency to run backwards with his head up may get him clobbered by an aggressive, straight puncher. That’s not really Scott, though, who tends to press with singular wide sweeping hooks. While he could chop out Pedersoli’s trailing lead leg on the retreat as he did Askham, there’s a speed differential at work here which there wasn’t against the plodding Yorkshireman. Short notice is a concern, but Carlo Pedersoli by unanimous decision.

Victor Rodriguez: I’m going with the wild and reckless underdog pick. Pedersoli’s got some snazzy submission setups in his back pocket. I’m rocking with him. Carlo Pedersoli by decision.

Staff picking Scott: Bissell, Dayne
Staff picking Pedersoli: Nick, Victor, Stephie, Mookie, Tim

Gillian Robertson vs. Molly McCann

Phil Mackenzie: McCann is a fun pick-up from Cage Warriors, a blood and guts slugger who packs serious power for the division. Robertson is an aggressive sub hunter: if McCann just plows forward and lays down offense (as she tends to), she might plunge into a submission. The odds likely don’t reflect that possibility, but she should still be a favourite. Molly McCann by TKO, round 2.

Victor Rodriguez: A lot of people are high on Molly for good reason, she’s a gritty and hard-hitting fighter with a good chin. It just seems to me that Robertson’s amateur experience is being overlooked, and her submission prowess is going to play a big part if she fights smart. Happy to see her in the UFC, but Gillian’s going to spoil the coming-out party. Gillian Robertson by submission.

Staff picking Robertson: Victor
Staff picking McCann: Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Phil, Stephie, Mookie, Tim

Elias Theodorou vs. Trevor Smith

Phil Mackenzie: This should be intensely middleweight. Smith’s functional wrestling game has always been a little underrated, and he’s managed to become more defensively sound since his early days of getting flying kneed by Caio Magalhaes. That being said, Theodorou is bigger, throws a lot of flicking kicks from range, and Smith doesn’t really have the shot takedown or counterpunching game to capitalize. Do not expect fireworks. Elias Theodorou by unanimous decision.

Staff picking Theodorou: Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Phil, Victor, Stephie, Mookie, Tim
Staff picking Smith:

Lina Lansberg vs. Gina Mazany

Phil Mackenzie: I went into this wanting to pick Mazany. She’s younger and I think we’re starting to see Lansberg’s limitations, and they’re not insignificant. She is defensively liable on the feet, and not a fantastic wrestler. Basically, she’s only really threatening in the clinch. That being said, Mazany’s losses have all been characterized by a complete inability to deal with aggression and not being the fighter moving forward and dictating. Even Yanan Wu managed to force her into the fence for a solid 2-3 minutes. As long as Lansberg just presses forward and doesn’t let herself be trapped on bottom for long stretches she should have a sloppy and underwhelming fight in hand. I still hope we see something new from Mazany, though. Lina Lansberg by unanimous decision.

Victor Rodriguez: I’m with Phil here, Mazany will have some difficulty getting inside with Lina’s striking and distance management. I’d also probably favor Lansberg in the clinch with her knees and elbows, as well as really good cardio. Lina Lansberg by decision.

Staff picking Lansberg: Nick, Dayne, Phil, Victor, Stephie, Mookie, Tim
Staff picking Mazany: Bissell


Who wins the UFC Liverpool main event?

This poll is closed

  • 35%

    Thompson by stoppage

    (267 votes)

  • 16%

    Till by stoppage

    (124 votes)

  • 33%

    Thompson by decision

    (252 votes)

  • 1%

    Till by decision

    (14 votes)

  • 1%


    (8 votes)

  • 10%

    Real Madrid

    (82 votes)

747 votes total

Vote Now

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About the author
Mookie Alexander
Mookie Alexander

Mookie is a former Associate Editor for Bloody Elbow, leaving in August 2022 after ten years as a member of the staff. He's still lurking behind the scenes.

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