The Bloody Elbow staff has made its predictions for UFC Sao Paulo, and everyone except Nick Baldwin is picking Jan Blachowicz to go into enemy territory to beat Jacare Souza. As for the co-main event, we’re all backing Mauricio Rua over Paul Craig.
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.
Note 2: We are looking at a new predictions format, and that means only having descriptions on our picks for the top handful of fights on smaller UFC events such as this one.
Ronaldo Souza vs. Jan Blachowicz
Mookie Alexander: Jacare is going to hit a point where he just looks “old.” I think we may be seeing that moment. Souza got really worked over for much of the Jack Hermansson fight, and he’s going up a weight class against someone who does have knockout power and significantly improved takedown defense. If this stays standing, I favor Blachowicz pretty comfortably at this stage. Jacare may be the more well-rounded, powerful fighter but he’s also more battle-worn and I think we’re starting to see him slow down. Jan Blachowicz by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: It’s not like Jacare can’t win this fight. But, it definitely feels like he’ll need to prove he can. Jack Hermansson pieced him up with his jab in his last bout in the cage, and that’s something Blachowicz is fully capable of doing. Jacare has the wrestling, and clearly the grappling chops to get this to the mat and get the sub. But there are always questions to be asked about fighters moving up who need to rely on takedowns. They’re just harder to get against bigger, stronger opponents. If Jacare can’t take Blachowicz down early, can I pick him to be the better boxer? Blachowicz seems like he’s just too tough and has too many range tools. Jan Blachowicz via decision.
Staff picking Jacare: Nick
Staff picking Blachowicz: Mookie, Stephie, Dayne, Zane, Phil
Mauricio Rua vs. Paul Craig
Mookie Alexander: Right, I can’t let myself get all depressed and trick myself into thinking Paul Craig is just gonna heel hook Shogun. If that happens, Rua retires before he exits the cage. What is sadly possible is Craig winning by club-and-sub again, much like he did in his last bout. Otherwise, Shogun does still hit hard and Craig isn’t exactly difficult to hurt. There’s a massive gap in technical ability and Craig isn’t a great wrestler. Mauricio Rua by PRIDE NEVER DIE, round 1.
Zane Simon: Shogun does seem to get hurt by the first hard shot that clips him in just about every fight. So, even without a lot of power, there’s a chance that Craig could just… land something, and jump on him for the finish. But, Shogun has also shown that to actually be KO’d his opponents still tend to have to be big hitters who can surprise him with well set up shots. Something I don’t think Craig can do. Otherwise, he’s the better boxer by a mile, and Craig still doesn’t have a really functional wrestling game to get to his grappling. Mauricio Rua via KO, round 1.
Phil Mackenzie: What a choice. On the one hand, Shogun is exactly one million years old in fight years and is eminently capable of being punched into dust. On the other hand, Paul Craig, as mentioned, can neither strike nor wrestle particularly well. Mauricio Rua by TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Shogun: Mookie, Stephie, Nick, Dayne, Zane, Phil
Staff picking Craig:
Charles Oliveira vs. Jared Gordon
Mookie Alexander: I really don’t understand this fight. Gordon is tough but he’s aggressive to a fault, and unless he catches Oliveira early, this just feels primed for this improved version of Oliveira to snatch up a guillotine and end things. Basically, the Gordon who scrambled around with Dan Moret cannot replicate that successfully against Oliveira. Charles Oliveira by submission, round 1.
Zane Simon: There’s a chance Gordon could overwhelm Oliveira just with sheer relentlessness (much more technical fighters have done so in the past). But, without that deep well of nuanced grappling and striking techniques, I think it’s more likely that Gordon’s constant aggression just throws him into the woodchipper of Oliveira’s increasingly technical standup game, and the ever dangerous grappling that sits behind it. Expect Gordon to start fast, but the first time he shoots in this fight may be over. Charles Oliveira via submission, round 1.
Phil Mackenzie: They couldn’t book Oliveira-Lentz IV, so I guess we get the next best thing…? Y’know, apart from Chucky Olives getting a ranked opponent or someone who is not some kind of variation on a Nik Lentz theme. Charles Oliveira by submission, round 1.
Staff picking Oliveira: Mookie, Stephie, Nick, Dayne, Zane, Shak, Phil
Staff picking Gordon:
Antonio Arroyo vs. Andre Muniz
Mookie Alexander: Didn’t realize the kid from Malcolm in the Middle was making his UFC debut. Oh, so apparently this is the wrong Muniz. I’ll still pick him. Andre Muniz by TKO, round 2.
Zane Simon: I dunno. Muniz is a lot more seasoned, and very well rounded. But, he’s been put away before, and is a pretty wild, rudimentary striker. Arroyo doesn’t set up his kicks as well as he should, but he’s very good about keeping his guard active and getting up. And he seems like the purely better athlete and more fluid fighter standing. Antonio Arroyo by TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Arroyo: Zane, Phil
Staff picking Muniz: Mookie, Stephie, Nick, Dayne, Shak
Markus Perez vs. Wellington Turman
Mookie Alexander: Turman had a case for beating Karl Roberson, but he just seems too wild to sustain any success in the UFC. Perez has the higher upside between the two and it’s not like he has sound process either. Markus Perez by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: Turman seems like he relies too much on a basic power wrestling game and aggressive grappling to keep safe. If he just stayed standing and boxed with Perez, he could probably out-work him. But if he shoots in and takes this fight to the mat, it’s hard to see him not getting swept and submitted. Markus Perez by submission, round 2.
Phil Mackenzie: Pretty close fight skill for skill: both wild men with some finishing power. The main thing I’m banking on is honestly that crazy, dynamic Brazilians tend to really show up for the home cards. Markus Perez by submission, round 2.
Staff picking Perez: Mookie, Stephie, Nick, Dayne, Zane, Shak
Staff picking Turman:
Sergio Moraes vs. James Krause
Mookie Alexander: Moraes has some Jorge Gurgel in him, except that chin has been compromised significantly in recent times. Krause isn’t a hard-hitter but he is accurate and can throw in volume, and the Krause who ripped apart Warlley Alves should be able to tear apart Moraes on the feet. James Krause by TKO, round 2.
Zane Simon: I’ve been a fan of Moraes’ stand-n-wang BJJ game for a while now. Which is why it pains me to say that lately he’s just looked bad. He seems slower, more flat footed, and more predictable than ever. Krause doesn’t pack a lot of power, and he’s had a habit of letting himself get clipped in the pocket while trying to be creative, but I just don’t trust any part of Moraes’ striking right now. James Krause by decision.
Phil Mackenzie: Feels like Moraes has been solved at this point. Two straight losses where he plodded around after someone eating calf kicks. Can Krause do that? Probably kind of, although he lacks the pop of both Alves and Martin. Krause’s general lack of physicality (he wasn’t a powerful lightweight, let alone a welter) is always a question mark should he end up in a protracted grappling exchange, but James Krause by decision.
Staff picking Moraes:
Staff picking Krause: Mookie, Stephie, Nick, Dayne, Zane, Shak, Phil
Francisco Trinaldo vs. Bobby Green
Mookie Alexander: I just don’t trust Green to do enough to win rounds. His boxing combinations may look pretty and effective but he lacks consistent volume and significant power to convincingly take decisions. Trinaldo may be 145 years old but he throws with power and in a fight that figures to be close, he may do more damage to win on the scorecards. Francisco Trinaldo by unanimous decision.
Phil Mackenzie: If Trinaldo is going to use lateral movement, body kick and throw the huge left hand, can I trust Bobby Green not to follow him in a big circle and make angry faces while doing jazz hands? I cannot. Francisco Trinaldo by unanimous decision.
Staff picking Trinaldo: Mookie, Stephie, Nick, Dayne, Shak, Phil
Staff picking Green: Zane
Warlley Alves vs. Randy Brown
Mookie Alexander: The Brown who fought and beat up Bryan Barberena is good enough to beat Warlley Alves, I just don’t know if we’ll get that version all the time. Brown doesn’t have any cardio issues and he has the offensive wrestling chops to offset Alves’ power striking. Underrated matchup that shouldn’t be this deep on the prelims, but the pick is Randy Brown by unanimous decision.
Phil Mackenzie: Probably one of the most fascinating matchups on the card, with both men coming off career-best performances. In general the strengths and weaknesses seem to line up for Brown: if Krause was able to strand Alves on the end of his jab, then Brown has more reach, and hits way harder. Brown still has some question marks around his takedown (Belal Remember The Name Muhammad), leg kick (BRTNM again) and grappling (Niko Price? A little debatable) defense, but that Barbarena fight was honestly about as clean and controlled a performance as you could hope to see. Randy Brown by TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Alves: Stephie, Nick, Dayne, Shak
Staff picking Brown: Zane, Mookie, Phil
Douglas Silva de Andrade vs. Renan Barao
Phil Mackenzie: Y tho. Douglas Silva de Andrade by TKO, round 1.
Staff picking Silva de Andrade: Stephie, Nick, Dayne, Zane, Mookie, Shak, Phil
Staff picking Barao:
Rest of the Card
Ricardo Ramos vs. Luiz Garagorri
Staff picking Ramos: Mookie, Stephie, Nick, Zane, Shak, Phil
Staff picking Garagorri:
Ariane Lipski vs. Isabella de Padua
Staff picking Lipski: Dayne, Zane, Mookie, Shak, Phil, Stephie
Staff picking de Padua: Nick
Vanessa Melo vs. Tracy Cortez
Staff picking Melo: Mookie, Stephie, Nick, Dayne, Shak, Phil
Staff picking Cortez: Zane
Who wins the Sao Paulo Main Event?
This poll is closed
504 votes total
About the author