UFC Fight Night: Lee vs. Oliveira staff picks and predictions

The BE team has made its picks for UFC Brasilia, which is slated to be behind closed doors on Saturday afternoon in Brazil. Most…

By: Mookie Alexander | 4 years ago
UFC Fight Night: Lee vs. Oliveira staff picks and predictions
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

The BE team has made its picks for UFC Brasilia, which is slated to be behind closed doors on Saturday afternoon in Brazil. Most of us believe Kevin Lee, even with the weight miss, will beat Charles Oliveira in the main event. As for the co-main, the majority are picking Gilbert Burns to notch a big win over the legendary Demian Maia.

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.

Charles Oliveira vs. Kevin Lee

Mookie Alexander: Lee hasn’t earned enough trust that he won’t turn a fight he’s winning into a stoppage loss in an instant. Oliveira has that ability thanks to his prolific submission skills, and now he’s getting knockout wins all of a sudden. With that said, Lee is still the superior athlete and the more physical fighter. The risk Oliveira plays with such an active guard is that if Lee doesn’t get caught in one of his submissions, then Lee will maintain top position and beat him up with his devastating ground-and-pound. It could look a lot like the Paul Felder fight, in that sense. On the feet, I give the advantage to Oliveira and especially in the clinch. This is not an easy fight to call and Lee missing weight complicates matters further, but the pick is Kevin Lee by TKO, round 3.

Zane Simon: Assuming this fight still actually happens somehow, I’m 100% intrigued with how it will play out. Over the last couple years, Oliveira has developed himself into a much more technical, sniping striker than Lee. And given his fantastic, aggressive ground game, that should make the fight a lock, right? Except that Oliveira has also struggled on the mat with powerful, technical grapplers that can fight off his initial control positions and do damage. And Lee is excellent at that. Overall, I think I honestly just trust Lee to do better on the mat and turn the fight in his favor there. I know that sounds wild, but he’s got the ability. Kevin Lee via TKO, round 2.

Staff picking Oliveira: Phil (check out Saturday’s Toe to Toe for his breakdown), Dayne
Staff picking Lee: Ed, Shak, Alex, Stephie, Zane, Mookie

Demian Maia vs. Gilbert Burns

Zane Simon: Unlike his bouts against Usman, Covington, and Woodley, I don’t think that Burns is gonna necessarily shut Maia’s game down. It’s just that, I’m not sure against a really solid fundamentally sound grappler that Maia’s game has much of a winning margin anymore. His wins over Masvidal and Martin were razor thin, and neither of them is the same caliber of grappler that Burns is. If Burns can do just that little bit better, on the mat, then I definitely trust him to land the better shots standing and take the decision. But, that still may come with a round of him getting totally smothered before he cracks the code. Gilbert Burns by decision.

Phil Mackenzie: There is a solid chance that Burns is still just a bit of a bully who needs to dictate the fight in order to have sustained success. While he has undeniably gotten better as a power kickboxer, the Prazeres and even the Cowboy Oliveira fights do indicate that he might not be too happy if he’s just up against a big, relentless and physical grappler. Maia isn’t a phenomenal athlete, but he’s an underrated one, Dad bod aside, and more to the point is a huge, strong welterweight. I’ll take Burns, but largely just for the deterioration factor. Gilbert Burns by unanimous decision.

Staff picking Maia: Ed, Alex
Staff picking Burns: Shak, Phil, Stephie, Dayne, Zane, Mookie

Renato Moicano vs. Damir Hadzovic

Zane Simon: My only real question here is, does Moicano have the physicality to be a good lightweight. If so, then he has all the tools to do the more technical version of the fight Hadzovic just lost against Christos Giagos. Stay on the back foot, keep your strikes long and fast, mix in some offensive wrestling, should work perfectly for a fighter who has long struggled to find the perfect balance between power, aggression, and output. Renato Moicano by decision.

Phil Mackenzie: A potential trap fight for Moicano, who has to choose between fighting a long outfighting game (which has gotten him knocked out twice recently) or changing levels and potentially running into Hadzovic’s step knees and uppercuts. Moicano is the more skilled fighter everywhere, and a notably far better grappler, and if moving up to 155 fixes his chin he should have this in hand. However, Hadzovic is a sneakily violent fighter and Moicano has been looking a little fragile of late. Renato Moicano by submission, round 2

Staff picking Moicano: Ed, Shak, Alex, Stephie, Dayne, Zane, Phil, Mookie
Staff picking Hadzovic:

Johnny Walker vs. Nikita Krylov

Zane Simon: If this fight lasts longer than a round it probably pushes into Nikki Thrillz territory. But, until then, Walker is the super dangerous athlete who can pull out anything at any time, and Krylov is the guy who often has to rely on being tough and scrappy to gut out wins. At 205, I find it usually pans out to pick the crazy athlete. Johnny Walker by KO, round 1.

Phil Mackenzie: lol this fight. Mr Thillz is the smaller man and the lesser athlete but crazy tough and has shown that he has some ancillary grappling skills. Walker may just be able to gallop around him and clonk him unconscious, but I guess I’ll take Krylov for volume and kicking and… wrestling…? and… his ability to… win rounds…? Nikita Krylov by submission, round 2.

Staff picking Walker: Shak, Alex, Dayne, Zane
Staff picking Krylov: Ed, Stephie, Phil, Mookie

Francisco Trinaldo vs. John Makdessi

Zane Simon: Makdessi tends to fight a long man’s style with a short man’s frame. Even in fights where he has a massive skill advantage, that often leaves him without a lot of really powerful, effective offense. Trinaldo isn’t nearly as high output, but he cracks hard with his countershots, and can lead with some good combos and takedowns as needed. If Makdessi can’t scare him off, Trinaldo should have this one in the bag. Francisco Trinaldo by decision.

Phil Mackenzie: Seems like a nightmare matchup for Makdessi. He’s way smaller and has struggled to track down less skilled rangy strikers like Yancy Medeiros and Mehdi Baghdad in the past. These men didn’t also have the wrestling in the back pocket that Trinaldo has, and Makdessi has just never been a particularly adept grappler from his back. Francisco Trinaldo by unanimous decision.

Staff picking Trinaldo: Ed, Shak, Alex, Stephie, Dayne, Zane, Mookie
Staff picking Makdessi:

Jussier Formiga vs. Brandon Moreno

Zane Simon: In a straight-up range kickboxing battle I might give Moreno a pretty good shot. He’s one of the only flyweights in the UFC who consistently fights long, behind a solid jab, 1-2, and low kick. And he’s got some power in that too. But, at heart, he’s a scrambling scrapper who loves to overwhelm opponents with wild offensive bursts. And one who is also often 100% willing to get taken down with the idea that he can scramble through and win the ground battle in the end. I don’t think that can serve him well against Formiga. Jussier Formiga by decision.

Phil Mackenzie: Moreno can potentially drown Formiga in pace, but in order to do that he needs to not give up takedowns, and not try to sub hunt on the floor. His takedown defense hasn’t been great, and he’s mostly been winning against wrestlers by trying to come out on top or wearing them down. That seems like a recipe to get backpacked. Can he replicate the Joe B tactic of just battling through grappling exchanges and breaking Formiga with pure aggression? I’ll have to see it before I pick it. Jussier Formiga by unanimous decision.

Staff picking Formiga: Ed, Shak, Stephie, Dayne, Zane, Phil, Mookie
Staff picking Moreno: Alex

Amanda Ribas vs. Randa Markos

Zane Simon: Kinda feel like Ribas’ win over Dern says a lot more about Dern than Ribas. Is she really any kind of dominating striker, or was she just the first woman who could control distance well enough to blow up Dern’s obviously wild and untechnical standup game? Markos isn’t any kind of masterful kickboxer, but she’s usually busy and consistent enough to stay competitive there. And if she can do that, I think she can force Ribas to want to grapple with her. And as a grappler, Markos is rarely ever beaten. Eventually, I think this’ll just all trickle down to Dern being a much more beatable fighter than she at first appeared. And Markos still being too tough a veteran test for a fighter as green as Ribas. Randa Markos by decision.

Phil Mackenzie: Mostly with Zane on this one. Markos is generally a strategically aimless fighter who fights exactly the fight her opponents give her, with the sole exception of some “grapple strikers and strike grapplers” attempts in the early going. But, she’s a capable and experienced brawler and still an excellent defensive wrestler and scrambler. Randa Markos by unanimous decision.

Staff picking Ribas: Ed, Shak, Alex, Stephie, Dayne
Staff picking Markos: Zane, Phil, Mookie

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Alexey Kunchenko

Zane Simon: Kunchenko has a real problem in that it feels like he built his style around being a physically dominant champion well before he got to the point of facing fighters that could really compete with him everywhere. The result being that he doesn’t take nearly as many risks or throw with nearly as much volume as it seems like his athletic skills could allow him to. And if he’s just going to hang out in kickboxing range with Zaleski, I think Zaleski is the much more creative and willing power striker and wrestler. Elizeu Zaleski by decision.

Phil Mackenzie: What the hell was up with ZdS in his last fight. He looked absolutely awful when faced with a basic outfighting gameplan from the Jingliang. Kunchenko can be outworked and pushed onto the back foot, but so can the Leech and ZdS just could not track him down. I guess I’ll still take the ZdS who beat Lyman Good to show up, but I’m more than a little concerned. ZdS by unanimous decision.

Staff picking Zaleski: Ed, Alex, Stephie, Zane, Phil, Mookie
Staff picking Kunchenko: Shak, Dayne

Rani Yahya vs. Enrique Barzola

Zane Simon: Barzola is probably just too big and too tireless and too technical a wrestler for Yahya to beat. He does have a habit of getting wild and putting himself in some questionable spots, so it’s not like Yahya couldn’t possibly grab a sub for the win. But, otherwise, against fighters who don’t gas out and who can take the fight to Yahya, he tends to get overwhelmed. Enrique Barzola by decision.

Phil Mackenzie: Does Barzola ever really get outwrestled? Sometimes he gets stuffed but I don’t remember him actually getting taken down and controlled much. Enrique Barzola by unanimous decision.

Staff picking Yahya: Shak, Stephie, Dayne
Staff picking Barzola: Ed, Alex, Zane, Phil, Mookie

Rest of the card

Mayra Bueno Silva vs. Maryna Moroz

Staff picking Silva: Alex, Stephie, Dayne, Zane, Phil, Mookie
Staff picking Moroz: Ed, Shak

Bruno Silva vs. David Dvorak

Staff picking Silva: Ed, Alex
Staff picking Dvorak: Shak, Stephie, Dayne, Zane, Phil, Mookie

Veronica Macedo vs. Bea Malecki

Staff picking Macedo: Ed, Shak, Zane, Mookie
Staff picking Malecki: Alex, Stephie, Dayne, Phil


Who wins?

This poll is closed

  • 47%

    Kevin Lee

    (255 votes)

  • 35%

    Charles Oliveira

    (190 votes)

  • 16%

    This card will get cancelled

    (87 votes)

532 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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