UFC Fight Night: Moraes vs. Sandhagen staff picks and predictions

The Bloody Elbow team has made its predictions for UFC Fight Island 5 and we are split on the main event betwen Marlon Moraes…

By: Mookie Alexander | 3 years ago
UFC Fight Night: Moraes vs. Sandhagen staff picks and predictions
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

The Bloody Elbow team has made its predictions for UFC Fight Island 5 and we are split on the main event betwen Marlon Moraes and Cory Sandhagen, a fight that has major implications on the men’s bantamweight division. As for the co-main we are all backing Edson Barboza to beat late replacement Makwan Amirkhani.

Marlon Moraes vs. Cory Sandhagen

Mookie Alexander: I am selfishly rooting for Sandhagen if only because a Moraes win makes it very possible the UFC screws Aljamain Sterling over and denies him the title shot he’s rightfully deserved. The other part is I genuinely think Sandhagen can win. Moraes’ cardio has crashed on him in the last two fights and Sandhagen if nothing else is high-volume and matched JOHN LINEKER with body shots of his own. Yes, Moraes is theoretically the more skilled fighter who can win by KO, sub, or club and sub, but I do not trust his ability to hold up over the course of five rounds against Sandhagen. Cory Sandhagen by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: Even having fought John Lineker, Sandhagen has never faced a venomous counterpuncher like Marlon Moraes before. Someone that can pick out and place perfect, powerful shots every time Sandhagen steps into the pocket and lets his hands go. Or, at least almost every time. And that’s the problem for Moraes. He’s never been the highest output fighter in the world. And his fight with Cejudo pretty clearly showed why. When Cejudo was patient out at range and giving him time, Moraes picked him apart with ease. When Cejudo bit down and decided to ramp up the volume, Moraes quickly tired and wilted under the pressure. Sandhagen is all volume and pressure. And if that Lineker fight proved anything, it’s that he’s pretty fearless about how he implements it. He might get caught bigger and harder than ever before, but if he doesn’t – or even if he can just ride it out – I expect his volume will make the difference. Cory Sandhagen by decision.

Staff picking Moraes: Stephie, Dayne
Staff picking Sandhagen: Zane, Mookie

Edson Barboza vs. Makwan Amirkhani

Mookie Alexander: Amirkhani is a terrific submission specialist and a really good wrestler but if he can’t get Barboza down and keep him there then he is screwed on the feet. Amirkhani might be an enthusiastic striker with some power but he’s not a great one. Barboza could drill him with body shots from start to finish and that’ll be his undoing. Edson Barboza by TKO, round 2.

Zane Simon: While Amirkhani is a great wrestler and grappler, those things have been far less Barboza’s consistent problem than pressure and aggression. Barboza is actually a pretty fantastic takedown defender. And has basically only been submitted when he’s been hurt badly standing first. And I just don’t think any part of Amirkhani’s striking game is sharp enough or consistent enough to make that happen. If Amirkhani is going to give Barboza any of the space he needs to get his rhythm going, then I think he’s going to find himself getting chewed up pretty fast. Edson Barboza via TKO, round 2.

Staff picking Barboza: Stephie, Dayne, Zane, Mookie
Staff picking Amirkhani:

Ben Rothwell vs. Marcin Tybura

Mookie Alexander: Rooting for this fight to end in the first round, because if it doesn’t… Ben Rothwell by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: Tybura only seems to pick up wins when he has a clear wrestling advantage over his opponent. Give him someone he can take down and he’ll put a solid grind on them. Give him someone he has to stand and trade with and he gets predictable and tentative. I just don’t think he’s going to have an easy time taking Rothwell down. And without that, Rothwell’s the busier, tougher striker. Ben Rothwell by decision.

Staff picking Rothwell: Stephie, Dayne, Zane, Mookie
Staff picking Tybura:

Markus Perez vs. Dricus du Plessis

Mookie Alexander: KSW never die! Dricus du Plessis by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: Perez is a bit of a trap fight in the UFC. He’s a really solid, technical grappler. But one who rarely ever seems to look for any path to get to his ground game. Instead, he’s happy to wander through bouts with a combination of unstructured range striking and ineffective clinch work. If du Plessis is smart enough to keep this fight standing, he should win it. If he decides he wants to take Perez down and test his skills on the mat, he just might walk himself straight into a submission loss. I’ll bank on the former, but just barely. Dricus du Plessis by decision.

Staff picking Perez:
Staff picking du Plessis: Stephie, Dayne, Zane, Mookie

Tom Aspinall vs. Alan Baudot

Zane Simon: Baudot is a LHW going up to HW to face a bigger, tougher puncher. And one who seems a lot more comfortable and consistent in his base skill set. Sounds like a tough ask for Baudot, who has yet to really find any success against decent competition. Tom Aspinall by KO, round 1.

Staff picking Aspinall: Stephie, Dayne, Zane, Mookie
Staff picking Baudot:

Youssef Zalal vs. Ilia Topuria

Zane Simon: I like the basics of Topuria’s game. He seems like a well schooled, dangerous fighter. But he’s also pretty clearly been used to being the physical force in the cage. And I’m not yet convinced his style has been built to win multiple rounds if needed. Zalal may not be a finisher, but he’s got a careful, consistent point scoring, high-volume range striking game. And he’s been hard as hell to finish thus far in his career. Expect Topuria might start hot, but think he’ll likely fade in rounds 2 & 3. Youssef Zalal by decision.

Staff picking Zalal: Stephie, Dayne, Zane, Mookie
Staff picking Topuria:

Rest of the card

Tom Breese vs. KB Bhullar

Staff picking Breese: Zane, Mookie
Staff picking Bhullar: Stephie, Dayne

Chris Daukaus vs. Rodrigo Nascimento

Staff picking Daukaus:
Staff picking Nascimento: Stephie, Dayne, Zane, Mookie

Impa Kasanganay vs. Joaquin Buckley

Staff picking Kasanganay: Stephie, Dayne, Zane, Mookie
Staff picking Buckley:

Ali Al-Qaisi vs. Tony Kelley

Staff picking Al-Qaisi:
Staff picking Kelley: Stephie, Dayne, Zane, Mookie

Giga Chikadze vs. Omar Morales

Staff picking Chikadze: Dayne, Zane, Mookie
Staff picking Morales: Stephie

Tracy Cortez vs. Stephanie Egger

Staff picking Cortez: Stephie, Dayne, Zane, Mookie
Staff picking Egger:

Bruno Silva vs. Tagir Ulanbekov

Staff picking Silva:
Staff picking Ulanbekov: Stephie, Dayne, Zane, Mookie


Who wins?

This poll is closed

  • 57%

    Marlon Moraes

    (306 votes)

  • 42%

    Cory Sandhagen

    (223 votes)

529 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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