We have made our picks for UFC Fight Island 8 in Abu Dhabi and opinion is split on the main event between Michael Chiesa and Neil Magny. As for the co-main event, only Dayne Fox is backing Warlley Alves to defeat Mounir Lazzez in what should be an entertaining three-round bout.
Once again, we’re only picking the main card fights but we’ll have a full slate of fight predictions for UFC 257.
Michael Chiesa vs. Neil Magny
Mookie Alexander: This is a tough one. Can Magny keep Chiesa at the end of his jab? Can Chiesa crash into the clinch? Chiesa’s striking is not the greatest but at least in the RDA fight he showed enough to suggest he’s functional. Where Chiesa clearly wants this to be is on the ground and that’s where his best chance to win is. Magny is not one to shy away from takedowns either which could be fascinating as Chiesa’s guard is not nearly as dangerous as his top game. What gives me pause as far as picking Magny is that if he does get taken down, he’s had a couple of fights where he has been thoroughly outgrappled and easily submitted. That’s how I see this fight ending after two competitive rounds. Michael Chiesa by submission, round 3.
Zane Simon: I’m definitely split on this, but I think the fight will come down to the clinch, who manages it, and who wins those battles inside. Will Chiesa’s grinding clinch takedown game against the cage slow the fight down and keep Magny on the defensive. Or will he struggle with Magny’s size and more consistent clinch striking offense leaving him stranded out at range to deal with Magny’s jab. I’m kinda feeling like that second option is going to be the reality. Magny’s takedown defense is much better against the fence than in open space. And Chiesa tends to end up on the cage a lot. If Magny can make him struggle a bit, I think he’ll out-work him for the win. Neil Magny by decision.
Staff picking Chiesa: Mookie, Dayne
Staff picking Magny: Stephie, Zane
Mounir Lazzez vs. Warlley Alves
Mookie Alexander: Warlley Alves gave Colby Covington his first L and that just seems like it was songs ago. He’s not gotten any better and for the most part he just looks like a muscular guy whose MMA skill set is just not that good. Lazzez is willing to throw in the pocket and he expertly picked apart Abdul Razak Alhassan for many stretches of their wild fight. The only concern here would be the fact that Lazzez’s takedown defense isn’t the best and Alves can absolutely submit him, but I think it’s more likely he gets pieced up and gasses out. Mounir Lazzez by TKO, round 2.
Zane Simon: It’s been more than a few years now, and Alves’ problems with front-running and gassing just don’t seem to have changed. Opponents that can stay calm and collected and hang with him for a round are almost always going to end up with a seemingly tired and desperate Alves taking big chances later in the fight. After what I saw from Lazzez against Alhassan, he seems like he’s got exactly the right temperament to wait Alves out and start picking him off. Mounir Lazzez via TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Lazzez: Stephie, Mookie, Zane
Staff picking Alves: Dayne
Ike Villanueva vs. Vinicius Moreira
Mookie Alexander: Why is this on the main card? These two are a combined 0-5 and have been finished in all of their losses. I guess Moreira is a submission specialist and Villanueva goes for knockouts so we know which potential outcomes are most likely. I’ll go with Vinicius Moreira by submission, round 1.
Zane Simon: We really shouldn’t all be picking Moreira. His game has been ridiculously ineffective in the UFC so far and it’s not like Villanueva can’t be scrappy and tough. But, here I am taking the chancy pick on the Brazilian, mostly just because I think Villanueva will let him pull guard and we’ll be in a 50/50 where Moreira either gets the sub or gets pounded unconscious. Vinicius Moreira via submission, round 2.
Staff picking Villanueva:
Staff picking Moreira: Stephie, Mookie, Dayne, Zane
Roxanne Modafferi vs. Viviane Araujo
Mookie Alexander: Most likely Araujo wins this. If Modafferi is physically outmatched and can’t get takedowns then it’s hard to see a path to victory for her given Araujo is a better, more aggressive and powerful striker. But WAR ROXY! Roxanne Modafferi by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: There’s a clear path for Modafferi to win this fight if she keeps her jab active, and pushes for the clinch as often as possible. Araujo tends to have a pretty set, predictable rhythm she keeps, so the opportunity for Modafferi to time her entries will be there. But, Araujo is so fast and powerful, even if Modafferi gets her down, I could see her springing up quick. Beyond that, I’m really worried about those calf kicks Araujo likes. Not sure Modafferi will have an easy answer for that. Will be rooting for Roxy every step of the way, but Viviane Araujo by decision.
Staff picking Modafferi: Stephie, Mookie
Staff picking Araujo: Dayne, Zane
Matt Schnell vs. Tyson Nam
Mookie Alexander: Schnell’s shaky chin is a bad thing to have against someone as powerful as Nam. He won’t wow with volume but Nam is pretty damn sharp and this matchup should favor him for as long as it stays standing. Tyson Nam by KO, round 1.
Zane Simon: Schnell has a great game to take on Nam with. A busy, outfighting style matched up with some fantastically sneaky guard grappling. But often Schnell seems to be a victim of his own success. He’ll start landing the jab and the 1-2 and his confidence will grow and grow until he’s just scrapping it out with people. And suddenly getting put to sleep. Nam is a huge counterpuncher and tough as hell. If Schnell fights smart he can take this, but I’ve got that Pantoja fight too clear in my mind. Tyson Nam via KO, round 2.
Staff picking Schnell:
Staff picking Nam: Stephie, Mookie, Dayne, Zane
Lerone Murphy vs. Douglas Silva de Andrade
Mookie Alexander: The UFC needs to put Lauren Murphy and Lerone Murphy on the same card just to mess with people. Lerone Murphy by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: This is a much, much chancier fight than it’s been given credit for. Douglas d’Silva isn’t a deep technical fighter, but he’s a great athlete with real top-shelf speed and power and a willingness to brawl. Murphy’s size and range and his brutal ground and pound from top control are probably going to be enough to make the difference. But if Murphy struggles with Andrade’s awkward rhythm he could find himself on the wrong end of a rough loss. Lerone Murphy by decision.
Staff picking Murphy: Stephie, Mookie, Dayne, Zane
Staff picking Silva de Andrade:
This poll is closed
584 votes total
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