UFC Vegas 20: Rozenstruik vs. Gane staff picks and predictions

The Bloody Elbow team has made its picks for UFC VEGAS 20, and most of us are picking Ciryl Gane in his highly anticipated…

By: Mookie Alexander | 2 years ago
UFC Vegas 20: Rozenstruik vs. Gane staff picks and predictions
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

The Bloody Elbow team has made its picks for UFC VEGAS 20, and most of us are picking Ciryl Gane in his highly anticipated heavyweight tilt with fellow striker Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Meanwhile, the co-main event is unanimously in favor of Magomed Ankalaev over Nikita Krylov. In other words, Krylov is likely going to win.

Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Ciryl Gane

Mookie Alexander: Gane is more likely to win rounds and have the more effective minute-to-minute offense. Rozenstruik is the heavier hitter who can wipe anyone out with one big shot. To me the Overeem fight is pretty instructive of Rozenstruik against another skilled striker. He was clearly losing and was also taken down twice — an avenue Gane may consider in this matchup — before splitting Alistair’s lip in half. Gane’s outstanding kicking game and his jabs really could create all sorts of problems for Rozenstruik, and on the flipside Jair really sits down on his shots and when he has someone hurt he’s a spectacular finisher. I dislike picking heavyweight fights because usually the one with more power will win but I’m backing Gane to avoid the danger and get the W. Ciryl Gane by TKO, round 3.

Zane Simon: As technicians, this feels like a fairly simple battle. Gane works behind jabs and a diverse kicking game with much more consistency, working to set up bigger strikes further down the line. He does well to fight long, consistently, letting his reach and shot selection insulate him defensively. For Rozenstruik, so much of his style is based around planting his feet in front of his opponent and waiting for them to step in firing on him so that he can return shots from surprisingly effective angles. When he doesn’t get that chance, he tends to bull rush opponents, looking to land big shots off wild combos. That should all provide a lot of opportunity for Gane to just out-work him behind better technique. Heavyweight MMA is fraught with peril, however, and just as often totally fails to reward the patient technical fighter, in opposition to his more wild and powerful opponent. I’m still picking Gane, but Rozenstruik getting handled for a 7 or 8 minutes and then landing an absolute bomb on the counter wouldn’t shock me at all. Ciryl Gane via TKO, round 4.

Staff picking Rozenstruik: Dayne
Staff picking Gane: Mookie, Zane, Stephie

Nikita Krylov vs. Magomed Ankalaev

Mookie Alexander: Best chance for Krylov outside of his own power is to put Ankalaev on his back and I don’t really see how he does that. Ankalaev is way too physical for him and hits like a truck. We’ve only seen Krylov get stopped by strikes in that legendarily bad fight vs. Soa Palelei, but I don’t think he’ll be able to handle Magomed’s striking. Magomed Ankalaev by KO, round 1.

Zane Simon: For a karateka with a busy, kick heavy striking style, it seems odd to say that Nikita Krylov’s best path to victory in most of his fights goes through his wrestling game. But, those are the facts. And when he’s not the better wrestler in the cage, he just doesn’t tend to get the win. And I really don’t see him out-wrestling Ankalaev, who is a real physical force in clinches and scrambles on the mat. Beyond that, he’s the cleaner puncher with more power and a consistent counter game. Seems like a nightmare for Krylov. Magomed Ankalaev by KO, round 2.

Staff picking Krylov:
Staff picking Ankalaev: Mookie, Dayne, Zane, Stephie

Montana De La Rosa vs. Mayra Bueno Silva

Mookie Alexander: There’s something about De La Rosa’s game that I can’t really get behind and I can’t even pinpoint it. I expect a lot of scrambles and grappling and I think Silva might just be able to catch Montana with something. Normally you have to be a pretty high-level opponent (or destined to become one) to beat Montana so this would be a legit win for Silva if he can pull it off. Mayra Bueno Silva by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: A surprisingly difficult fight to call. Both women have decent ground games, with De La Rosa being a better scrambler and wrestler and Silva looking like the more dangerous grappler. But both women are entirely capable of losing fights on the ground. For De La Rosa, it’s if she gets beat to dominant positions, and for Silva it’s if her opponent is just willing to stay conservative and positionally secure. Standing, De La Rosa delivers the much more consistent output and technical style, but Silva throws with more confidence, power, and raw aggression. If Silva weren’t so willing to give up good positions to go for risky subs, I could easily see her taking this based on having the more dangerous style. But, I think there’s a good chance she gives De La Rosa lots of top control and that De La Rosa minds herself there and gets the win. Montana De La Rosa by decision.

Staff picking De La Rosa: Dayne, Zane, Stephie
Staff picking Silva: Mookie

Pedro Munhoz vs. Jimmie Rivera

Mookie Alexander: First fight was very close. If Munhoz starts well in round 1 I think he wins, but he’s so hittable at a time when Rivera’s power is the strongest that even though I believe Munhoz is the more well-rounded if not outright better fighter, he’ll always have trouble against the Riveras of the world. Munhoz would be well advised to go after Rivera’s legs early and often, whereas Rivera remains a danger as far as picking his spots to attack and landing effective blows. It’s a real toss-up and I think we may get a repeat outcome. Both men have their moments and might even hurt each other, but two judges give it to Jimmie. Jimmie Rivera by split decision.

Zane Simon: A really chancy rematch for Rivera to take. He may still be the more technical and diverse talent in the cage, but Munhoz’s willingness to eat shots and stand in to land with power is, in many ways, built to challenge Rivera’s suspect durability and/or need to play a safer game to keep from getting hurt. Even with Rivera taking the split last time, he definitely got stung in the process. Still, as much as I feel like Munhoz has started to to a better job working behind his jab and finding angles in the pocket, I also think Rivera has cleaned up his technique a lot in the service of delivering more controlled aggression. I’m going to bank on Rivera riding out a couple rough spots, and delivering the more diverse and consistent offense in the pocket for a win. But it could be just as close as last time. Jimmie Rivera by decision.

Staff picking Munhoz: Dayne
Staff picking Rivera: Mookie, Zane, Stephie

Angela Hill vs. Ashley Yoder

Mookie Alexander: There’s nothing that’s transpired since their first fight that makes me think Yoder has a better chance to win this time around. Angela Hill by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: If Hill lets an opponent as footslow as Yoder close her down and take her to the mat, then she really has some baked in issues that no amount of training and experience will fix. This is entirely her fight to win and it feels like only some really massive mistakes on her part will change that. Angela Hill by decision.

Staff picking Hill: Mookie, Dayne, Zane, Stephie
Staff picking Yoder:

Alex Caceres vs. Kevin Croom

Mookie Alexander: Caceres is due for some ridiculous “get overly aggressive, give up the back and get choked out” type of loss. Croom might be that opponent but Caceres should be able to outpoint Croom and he’s still a good grappler in his own right who can control the fight on his own terms. Alex Caceres by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: This feels a lot like the Steven Peterson fight to me for Caceres. An opponent who puts a lot of stock in relentless aggression, and relies on tying opponents up and forcing bouts to the floor a lot, even though they’re not a great wrestler. Caceres is the kind of fighter who, given an opponent with a depth of skill in any one area will always tend to allow exactly the kind of fight he can’t win to happen. But I just don’t think Croom has the skill in any one area to actually take Caceres apart. And in those cases, he’s shown himself entirely capable of just out-slicking a wild, aggressive fighter for 3 rounds to a win. Alex Caceres by decision.

Staff picking Caceres: Mookie, Dayne, Zane, Stephie
Staff picking Croom:

Rest of the card

Alex Hernandez vs. Thiago Moises

Staff picking Hernandez: Mookie, Dayne, Zane, Stephie
Staff picking Moises:

Alexis Davis vs. Sabina Mazo

Staff picking Davis:
Staff picking Mazo: Mookie, Dayne, Zane, Stephie

Vince Cachero vs. Ronnie Lawrence

Staff picking Cachero: Mookie
Staff picking Lawrence: Dayne, Zane, Stephie

Dustin Jacoby vs. Maxim Grishin

Staff picking Jacoby: Mookie, Dayne, Zane, Stephie
Staff picking Grishin:


Who wins?

This poll is closed

  • 36%

    Jairzinho Rozenstruik

    (249 votes)

  • 63%

    Ciryl Gane

    (429 votes)

678 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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