UFC Vegas 42: Holloway vs. Rodriguez staff picks and predictions

The Bloody Elbow staff has made its predictions for UFC Vegas 42, and it’s a clean sweep for Max Holloway over Yair Rodriguez in…

By: Mookie Alexander | 2 years ago
UFC Vegas 42: Holloway vs. Rodriguez staff picks and predictions
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

The Bloody Elbow staff has made its predictions for UFC Vegas 42, and it’s a clean sweep for Max Holloway over Yair Rodriguez in the main event. Only Victor Rodriguez is going with Marcos Rogerio de Lima over Ben Rothwell in the co-main.

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.

Max Holloway vs. Yair Rodriguez

Mookie Alexander: It’s gonna have to take something wild from Yair to knock out the seemingly indestructible Max Holloway. The most we’ve seen him hurt was probably the opening round of the second Dustin Poirier fight. Apart from that he has a legendary ability to take clean shots. Rodriguez is no doubt a talented striker whose danger is ever-present until the literal last second of a fight (just ask The Korean Zombie), but Max is just a far superior technician who just discourages and demoralizes people when he gets into an offensive rhythm. Rodriguez not being the best defensive fighter has me thinking Yair may start strongly but once Holloway has Yair’s timing down it’s going to be a beatdown. Too much precision and accuracy. Max Holloway by TKO, round 5.

Zane Simon: It would be wrong to say this is a fight Yair can’t win. Or even that Rodriguez only has a ‘puncher’s chance’ (and not just because he does a lot of kicking). Rodriguez is a creative striker, with a wide arsenal, and a fantastic level of cardio to maintain his powerful and surprising output even late into fights. And Holloway, as is dictated by his own momentum-building style, can start a bit slow and get clipped early by shots—and also get a little defensively irresponsible late when he’s pouring huge buckets of offense on his (usually battered) opponents. Still, Yair’s lack of consistent combinations, unstructured footwork, and defensive gaps all make him ripe for the kind of consistent pummelling that Holloway has on offer. Finding a way to break that onslaught will be a monumental task. Max Holloway via TKO, round 4.

Staff picking Holloway: Stephie, Dayne, Zane, Mookie, Connor, Victor
Staff picking Rodriguez:

Ben Rothwell vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima

Mookie Alexander: …Why. Ben Rothwell by split decision.

Zane Simon: If ‘Pezao’ truly is in the best shape of his life and not such a glass cannon as he’s been in the past, there’s a clear path for him to get the victory here. Never the fleetest heavyweight, Rothwell has looked even less dynamic in recent outings, and de Lima has truly high end speed and power. It’s just maintaining it that’s been a problem. De Lima tends to get very tired after first rounds. And if he sees his grappling game as a path to controlling the bout, it’s hard for me not to think that Rothwell is just a better grappler. If I’m banking against who is going to get more tired first, I’ll take Ben Rothwell by decision.

Staff picking Rothwell: Stephie, Dayne, Zane, Mookie, Connor
Staff picking de Lima: Victor

Felicia Spencer vs. Leah Letson

Mookie Alexander: It’s just too hard to ignore that long layoff for Letson. Spencer I believe has the ability to outgrapple Letson but if her takedowns aren’t there this is going to be a difficult fight. Felicia Spencer by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: Taking Spencer here feels like the obvious choice, just because she’s got an area of the fight where she can be truly dangerous and dominant. The problem for her lately has been finding paths to getting there. Without consistent wrestling, her grappling prowess doesn’t mean a whole hell of a lot. Still, if I assume she can find some way to get this fight to the mat at some point, then I think she should win it. If she doesn’t, this could very well be an exceptionally ugly and indecisive kickboxing bout from range. Felicia Spencer by submission, round 2.

Staff picking Spencer: Stephie, Dayne, Zane, Mookie, Connor, Victor
Staff picking Letson:

Miguel Baeza vs. Khaos Williams

Mookie Alexander: My personal crash test dummy fight of the night. There should be maximum violence out of this one. I’m going with Miguel Baeza by KO, round 2.

Zane Simon: I love this fight, and I legitimately have very little confidence in picking who will win this. Both men possess skills that their opponent has looked notably diminished by. For Williams, can he really get his blitzing power-punching offense going in the face of a very consistent, cautious outfighting attack, behind low kicks and jabs? He struggled mightily against that in his fight against Pereira. And for Baeza, has he found a way to improve his footwork and defense while moving back out of the pocket? Once Ponzinibbio set his mind on charging through Baeza’s range game, he consistently cracked Baeza with big shots, as Baeza looked to retreat on straight lines with his chin high. Baeza hasn’t been KO’d to date (although he’s been hurt a few times), and I expect him to start strong behind an early diet of calf kicks. So I’ll take Miguel Baeza by decision. But this could just as likely be the first KO loss of his career.

Staff picking Baeza: Zane, Mookie
Staff picking Williams: Stephie, Dayne, Connor

Song Yadong vs. Julio Arce

Mookie Alexander: This is a great fight that just further illustrates how deep the bantamweight division is. Song rebounded nicely from the Kyler Phillips fight by largely shutting down Casey Kenney. Arce looked fantastic against Andre Ewell and he has the striking and pace to give Song problems. On the flip side, Song has serious knockout power of his own and probably can go strike for strike with him. It’s a tougher matchup than our unanimous staff picks suggest it is. Song Yadong by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: Another fight with some big questions to answer, most of them on the Song Yadong side of things. We’ve seen Arce facing some very good, athletic, technical strikers in the past, and often that’s been the breaking point of his own technical, high-output style. But is Song Yadong technical enough? Dan Ige wasn’t. For Song, he struggled hard with Kyler Phillips’ range. But that was coupled with lots of speed and power, something Arce hasn’t necessarily always possessed. If Song can stay determined, walk Arce down and keep his output high, I think he’ll have enough physical edge to turn exchanges in his favor. But if he sits back and lets Arce dictate pace and range at all? Arce has all the tools to make this bout hell on him. Song Yadong by decision.

Staff picking Song: Stephie, Dayne, Zane, Mookie, Connor
Staff picking Arce: Victor


Who wins?

This poll is closed

  • 89%

    Max Holloway

    (577 votes)

  • 10%

    Yair Rodriguez

    (68 votes)

645 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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