The Bloody Elbow team has made its predictions for UFC Vegas 53, and everyone except Victor Rodriguez is picking Rob Font to beat Marlon Vera in the main event. Font did miss weight badly and we made our picks before that, so uh… yeah I’m not going to change my pick because there’s no clear evidence that missing weight makes you do any better or worse. In the co-main, everyone is picking Andrei Arlovski over Jake Collier. To see the latest betting lines for these fights, head over to DraftKings Sportsbook.
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 Anton Tabuena 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.
Rob Font vs. Marlon Vera
Zane Simon: This should be a fascinating fight, especially if Vera can start finding gaps in Font’s game. It almost certainly seems like Font will have the hotter start. If his fight with Aldo is anything to go by, he’s absolutely willing to charge into the teeth of the fight and get to work behind his jab quickly. Add to it that Vera is a notably slow starter who tends to get dinged up in early rounds, and Font taking the first and maybe even second frames seems very very likely. But, Vera has also shown himself to be much more of a momentum fighter than Font; someone who, if they start to see a little success can turn it into a crushing wave of offense. Given that both men are clearly capable of mopping up the lower ends of the division, but struggle hard against the athletic elite around them, this could be the kind of fight where Font banks 1&2, Vera banks 4&5, and we’re left arguing over a tight third round. Still, given all that, I’m more likely to pick the guy I know will start strong. Especially since Font has proved as well that he more or less never fades and always sticks to the basics of his game. Rob Font by decision.
Mookie Alexander: This fight is too close to call and Font missing weight doesn’t change that for me. They’re both exceptionally violent but also exceptionally tough to the point where they’ve combined for 12 losses but only one defeat by stoppage (Font tapping out to Pedro Munhoz). I’d say Font has the more complete game – his jab is sharp and he’s more defensively responsible than Vera while being the better wrestler – but Vera is a great opportunist who does devastating work both at range and in the clinch. Font took a ton of punishment in the Aldo fight and it makes me wonder if he’ll suffer any ill effects. Ultimately I think Font will start the better of the two and withstand a late charge from Chito in what should be the runaway Fight of the Night. Rob Font by split decision.
Staff picking Font: Mookie, Zane, Stephie, Dayne
Staff picking Vera: Victor
Jake Collier vs. Andrei Arlovski
Mookie Alexander: This is gonna look like all the other Arlovski fights against this level of opposition. Andrei Arlovski by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: At this point, if you’re not gonna be a way better wrestler than Andrei Arlovski, you have to be a much better boxer than him to win. Against all odds, his chin seems entirely fine at this late stage in his career, and he’s more than happy to stick opponents behind jabs and right hands for three rounds if they don’t know how to get around that. I don’t think Collier knows how to get around that. Andrei Arlovski by decision.
Staff picking Collier:
Staff picking Arlovski: Mookie, Zane, Stephie, Dayne, Victor
Andre Fili vs. Joanderson Brito
Mookie Alexander: I don’t think Brito can outstrike Fili and only high-level wrestlers and grapplers like Bryce Mitchell can consistently get Fili on his back. Honestly a bit of a weird fight to book. Andre Fili by TKO, round 2.
Zane Simon: Brito really does seem to fight with a lot of anxious intensity. Always keyed up, always exerting himself to maximum effect. To me, that suggests he should either gas really badly or get KO’d once he starts fighting better opposition. To his credit, neither happened against Bill Algeo, but Fili is a notable step up from there. I’ll take Andre Fili via TKO, round 3. But if Brito doesn’t get stopped this could be a very weird/scrappy bout.
Staff picking Fili: Zane, Mookie, Stephie, Dayne
Staff picking Brito:
Jared Gordon vs. Grant Dawson
Mookie Alexander: I definitely can’t pick this one without any confidence. Gordon is the more consistent offensive fighter who pushes a heavier pace, but I can very much see him struggling to get anything going while Dawson looks to establish his takedowns early and often. This might be one where Gordon is likely either going to get a late finish or he’ll lose a close decision. I lean towards Grant Dawson by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: In my mind, this fight could practically be scripted for how set I feel like the dynamics of it are. We’ve seen a few times now that Grant Dawson is more than capable of bullying opponents with clingy grappling and wrestling for two solid rounds, before the pace and exertion (even just of his own success) starts to get to him. And we’ve seen a few fights from Jared Gordon that show he’s fully capable of getting swamped and shut out of a fight only to charge back late and take it over. The biggest reason I’m picking Dawson, even after seeing him get 10-8’d by Ricky Glenn last time around in round 3, is that Gordon is rarely a finishing threat. So if he’s likely to drop 2 rounds, it’s hard to pick him to get the sub or KO. That said, maybe we’re headed for another draw? Grant Dawson by decision.
Staff picking Gordon: Stephie
Staff picking Dawson: Mookie, Zane, Dayne, Victor
Darren Elkins vs. Tristan Connelly
Mookie Alexander: I mean… I guess? This is the type of fight Elkins usually wins – the Cub Swanson fight was always an awful matchup – but he’s been flirting with losing to increasingly lower levels of competition just enough that I’m just gonna gamble that he’ll finally jump off the Cliff of Decline. Tristan Connelly by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: Darren Elkins certainly used to be a much better fighter and more capable athlete than Tristan Connely. It’s very questionable whether or not he still is. But, given that Connelly isn’t exactly a powerful striker or dynamic grappling talent, I’ll pick Elkins to drag him into the kind of battle that Elkins can still win, one of pure cardio and endurance. Darren Elkins by decision.
Staff picking Elkins: Zane, Dayne, Victor
Staff picking Connelly: Mookie, Stephie
Gerald Meerschaert vs. Krzysztof Jotko
Mookie Alexander: This matchup depends entirely on whether or not Meerschaert can force Jotko to grapple with him for prolonged stretches. If he can then he is dangerous enough to win this. If not… this fight’s gonna suck bad. Krzsysztof Jotko by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: At this point in his career it feels like Meerschaert may actually be the better boxer between them. But given that Jotko is incredibly hard to out-wrestle or out-grapple, I think he can rely on the fact that he’s also much faster than Meerschaert to just kinda stay away and out-point him for a god-awful ugly win. Basically, if Jotko doesn’t have to fear winding up on his back, he can take full advantage of the lack of dynamic offense in Meerschaert’s striking game. Krzysztof Jotko by decision.
Staff picking Meerschaert: Stephie, Victor
Staff picking Jotko: Mookie, Zane, Dayne
This poll is closed
462 votes total
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