The Bloody Elbow staff has made its picks for Saturday’s UFC Vegas 57 event, and everyone except Victor Rodriguez is picking Arman Tsarukyan to win the headliner over Mateusz Gamrot. In the co-main, the majority of us are going with Shavkat Rakhmanov over Neil Magny.
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 Zane Simon 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.
Arman Tsarukyan vs. Mateusz Gamrot
Mookie Alexander: God damn this is a good fight. I know the picks are lopsided but I really don’t know how to pick this. Tsarukyan’s striking has improved considerably and he’s such a standout wrestler… but Gamrot also does a lot of what Tsarukyan does and at a high-level. Gamrot has something worth considering here which is 5-round experience, and while I don’t have any reason to believe Tsarukyan’s cardio is questionable, it might prove the difference as the fight progresses. Ultimately I think Tsarukyan being such a tremendous scrambler will get him out of bad spots and put Gamrot in serious trouble, and that will be the key to victory. Arman Tsarukyan by decision.
Zane Simon: I do honestly wonder if this fight is going to start out well for Arman Tsarukyan. His bout against Christos Giagos started out with him getting a takedown brutally stuffed and reversed for a little bit of top control time for Giagos. And while it didn’t change the fact that Tsarukyan won quickly afterward, the fact that Gamrot is the best wrestler that Tsarukyan has faced since Makhachev and the appearance that he seems to be trying to play a more flat footed power game than ever, make me wonder if Gamrot can’t come out and have some early wrestling success. That may especially be the case given Gamrot’s funky low-single setups that he likes, which seem like they could be pretty hard to prep for. All that said, even if he starts hot, I just can’t imagine Gamrot holding Tsarukyan down for 5 rounds. His game isn’t really built for top control, and Tsarukyan scrambles like a mad man with seemingly infinite cardio. Sooner or later, I think Gamrot’s going to break. Arman Tsarukyan via TKO, round 3.
Staff picking Tsarukyan: Mookie, Stephie, Zane, Dayne, Connor
Staff picking Gamrot: Victor
Neil Magny vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov
Mookie Alexander: I just have a weird feeling about this fight. Rakhmonov has the tools to beat if not stop Magny. He’s a great athlete who has the type of striking that has hurt Neil in the past and he’s shown his ability to create offense out of really any position, just as he did when he choked out Alex Oliveira. Magny’s historical reaction to effective pressure fighters has not been that good. And yet Magny’s ability to draw out grindy, ugly fights that invite a lot of clinch battles has me thinking he could stymie Rakhmonov’s attacks just enough. I can see Magny getting a couple of takedowns and winning rounds with just enough offense and positional control. The odds for this feel a bit wide and while I get it, it’s historically been hard for anyone but clear top-10 welters (at the time of the fight) to defeat Neil. Wouldn’t shock me if Rakhmonov just wrecked Magny but I’m feeling in the mood to pick a big upset. Neil Magny by decision.
Zane Simon: I don’t know that it’s quite right to say that Rakhmonov doesn’t win the way Neil Magny loses. Certainly gutting out clinch exchanges and reversing wrestling into top control GnP and grappling carries the flavor of what Michael Chiesa made work. But it is worth noting that the best win on Rakhmonov’s record was a 5’6” (in shoes) welterweight. And if you can’t turn clinch exchanges against Neil Magny, he will absolutely turn them against you. With a step up this big, we don’t really know how that part of the Uzbekistani fighter’s game will translate, but I am sure the fight will end up there a lot. Too much of both men’s offense is channeled through willing clinch exchanges to let me think we will see a surfeit of range striking. Especially not if Rakhmonov’s much more dynamic kickboxing causes Magny to abandon distance management behind his jab. Eventually, however, I have to pick the more dynamic finisher, especially over 3 rounds. Magny may be able to stifle, but if Rakhmonov is the one having big moments I think he’s more likely to score with judges. Shavkat Rakhmonov by decision.
Staff picking Magny: Mookie, Connor
Staff picking Rakhmonov: Stephie, Victor, Zane, Dayne
Josh Parisian vs. Alan Baudot
Mookie Alexander: We went consecutive weeks without heavyweights on the main card. The UFC clearly saw it fit to rectify that non-problem in rapid time. Josh Parisian by TKO, round 1.
Zane Simon: Alan Baudot is clearly the much more skilled man in the cage. But that’s rarely the first thing that matters at heavyweight. Parisian is tough as an old boot, and Baudot has tended to fade after a hot start. Think Parisian can grind out a classically ugly heavyweight gas-fest. Josh Parisian by decision.
Staff picking Parisian: Mookie, Zane, Dayne, Stephie
Staff picking Baudot: Connor
Thiago Moises vs. Christos Giagos
Mookie Alexander: Giagos really struggles without a clear wrestling advantage, which he won’t have here. I’m a little worried about Moises after the way Joel Alvarez thrashed him but I can see the Brazilian outpointing Giagos and getting the nod on the scorecards. Thiago Moises by decision.
Zane Simon: Moises tends to thrive on the mistakes his opponents give him. Giagos tends to thrive when he can overwhelm his opponents with physicality, mistakes be damned. Alexander Hernandez couldn’t really make that approach work, and I don’t think Giagos can either. The only question for me comes if Giagos is too relentless to be deterred by the counters coming back at him, but not a good enough wrestler to take Moises down. If he just walks forward and sticks Moises on the fence a lot, that is a fight the Brazilian has lost before. Still, I think Moises will get too many opportunities to create the more meaningful offensive moments. Thiago Moises by submission, round 2.
Staff picking Moises: Mookie, Dayne, Zane, Connor, Stephie
Staff picking Giagos:
Nate Maness vs. Umar Nurmagomedov
Mookie Alexander: Maness is a really good fighter but he’s running into a rising buzzsaw. If the guy’s last name is Nurmagomedov I’m probably picking by default at this point. Umar Nurmagomedov by submission, round 1.
Zane Simon: Maness has definitely surprised me with the consistency he’s shown in the UFC. He clearly has a chin, a ton of heart, and a solid amount of physicality and power. His form isn’t the cleanest thing I’ve ever seen, but it’s a big credit to him that he sticks to it no matter the pressure he’s under. He can be eating all sorts of bombs and he’ll still be firing back solid counter 1-2s and hooks in the pocket. Unfortunately, Nurmagomedov is probably the point where all that stops paying off. If for no other reason than this being the first bout in the UFC where Maness will have to face someone who can fight well from a distance. At that point, being willing to take shots and return fire doesn’t count for nearly as much, when your opponent is keeping you at the end of kicking range and constantly sliding away. And if Maness decides to make it his fight and really pressure and pursue Nurmagomedov? That’s where the wrestling comes in. Maness isn’t awful there, but if he’s getting frustrated and aggressive, I doubt he’ll be well positioned to stuff shots. Umar Nurmagomedov via submission, round 1.
Staff picking Maness:
Staff picking Nurmagomedov: Mookie, Dayne, Connor, Zane, Stephie
Chris Curtis vs. Rodolfo Vieira
Mookie Alexander: Vieira being able to win with his striking in his last fight was pivotal for him. Chris Curtis is not Dustin Stoltzfus, though. There is going to be a massive risk for Curtis if he gets into Vieira’s wheelhouse because even though he’s only been submitted once, Vieira is such a tremendous grappler that he might find himself giving up his back and tapping shortly thereafter. But the longer this stays a kickboxing match the more I fear for Vieira that he’s going to get countered, countered hard, and as he tires Curtis’ power will break him down and stop him. Chris Curtis by TKO, round 2.
Zane Simon: The very first thing Brendan Allen did against Chris Curtis was go out and hit a high crotch single into a back take. So there’s a true posibility Vieira just goes out and makes this look foolishly easy. In fact, I’d even say that if Vieira continues to work on his striking form and comfort in the cage, there’s a future version of him that might just win this fight regularly. Curtis is hardly a big middleweight, and his willingness to fight at a slow pace could give Vieira lots of chances to make this his fight. I doubt that time is right now though. Even against Stoltzfus, Vieira looks like a guy still trying to figure out just how his striking and grappling can be married, and eating a lot of big shots on the way. Curtis is a master at picking his spots, and landing with serious power every time he does. That seems like exactly the kind of thing to put regular panic into Vieira to the point that he’s both tired and making wild mistakes standing up. Chris Curtis via KO, round 2.
Staff picking Curtis: Mookie, Stephie, Connor, Zane
Staff picking Vieira: Victor, Dayne
This poll is closed
397 votes total
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