The Bloody Elbow staff has made its picks for Saturday’s UFC Vegas 58 event, and only Zane Simon is backing Rafael dos Anjos to beat Rafael Fiziev in the main event. As for the co-main, we’re pretty split on who will win between Caio Borralho and Armen Petrosyan in this battle of Dana White’s Contender Series alums.
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.
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Rafael Fiziev
Mookie Alexander: I’m not comfortable with the Fiziev pick solely because I don’t trust his gas tank to hold up over 25 minutes. This feels like a fight that Fiziev would have to win early or else dos Anjos could take the last two or three rounds. RDA is a great offensive pressure fighter but when he’s met with someone who can pressure him back he really struggles. If Fiziev gets on the front foot early then I believe he’ll be able to land the more damaging shots and compromise RDA in ways few fighters historically have. Dos Anjos is a very underrated striker in his own right and he can absolutely clip Fiziev, but there’s just heavier firepower coming back at him. Fiziev’s takedown defense has so far been superb, so if RDA tries to wrestle I’m not expecting much success. I think we’re getting a great scrap almost entirely on the feet, and in the end it’ll be Rafael Fiziev by TKO, round 2.
Zane Simon: RDA really is a different kind of test for Fiziev in the UFC. To date, highest quality pressuring wrestler he’s faced was Magomed Mustafaev, who ended that fight before it ever really even got started. After that it’s… Marc Diakiese? Green and Moicano are decent wrestlers in their own right, but they tend to fight off their back foot and let opponents come to them. A perfect way to give a dynamic power striker like Fiziev all the time and space he needs to find his rhythm and land big shots. Dos Anjos won’t do that. And while he’s been KO’d a couple times in his career, each one feels pretty fluky considering the body of his work and the amount of top competition he’s faced. In general, if RDA is fighting, he’s making it to the final bell. Given that this is also a 5 round bout and we’ve seen Fiziev fade in third rounds before, I think RDA can push forward enough to wear Fiziev down and take over as the fight goes on. Rafael Dos Anjos by decision.
Staff picking Dos Anjos: Zane
Staff picking Fiziev: Mookie, Dayne, Stephie, Victor
Caio Borralho vs. Armen Petrosyan
Mookie Alexander: Ehhhhhh. Petrosyan, I guess? Borralho is probably the better fighter and if he can get this to the ground then Petrosyan might be screwed. I’ll take my chances that Armen’s kickboxing will win the day for him. Armen Petrosyan by TKO, round 2.
Zane Simon: Petrosyan is undoubtedly the much cleaner, more consistent striker, but he’s not exactly a fighter I think of as someone Borralho just can’t afford to stand with at all costs. Especially given that the bulk of striking work Borralho wants to do is from way outside at kicking range. He might get out-worked there, but I think he can hang for a while. And if he can do that, he’ll probably be able to find his way into a takedown sooner or later. I know Rodrigues didn’t have much success holding him down, but he’s not nearly as positionally focused as Borralho. And almost every time he actually did shoot in, he got Petrosyan to the mat. If Borralho can find his way to a couple back takes, I think he can soak up huge amounts of this fight. Maybe even snag a sub. Caio Borralho via submission, round 2.
Staff picking Borralho: Dayne, Stephie, Zane
Staff picking Petrosyan: Mookie, Victor
Said Nurmagomedov vs. Douglas Silva de Andrade
Mookie Alexander: The Nurmagomedov of these last couple of fights really looks like he can make a name for himself at bantamweight. Creative striking, excellent kicks, and he can scramble like hell. Silva de Andrade is a dangerous offensive whirlwind who’s extraordinarily difficult to put away. This could be a trickier fight than it looks for Said but so far he’s shown himself to be pretty defensively sound and we’ve seen before that Silva’s aggressive style can be his worst enemy at times. For my money this is my favorite fight on the card outside of the main event. Said Nurmagomedov by decision.
Zane Simon: I’ve been a fan of Douglas D’Silva for a long time now. His homebrewed combination of strength, speed, and herky-jerky striking offense has made him a surprisingly toublesome opponent for much of the bantamweight division. The core problem for him, however, still remains that his style is fairly broadly applicable, but not terribly deep. He can do some wrestling and grappling, but can also be firmly out-wrestled and out-grappled. His striking is the linchpin of his game, but cleaner technicians can pick him apart if they don’t get too gunshy from his power. The Barcelos fight for Nurmagomedov showed that there is a path for D’Silva to follow, if he pressures behind heavy strikes and wrestles a ton, but even that was a really difficult fight for Barcelos, and he’s a much more technical fighter everywhere than Andrade. I just don’t think there’s the consistency in the Brazilian’s game to turn moments of success into whole rounds. Especially given his struggles with range strikers and the amount of kicking Nurmagoemdov does. Said Nurmagomedov via decision.
Staff picking Nurmagomedov: Dayne, Mookie, Stephie, Victor, Zane
Staff picking Silva de Andrade:
Jared Vanderaa vs. Chase Sherman
Mookie Alexander: Seriously?!!! Jared Vanderaa by something.
Zane Simon: No reason Chase Sherman has to lose this fight. There’s nothing Vanderaa does better than him technically, really. But Vanderaa is tough as hell and fights with determination for every minute he’s in the fight. Sherman seems to be battling some hard mental blocks, and when things go a little wrong for him, everything starts to go sour in a hurry. Jared Vanderaa by decision.
Staff picking Vanderaa: Dayne, Mookie, Stephie, Zane
Staff picking Sherman:
Cynthia Calvillo vs. Nina Nunes
Mookie Alexander: Nunes has had some recent health problems and hasn’t fought in over a year. I’m not worried about her being at flyweight against Calvillo because it’s not like Calvillo is some especially imposing figure at 125. Calvillo’s game is just a disjointed mess at this point and while I can see her submitting Nunes with her slick grappling, it just doesn’t seem to be clicking for her anymore. Nina Nunes by decision.
Zane Simon: Seeing Nina Nunes’ potential retirement talk ahead of this fight has me far less confident that I was just a couple days ago, and I wasn’t very confident then. But, over the years, Calvillo has somewhat backed herself into a stylistic corner. She’s put lots of emphasis on developing a boxing game that neither seems at all connected to her wrestling and grappling, and doesn’t possess the power to hurt anyone on its own. As more opponents figure that out, they’re just walking through her and beating her up. Nunes absolutely can do that. She’s really consistent with a flat-footed power-striking style. It’s on the defense that her classic problems still rear their head, notably that she backs straight up and tends to panic when pressured. If Calvillo can find more of her wrestling chops she could probably force her way to the submission. But that’s trusting her to find a game that just hasn’t been there lately. I have a pretty good idea of what Nunes will do, even if there are gaps there to be exploited. Nina Nunes via decision.
Staff picking Calvillo: Stephie, Victor
Staff picking Nunes: Dayne, Mookie, Zane
Michael Johnson vs. Jamie Mullarkey
Mookie Alexander: Always gotta worry about Johnson’s knockout power and the fact that Mullarkey is going to be inferior athletically. But Mullarkey is pretty damn tough, can land some good strikes of his own, and may have the wrestling to nullify Johnson’s striking. Add in the way that Mullarkey can pressure and it’s possible Johnson gets desperate and makes a fight-ending mistake. We know full well the frequency in which Michael has lost from winning positions so while he might be coming off a cool KO, I can’t trust him on a consistent basis. Jamie Mullarkey by decision.
Zane Simon: There’s a serious chance that Mullarkey gets KO’d here. His bullish striking form means there’s always a lot of chances to counter him standing and Johnson still has blazing speed and a well schooled boxing style. If Mullarkey charges him with heavy 1-2s, there’s nothing to say Johnson doesn’t put serious hands on him. The problem for Johnson, however, seems to be that there are more ways than ever to break his form. Alan Patrick is pretty much a pure grappling threat, and he rocked Johnson badly, just because he had Johnson so focused on counter-wrestling. Mullarkey isn’t a superb wrestler and grappler, but he can find his way to it when he needs it. And often all it takes is for a threat to get in Johnson’s head and his game can crumble. Jamie Mullarky via decision.
Staff picking Johnson: Victor
Staff picking Mullarkey: Dayne, Mookie, Stephie, Zane
This poll is closed
Rafael dos Anjos
596 votes total
About the author