After the chaos of last weekend the UFC is back in their APEX facility for a show filled with characters you wouldn’t expect the same level of drama from. The UFC Vegas 60 main event features the quietly terrifying Cory Sandhagen and Song Yadong.
Outside of the main event this is a card for the hardcores with not much name value on display. But even so, the Bloody Elbow crew have looked over the match-ups and provided who they think will get their hands raised come Saturday night.
And the team is split on the main event with three staff members picking Sandhagen to beat Song and cement a place in the UFC bantamweight title picture and two thinking Song will supplant Sandhagen in that conversation.
Opinions aren’t as divided in the co-main with everyone but Dayne thinking Chidi Njokuani has the quality, and power, to take out Gregory Rodrigues.
Read below for how our staff thinks the rest of these fights will play out.
*Reminder: I’m making my picks based solely on fighter’s past winning percentages as an experiment to see how effective that nugget of data is at predicting fight outcomes. More on that here. You can see the data here. This method of picking fights is currently 15-10. Once 1,000 fights have been logged like this, we’ll take a look at what it all might mean.
Cory Sandhagen vs. Song Yadong
Tim Bissell: Both Sandhagen and Song have got some fantastic wins on their resumes at this point in their career. Sandhagen has thrashed Frankie Edgar and Marlon Moraes. Song has also beaten Moraes and taken a win off the surging Marlon Vera. As far as UFC winning percentages (wp) goes, Song’s is higher (.800 vs. .700), which is due to Sandhagen’s recently slide that has seen him lose a decisions to T.J. Dillashaw (debatable) and Petr Yan. Both men have the same number of fights in the UFC (10) and have very similar wps for their MMA career as a whole, with Sandhagen having a score just .047 higher than Song (who has fought eight more times). My model has me picking Song here, who I also think will win personally, despite him being the slight underdog with the betting line. Song Yadong via decision.
Zane Simon: This should make for a fascinating fight. From a pure technique and physicality standpoint, Song is definitely capable of doing a lot of the same things that Petr Yan did in his win over Sandhagen late last year. He’s got the power and the speed, he’s a clean striker, and he’s been showing a better ability lately to make good reads on his opponent as bouts go on. However, even in back-to-back losses it seems clear that Sandhagen has also been improving. As one of bantamweight’s lankiest fighters, he’s developed much more of an out-fighter’s game lately, with better footwork and defensive reactions off the back foot, and more attention to getting out of the pocket after exchanges. He also throws a whole lot more than Song, and has been in a couple big five round fights now, and should know how to manage his pace. To date, I just haven’t seen Song have to adjust and create to the level that I think would beat Sandhagen right now. He’s got all the potential to win, but my guess is that this looks a lot like the first round or two of the Yan fight, with Sandhagen busy, elusive, and winning rounds on a volume combination approach. Cory Sandhagen by decision.
Staff picking Sandhagen: Dayne, Kristen, Zane
Staff picking Song: Bissell, Stephie
Chidi Njokuani vs. Gregory Rodrigues
Tim Bissell: This picking method I’m testing dictates that all fighters who are undefeated in the UFC get selected over anyone who has either a loss or no wins in the promotion. I don’t know if this is a hole in the model or not yet. So far undefeated UFC fighters have gone 3-3 against opponents without a perfect record. Njokauni, who looked great against Dusko Todorvic last time out, is 3-0 since joining the promotion. Rodrigues is 3-2 (.600 wp) since he joined. When you look at their whole MMA career’s, there’s barely anything to pick between them (.759 for Njokuani vs. .750 for Rodrigues). Njokuani has far more fights under his nearly twice the number of fights under his belt, though. Chidi Njokuani via TKO.
Zane Simon: Flip a coin, this one has all the makings of a slugfest that either man could walk out of with their hand raised. Both Rodrigues and Njokuani throw nice, technical combinations, have size, and power, and confidence in their abilities. Njokuani’s probably the better defensive fighter in the pocket, but style-for-style his tendency to fight off the back foot, and look for perfect pot-shot opportunities could struggle heavily against Rodrigues’ volume-oriented pressure offense. Of course, there’s always the chance that Rodrigues could just get a takedown and submit Njokuani. But I’ll shy away from that since it doesn’t ever seem like the game the Brazilian wants to play in the Octagon. Eventually, I’m gonna pick Chidi Njokuani to get that perfect chance for a big counter that puts Rodrigues away. But if it doesn’t come, he’ll likely lose every round on pressure and volume. Chidi Njokuani via KO, round 2.
Staff picking Njokuani: Bissell, Stephie, Kristen, Zane
Staff picking Rodrigues: Dayne
Andre Fili vs. Bill Algeo
Tim Bissell: This one has fun written all over it. However, for Fili he’s probably prefer a boring win at this stage in his career. He’s coming off a 41-second KO loss to Joanderson Brito in April and it’s been two years since his last win (a split decision over Charles Jourdain). In his last five fights he’s gone 1-3 (1 NC). Those losses have pushed his UFC wp to just over .500. Algeo, who has fought just five times in the UFC (12 fewer than Fili) has a moderately better clip of .600 thanks to his funky win over Herbert Burns last time out. Prior to that he took a unanimous decision over Brito. Bill Algeo via decision.
Zane Simon: This should be a great fight. While I get that Fili and Algeo have a common opponent, and that Algeo got the much better result between them, I also think that Fili should be a reasonable favorite here. At this point in his career, the Alpha Male talent rarely ever gets straight up out-wrestled to a loss. And when he’s got the takedown advantage he tends to know how to press it well. Algeo’s style is built on constantly crashing in on his opponents, breaking them with his pace and pressure and cardio. But if his opponent can match him and scramble with him? He puts himself in a lot of bad spots over and over. That feels like a fight Fili can win to me. Andre Fili by decision.
Staff picking Fili: Kristen, Zane
Staff picking Algeo: Bissell, Dayne, Stephie
Alen Amedovski vs. Joseph Pyfer
Tim Bissell: Amedovski’s UFC wp is a big fat 0 thanks to his failing to get a win in his first three Octagon appearances. The North Macedonian came to the UFC with an 8-0 record but has since been TKO’d, decisioned and submitted. Pyfer won his UFC debut on the Contender Series in July, via TKO, and that’s enough for my model to pick him (and likely relegate Amendovski from the UFC ). Jospeh Pyfer via TKO.
Zane Simon: Amedovski might just be the worst fighter on the UFC roster. Joe Pyfer via KO, round 1.
Staff picking Amedovski:
Staff picking Joseph Pyfer: Bissell, Dayne, Stephie, Kristen, Zane
Tanner Boser vs. Rodrigo Nascimento
Tim Bissell: Boser’s UFC wp is close to .600 after seven contests. Nascimento’s is close to .700, albeit with just five UFC fights to his name. The Brazilian’s wp would be higher if his previous fight, a standing KO over Alan Baudot, had not been wiped out for a USADA test failure. Before what seemed like an impressive victory Nascinmento was KO’d by Chris Daukaus. The only time Boser has been stopped in his career was a six second KO in 2015 that was delivered by the late Tim Hague. Last time out he impressed with a TKO over Ovince St. Preux. The model has Nascimento winning out on this one. If that’s the case, I think it might be a long and boring heavyweight duel (since I don’t see Nascimento doing what Ciryl Gane couldn’t do in knocking Boser out). Rodrigo Nascimento via decision.
Zane Simon: Before Tanner Boser got to the UFC and started sparking people, he was mostly known for his ability to grind out absolutely miserable, grueling decisions against other heavyweights that couldn’t match his cardio or break his chin. I actually like what Nascimento can do in fights once he calms down a tick and starts to measure himself, but even if he survives an early scare from Boser, I gotta wonder if he’s ready for an opponent who will be there, in his face, active come round 3. My guess is no. Tanner Boser by decision.
Staff picking Boser: Dayne, Stephie, Zane
Staff picking Nascimento: Bissell, Kristen
Anthony Hernandez vs. Marc-Andre Barriault
Tim Bissell: ‘Fluffy’ Hernandez has had Ian McCall like luck since 2020. In the past two years he’s had six different fights fall through due to injuries, COVID infections and opponent withdrawals. The two fights he has been able to have over that span have been great. He shocked the world with a submission over Rodolfo Vieira last year and took a unanimous decision over Josh Fremd a few months ago. His UFC wp is .600, significantly higher than Barriault’s (.429), so he gets the pick here. Anthony Hernandez via submission.
Zane Simon: When an opponent can bring a truly technical fight to Anthony Hernandez in any one area, they can cause him a lot of problems. His style is all about creating opportunities through wild aggression and a progression through the striking/wrestling/grappling aspects of the fight. Stop him in any one moment of that and he’ll often put himself in compromising positions in an attempt to create more offense. The question is, where and how could Barriault manage to do that? Barriault’s tough and his boxing has improved a lot lately, but I don’t think he’s got the depth anywhere to stop Hernandez from making this fight brutally messy. At that point, I’ll go Anthony Hernandez by decision.
Staff picking Hernandez: Bissell, Dayne, Stephie, Kristen, Zane
Staff picking Barriault:
Damon Jackson vs. Pat Sabatini
Tim Bissell: In two stints with the UFC Jackson has amassed a wp of .571. Sabatini is undefeated in the UFC, having gone 4-0 to start his Octagon career. Pat Sabatini by decision.
Zane Simon: While it’s easy for me to see Sabatini as a clear favorite here, Jackson doesn’t usually lose the way that Sabatini wins. Even when he’s been submitted in the past, he’s rarely ever just been held down and controlled. If this fight gets standing, neither man really has the depth of striking to make it a comfortable battle (I might even give Jackson the edge as a puncher). Still, I think Sabatini’s prowess and athleticism on the mats will make for too big a challenge for the ‘Leech’. I guess I’m just interested to see how exactly he gets it done. Pat Sabatini by decision.
Staff picking Jackson: Kristen
Staff picking Sabatini: Bissell, Dayne, Stephie, Zane
Trevin Giles vs. Louis Cosce
Tim Bissell: There’s not much to choose between Giles and Cosce when you consider wp alone. Both have won around half their UFC fights, with Giles’ wp slightly higher. Giles also has seven more fights in the promotion than his opponent does. Trevin Giles via TKO.
Zane Simon: Cosce’s got some major gas tank problems, but I don’t trust this WW drop for Giles at all, and he doesn’t keep the kind of pace going that’s terribly likely to make Cosce pay for slowing down if Cosce can’t put him away early. Louis Cosce via TKO, round 1.
Staff picking Giles: Bissell, Dayne, Stephie, Kristen
Staff picking Cosce: Zane
Loma Lookboonmee vs. Denise Gomes
Tim Bissell: Gomes won her promotional debut on the Contender series, so she gets the pick over the .600 Lookboonmee (who is coming off a loss to Lupita Godinez). Denise Gomes via decision.
Zane Simon: Gomes likes to strike and she’ll be in there with someone a lot more practiced and polished than she is. Loma Lookboonmee by decision.
Staff picking Lookboonmee: Dayne, Stephie, Kristen, Zane
Staff picking Gomes: Bissell
Trey Ogden vs. Daniel Zellhuber
Tim Bissell: The undefeated Zellhuber won his UFC debut last year. Ogden is 0-1 in the Octagon after losing to Jordan Leavitt in his debut. Daniel Zellhuber via TKO.
Zane Simon: Zellhuber has some big defensive flaws off his back foot that I’m pretty concerned about. But, he’s also got the durability to ride out damage (at least so far) and the power and form on his strikes to dissuade most opponents from really pursuing him. Unfortunately for Ogden, his combination of slow footspeed and wide looping strikes seems perfectly set up for Zellhuber to pick him off with crushing counters down the middle. Daniel Zellhuber via KO, round 1.
Staff picking Ogden:
Staff picking Zellhuber: Bissell, Dayne, Stephie, Kristen, Zane
Mariya Agapova vs. Gillian Robertson
Tim Bissell: Robertson has a .583 wp over 12 UFC fights. Agapova is .500 after going 2-2 so far in her UFC career. Gillian Robertson via decision.
Zane Simon: I really want to pick Robertson here, but she’s still so overwhelm-able as a striker. She can start out a fight just fine, but once she starts getting cracked all of her reactions are bad. Agapova is capable of her own meltdowns in the cage. Notably, whenever she starts really winning or losing, she starts to fly off the handle and fight with some wild aggression that can get her caught out by positional grapplers with slick submissions. That’s something Robertson can easily do. But, the fight starts standing and if I have to bet on which fighter is going to experience a crisis first here, I gotta think that’s Robertson. Mariya Agapova via TKO, round 1.
Staff picking Agapova: Stephie, Zane
Staff picking Robertson: Bissell, Dayne, Kristen
Tony Gravely vs. Javid Basharat
Tim Bissell: Basharat is another undefeated UFC fighter on the card (2-0). Gravely’s wp is around .700. Javid Basharat via TKO.
Zane Simon: This is a great test fight for Basharat. Gravely may not be as creative as Trevin Jones, but he’s a lot higher output and a lot more reliable in terms of strategy. Gravely comes to wrestle box, and if you can’t hang with his wrestling game, you’re gonna have problems. That said, his fairly simple style and consistent approach also makes him a pretty predictable man to figure out. Had Saimon Oliveira not jumped guillotine every time Gravely shot on him, he might have even been able to come back for a win. This may start out rough for Basharat, but if Gravely’s takedowns start to lose a little steam, I think he’ll find himself on the wrong end of some serious offense. Javid Basharat via TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Gravely: Dayne
Staff picking Basharat: Bissell, Stephie, Kristen, Zane
Nikolas Motta vs. Cameron VanCamp
Tim Bissell: Motta’s 1-1 record means he gets the pick here over VanCamp’s 0-1. Nikolas Motta via decision.
Zane Simon: This fight might have a few scares for Motta in it, given how much he loves to plant his feet and throw in the pocket and how big VanCamp is and how much he loves to brawl his way forward. Motta is the much slicker more technical man, but if VanCamp just clubs him a few times, this could get hairy fast. Still, the big problem for Motta against Miller were the kicks mixed into combinations, VanCamp doesn’t do that. The big problem for VanCamp against Fialho was that Fialho hit him with big clean counter shots every time he stepped in. Motta can definitely do that. Nikolas Motta via KO, round 3.
Staff picking Motta: Bissell, Dayne, Stephie, Kristen, Zane
Staff picking VanCamp:
Leader board (as of Sept 3):
Zane increased his lead at the top by going 10-3. Dayne jumped up the standings with a 9-4 night. Kristen joined the fun, too, with a 9-4 night. My pick method went 6-7 to drop me down to the middle of the pack.
Zane 21-4 | .840
Kristen 9-4 | .692
Dayne 16-9 | .640
Bissell 15-10 | .600
Stephie 14-11 | .560
Anton 13-12 | .520
Victor 4-5 | .444
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