UFC Vegas 70 staff picks and predictions: Is Spann the man?

UFC Vegas 70 is on tap this weekend and the headliner offers a light heavyweight clash between two guys who are known to finish…

By: Tim Bissell | 7 months ago
UFC Vegas 70 staff picks and predictions: Is Spann the man?
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

UFC Vegas 70 is on tap this weekend and the headliner offers a light heavyweight clash between two guys who are known to finish fights. On one side of the octagon is the tricksy Nikita Krylov (who has only two decision wins among his 29 victories) and Ryan Spann (who has just three decisions in 21 wins).

Though it’s not unanimous, our staff is leaning towards Spann to get his hand raised at the end of this one.

The co-main event is Andre Muniz vs. Brendan Allen and our entire staff is picking the Brazilian to add to his seven-fight win streak in the UFC. For Muniz’s sake, let’s hope the BE curse does not raise it’s ugly head this week.

You can see the rest of our picks below and don’t forget to add yours in the comments below!

Nikita Krylov vs. Ryan Spann

Anton Tabuena: This is clearly a “meet the ESPN quota” type of card, and I will never understand UFC’s obsession with putting so many light heavyweight headliners like it’s 2006. I’m not sure why we would ever need five rounds of big guys in non-title fights, but at least this one can end up being fun early on. It may not matter with Spann’s power, but Krylov has a more well rounded game so I’m going with him. Nikita Krylov by TKO.

Zane Simon: The first couple minutes of this bout are almost certain to be a car crash where anything could happen. Spann and Krylov both start fast, and Krylov loves to sit at the kind of distance where Spann hits hardest and throw naked kicks. Volkan Oezdemir dinged him up hard for it. That said, Krylov’s only knockout loss of his career was a TKO due to exhaustion. His head has otherwise been pure concrete. At that point, other factors become a major concern. Namely, Spann’s terrible takedown defense. Even sitting at 50%, that comes almost entirely due to Spann’s fight against Luis Henrique, where he stuffed 7 shots and still got taken down 4 times. Otherwise he’s given up 83% of the takedowns he’s faced. Krylov may be known for his volume striking, but he rarely wins without a heavy diet of wrestling and top control. If Krylov’s not getting KO’d I’ll take him to wrestle his way to victory. Nikita Krylov via decision.

Tim Bissell: I think this is a very close fight and I think it has a lot of potential to be a really exciting back and forth fight with both men landing heavy shots and getting deep on submission attempts. I think both guy here has the potential to finish the other, so it will just come down to who best seizes that opportunity. And I think Spann’s size, strength and athleticism edge will help him do that sooner than Krylov’s craftiness edge. I can see him muscling out of some bad positions and making Krylov pay as he does. Ryan Spann via TKO.

Staff picking Krylov: Eddie, Zane, Anton
Staff picking Spann: Lucas, Bissell, Stephie, Kristen, Dayne

Andre Muniz vs. Brendan Allen

Zane Simon: At least in the UFC, Brendan Allen doesn’t tend to lose fights on the mat. He’s been taken down, he’s been out-wrestled, he’s even been out-grappled for long stretches. But his toughness and unwillingness to stop attacking submissions has turned bad spots into victory a few times. This feels like the point where that streak ends. Unlike most of the other grapplers Allen has faced, Muniz is just a venomous combo of positional control and aggressive attack. If Allen is going to give up takedowns, then it seems unlikely he’ll find ways to create winning scrambles or sub opportunities. That said, Muniz’s tendency to tackle just a few favorite subs did let Uriah Hall off the hook repeatedly. It wasn’t enough to get Hall the win, but it was enough to let him see the final bell. Could easily see that for Allen as well. Andre Muniz via decision.

Tim Bissell: Muniz is a big problem for this middle tier echelon of middleweight. Whether he’s a threat to the higher end of the division, remains to be seen. And it’s been pretty refreshing to see a guy on such a long win streak (seven fights) not immediately get thrust into a main event with a top ten ranked guy. I doubt this slow-play is intentional on the UFC’s part. Either way, though, with a win here Muniz will probably move into the top 10 himself. I have serious doubts that Allen can spoil that. I don’t think he’s going to get rag-dolled by any means, but I don’t see him being able to release enough pressure from Muniz to mount any kind of serious offence. Andre Muniz via decision.

Staff picking Muniz: Eddie, Lucas, Bissell, Stephie, Zane, Kristen, Dayne, Anton
Staff picking Allen:

Augusto Sakai vs. Don’Tale Mayes

Zane Simon: Sakai is in a bad place and this could easily be his next new low, but Mayes distinctly lacks the couple things that have become so crushing for Sakai. Namely, he’s not a good enough wrestler to get easy takedowns, and he’s not a technical enough striker to score easy knockouts. Without those elements, Sakai is the busier, more dependable, round winning guy who makes decent decisions moment to moment. I’ll take Sakai by decision, full in the knowledge that his confidence is at an all time low and he may just start losing to any reasonably tough dude at 265.

Tim Bissell: This is on the main card… Yikes. Sakai is on a four fight losing streak, albeit against some tough opponents. But I don’t think he’ll have the staying power to hang in there once ‘Lord Kong’ lands some offence (which will be aided due to a five inch reach advantage). Don’Tale Mayes via TKO,

Staff picking Sakai: Lucas, Zane, Dayne
Staff picking Mayes: Eddie, Bissell, Kristen, Stephie, Anton

Tatiana Suarez vs. Montana De La Rosa

Anton Tabuena: The change in division and long layoff gives me a lot of pause, but Suarez has been a damn good fighter and it’s interesting to see how she looks now. Four years out is no joke, but I’m still going with Tatiana Suarez by decision.

Zane Simon: I do like this booking a lot. Given that Suarez was down a division and had a huge layoff, a bout against a skilled generalist like De La Rosa who won’t ever let her off the hook, but who also isn’t going to press a dominant fight anywhere, seems like just what’s needed. If Suarez can still wrestle like she used to after knee and neck troubles, MDLR will let her have her fight. If she can’t? De La Rosa’s scrambling ability and busy striking could cause Suarez real problems. Tatiana Suarez by decision, but she’s got a lot to prove once again.

Tim Bissell: It’s right to have question marks about a fighter who has been out as long as Suarez. But, based on what we know of her, her wrestling is so beyond that of De La Rosa’s it’s difficult to imagine she still can’t control this fight and take a win here. We were right to think Suarez was a likely contender in the strawweight division. And I think once she’s shaken off the cobwebs with this flyweight bout, she’ll be back down to 115 and in the title mix very soon. Tatiana Suarez via decision.

Staff picking Suarez: Eddie, Lucas, Bissell, Zane, Kristen, Stephie, Dayne, Anton
Staff picking De La Rosa:

Mike Malott vs. Yohan Lainesse

Zane Simon: Malott’s the cleaner puncher in the pocket, even if he doesn’t have as great a chin and may not have quite as much power. My big concern is how Lainesse gassed in his debut and then how his response next time out was to notably take his foot off the gas. If he’s not going to be aggressive, he doesn’t have a lot of other tools to work with. And if he does get aggressive, Malott’s at his best boxing off his back foot with counters that Lainesse will give him. Mike Malott via KO, round 2.

Tim Bissell: This is Ontario vs. Quebec. I’ve got to go with my home province here. Mike Malott via TKO.

Staff picking Malott: Eddie, Bissell, Zane, Kristen, Stephie, Dayne, Anton
Staff picking Lainesse: Lucas

Erick Gonzalez vs. Trevor Peek

Zane Simon: Gonzalez is technically better, but he’s not durable and his style is all about thrusting himself into the midst of danger. Peek is a wild mess, but man hits hard. Trevor Peek via KO, round 1.

Staff picking Gonzalez:
Staff picking Peek: Eddie, Lucas, Bissell, Zane, Kristen, Stephie, Dayne, Anton

Gabriella Fernandes vs. Jasmine Jasudavicius

Zane Simon: Fernandes’ lack of any wrestling at all is a major concern. She just seems like she skipped that part of her MMA training. Especially too given that top control GnP is the best part of what Jasudavicius does. But, and this is fairly key, Jasudavicius doesn’t tend to outwrestle anyone who doesn’t start out trying to wrestle her. And Fernandes does quite well staying at range and just kickboxing without falling into the pocket. Even after controlling Kay Hansen for two rounds, once Hansen figured out she should just throw punches and not clinch, she beat Jasudavicius up. Fernandes is big enough to compete with Jasudavicius at distance and fluid enough to have the technical edge. I’ll take Gabriella Fernandes via decision.

Staff picking Fernandes: Eddie, Lucas, Zane, Dayne, Anton
Staff picking Jasudavicius: Bissell, Kristen, Stephie

Jordan Leavitt vs. Victor Martinez

Zane Simon: I get that Leavitt got clowned by Pimblett in the end, but he’s proven pretty well that he’s a very awkward and difficult fighter to beat. Martinez doesn’t strike me as a very good athlete, and he’s built his game around a striking style that requires either a very high level of skill or very high level of athleticism to make it work. If Leavitt presses him with a blanketing takedown game, I don’t really know that he’ll have any easy answer. Jordan Leavitt via submission, round 2.

Staff picking Leavitt: Eddie, Zane, Kristen, Stephie, Dayne, Anton
Staff picking Martinez: Lucas, Bissell

Ode Osbourne vs. Charles Johnson

Zane Simon: After a rough start to his UFC tenure, I really like the moves that Johnson has been making. He’s upped the volume, while keeping his target selection varied and his wrestling defense strong. For a fighter who always had the size and technique to be competitive, becoming a more aggressive fighter is going to be key to his long term success in the UFC. For Osbourne, his struggles are harder to pin down. He tends to be a sort of select-a-strike fighter who thrives in open space. He can be dangerous if he can catch someone off guard or has a big speed edge, but he’s just as likely to be caught out when he decides to move into range. Given how durable he is and how well he’s been fighting lately, I gotta take Charles Johnson via TKO, round 3.

Staff picking Osbourne: Lucas
Staff picking Johnson: Eddie, Bissell, Zane, Kristen, Stephie, Dayne, Anton

Joe Solecki vs. Carl Deaton III

Zane Simon: Better luck next time, Carl. Joe Solecki via submission, round 1.

Tim Bissell: I haven’t watched Carl Deaton III. I’m still waiting to watch the first two. No spoilers! Joe Solecki via decision.

Staff picking Solecki: Eddie, Bissell, Zane, Kristen, Stephie, Dayne, Anton
Staff picking Deaton: Lucas

Nurullo Aliev vs. Rafael Alves

Zane Simon: I don’t like this booking at all. Alves is a very dangerous, fun action fighter who should be making his name in the midst of the division taking on other fun action fighters looking to climb the ranks. Aliev is a young blanket. A blanket with promise, but very raw. His DWCS finish with the first true TKO of his career. Everything else has just been clingy decisions. Is he ready to tangle with an athlete of Alves’ speed and power? Maybe, but even if he were, I’d say this isn’t the time to find out. Instead, I’ll bet on the idea that he’s headed for a rough wakeup and that Alves can show again why he was a difficult fight even for Damir Ismagulov. Rafael Alves via KO, round 2.

Staff picking Aliev: Eddie, Lucas, Bissell, Anton
Staff picking Alves: Zane, Kristen, Stephie, Dayne

Hailey Cowan vs. Ailin Perez

Zane Simon: Perez kinda planted her flag from day one as a personality fans weren’t going to love, but she is a fighter who clearly comes in with a plan to hurt opponents and create fun offense. She needs a lot of polish still, but I really like her aggression in the cage a lot. Cowan, on the other hand, looks like a very good, strong athlete who is still trying to figure this whole MMA thing out. If she doesn’t put Perez away or hold her to the cage all fight, I don’t think she’ll be dealing out the damage. Ailin Perez via split decision.

Staff picking Cowan: Lucas, Bissell
Staff picking Perez: Eddie, Zane, Kristen, Stephie, Dayne, Anton


Who wins?

This poll is closed

  • 50%

    Nikita Krylov

    (109 votes)

  • 49%

    Ryan Spann

    (108 votes)

217 votes total

Vote Now

Dayne and Eddie continue to lead the way. Both picked up 8-3 records last weekend, as did Zane and Anton (who both moved up a spot on the leaderboard). Trailing them were Kristen and Lucas who both scored 6-5 records. Everyone else had a losing record for the event, including Chris who spoiled his perfectly average .500 overall record.

Week 10 Standings

Position Staffer Correct Incorrect Total Picks % Picks Back Week 9 Record
Position Staffer Correct Incorrect Total Picks % Picks Back Week 9 Record
1 (-) Dayne 76 37 113 0.673 9-6
2 (-) Eddie 73 40 113 0.646 3 8-7
3 (-) Zane 70 43 113 0.619 6 10-5
4 (-) Anton 69 44 113 0.611 7 10-5
5 (▼1) Kristen 67 46 113 0.593 9 8-7
6 (-) Stephie 64 38 102 0.627 12 8-7
7 (-) Bissell 60 53 113 0.531 16 6-9
8 (-) Lucas 50 49 99 0.505 26 5-10
9 (-) Chris 49 54 103 0.476 27 7-8
10 (-) Victor 21 20 41 0.512 55 8-7
11 (-) BE Community 17 11 28 0.607 59 10-5
12 (nr) Tim 8 7 15 0.533 68 8-7

About the author: Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. (full bio)

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About the author
Tim Bissell
Tim Bissell

Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. Among Tim's specialties are the intersections between crime and combat sports. Tim has also covered head trauma, concussions and CTE in great detail.

Tim is also BE's lead (only) sumo reporter. He blogs about that sport here and on his own substack, Sumo Stomp!

Email me at tim@bloodyelbow.com. Nice messages will get a response.

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