Our staff has looked over the match-ups and we are siding with the Brazilian prospect to unseat Bigi Boy in the main event. We are unanimous on this other than that long-legged coin-flipping man Chris Rini. We are a little more divided on the co-main, but we’re mostly going with former title challenger Smith to outclass Walker.
You can see the rest of our picks for tonight below:
UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs. Almeida picks
Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Jailton Almeida
Anton: Rozenstruik is bigger, has power, and this is heavyweight where anything can happen, but style-wise this should be pretty straightforward. Almeida will likely take him down and dominate on the mat as he exposes Rozenstruik’s limited game. Jailton Almeida by TKO.
Zane: There’s this idea in MMA of a ‘two true outcome’ fight, which basically means, either fighter X is will win in circumstance A or fighter Y will win in circumstance B. Which in this case would be, Rozenstruik wins by early KO, or Almeida out-grapples him. But this feels more like a ‘one true outcome’ booking. Rozenstruik is a fearsome KO artist, but I’ve seen nothing to suggest he has an answer for the low double that Almeida shot on Shamil Abdurakhimov that got him an early takedown last time out. And without a grappling game to speak of, I have to assume Jailton Almeida by submission, round 1.
Chris: If memory serves Rozenstruik can’t really grapple, but Almeida can’t really strike yet. Because this is heavyweight logic isn’t terribly useful when predicting fights, but fortunately I use a coin flip to determine my pick and come up with reason afterwards, so: Rozenstruik needs his opponent to initiate exchanges so he can counter and Almeida is going to set the table one to many times for the Biggie Boy to feast.
Victor: Jairzinho can crack, we know that. Almeida could easily submit him once he gets things to the ground, but how much can you trust him to pull that off? It would suck if the guy with a bit more upside lost to the guy with more power, and it looks like that’s what’s gonna happen. But I’m also very stubborn and don’t care too much. Jailton Almeida by decision.
Bissell: This is heavyweight, so anyone and everyone has a puncher’s chance. And Rozenstruik is a hell of a puncher. But he’s got nothing else going for him. I think Almeida is good enough a prospect not to get exposed, or hurt, by such a one dimensional fighter. Almeida should be smart enough to avoid the big punch and capable enough of controlling the fight and frustrating Rozenstruik on route to a decision win. Jailton Almeida by decision
Staff picking Rozenstruik: Chris
Staff picking Almeida: Bissell, Lucas, Kristen, Dayne, Victor, Jack, Eddie, Stephie, Zane, Anton
Anthony Smith vs. Johnny Walker
Anton: Walker is younger, faster, more athletic, and has the power to end this from anywhere, but despite all of that and his two fight winning streak, I still have no confidence in picking him. Smith has more mileage, but he’s also the smarter fighter. If he doesn’t get cracked early, I think he’ll commit less mistakes here. Anthony Smith by decision.
Zane: I dunno about this one. Anthony Smith is a much better coached, and more thoughtful fighter in the cage. But he’s also a guy who can be totally overwhelmed by athletic disparity to the point that he isn’t even competitive. Kind of crazy that the same guy who can absolutely blast Ryan Spann just gets relentlessly out-wrestled by Aleksandar Rakic.
The thing for me still swaying this fight in Smith’s favor is that he isn’t actually fragile and, if left to his own devices in open space, is a very capable, competitive striker. Walker, these days, is just less aggressive and messier than ever. I’ll take Anthony Smith, but if he shoots, gets stuffed hard, and gets crushed in round 1 by Walker, that’ll be no surprise. Anthony Smith by decision.
Chris: This is one of the most diametrically opposed pairings possible. Smith takes himself extremely seriously, almost to comedic effect and Walker is comedic to the point that you sometimes wonder if he realizes the stakes involved in prize fighting.
Victor: Smith is a smart fighter with some physical limitations while Walker is a wildman that’s been somewhat tamed but works with his athleticism first and foremost. Smith is a finisher through and through, and it takes a certain caliber of guy to beat him. Walker is not on that level. Smith has more options standing and a dreadfully underappreciated submission game. Anthony Smith by submission.
Bissell: Johnny Walker has a huge reach advantage here. That would be great for someone who has any semblance of fight IQ. But that’s not our Johnny. He’s going to be wild and put himself in strange positions. Anthony Smith should be more controlled and I suspect have a gameplan designed around identifying those brain farts and capitalizing on them. Anthony Smith by TKO
Staff picking Smith: Lucas, Kristen, Dayne, Victor, Eddie, Zane, Anton, Bissell
Staff picking Walker: Chris, Jack, Stephie
Daniel Rodriguez vs. Ian Machado Garry
Anton: Garry has been brought up along nicely, and has looked great against his earlier opposition, but this is a pretty big step up in competition for him. Rodriguez is tough, and will surely test a lot of areas in his game here, but I think Garry is good enough to pass this. Ian Garry by decision.
Zane: I love this step up for Garry, who has so far impressed me a ton over his UFC run so far, starting as a guy that I thought would probably get pretty dinged up by anyone who was willing to wade forward and throw back at him in volume. Instead, he’s worked on his footwork a lot, learned how to fight behind his range and his jab, and has shown a shocking determination to stick to the winning plan, even when it gets him in trouble.
He will probably get in trouble against Rodriguez, who is a more consistent, and more confident counter-puncher than anyone Garry has faced to date. But I think low kicks are going to be huge for Garry early, and will make rallying tough for D-Rod. Ian Garry by decision.
Victor: Ian’s got tons of skills, and Daniel’s relocated from California to Xtreme Couture in Vegas. Will I let my personal biases influence my decision-making here? Yes, yes I absolutely will. Daniel Rodriguez (no relation) by TKO.
Bissell: I think this is great match-making for both fighters here. An appropriate step up for Garry and an appropriate check-in for Rodriguez after he failed the Magny test. I’m picking Garry because he feels more polished in the striking department (where a lot of, if not all, of this fight will take place). However, I think he’s going to get hit a few times and have to show some toughness to come through this. It’s going to be close, and maybe bruising, but I think Garry’s for real and this will earn him another step up in competition. Ian Machado Garry by decision
Chris: Ian Garry is the quintessential MMA fighter: captivating my attention in that cage and makes me question my judgment as soon as he’s on the mic. That’s top 10 material.
Staff picking Rodriguez: Kristen, Victor, Eddie
Staff picking Garry: Bissell, Lucas, Dayne, Chris, Jack, Stephie, Zane, Anton
Carlos Ulberg vs. Ihor Potieria
Victor: I should be mad at the UFC for booking Potieria vs Shogun on the way out, so I should put that aside. Ulberg is fun and all, but Ihor seems like he’s got a more put-together game. Ihor Potieria by TKO.
Zane: The way Potieria likes to wade in with his hands low, creating high pressure exchanges that work off his durability seems like it’s made for two things: low kicks and counter hooks. It just so happens that those are the things Ulberg is absolutely best at. If Potieria can weather a storm and make this a brawl, he may just wear Ulberg out, but I get the feeling he’ll be taking a ton of damage early. Carlos Ulberg via KO, round 1.
Bissell: Ulberg’s very fun. He’s got size, reach and power over Potieiria. I’m not looking beyond that for this fight. Carlos Ulberg by TKO
Staff picking Ulberg: Bissell, Kristen, Dayne, Eddie, Stephie, Zane, Anton
Staff picking Potieria: Lucas, Chris, Victor, Jack
Tim Means vs. Alex Morono
Anton: Tim Means is 39, with a lot of mileage that’s really catching up to him. Alex Morono by TKO.
Victor: I guess Morono’s wrestleboxing and athleticism becomes a problem for Means over time as long as he stays out of clinches. Alex Morono by decision.
Zane: I love me some Tim Means business, but the ‘Dirty Bird’ has been getting hurt more and more often in his fights lately. Morono isn’t the most dominating athlete and doesn’t have the best chin, but he fights smart, knows how to pick his spots, and knows how to counter people that look to step in and create exchanges. Alex Morono via TKO, round 2.
Bissell: I’ve always been a fan of Tim Means and the well-timed ferocity that punctuated the fights I rememeber most fondly. But he’s coming up on 40 and he’s been getting hurt in recent bouts. Morono is very good at not getting overwhelmed and carefully picking his opportunities. So much so, that I may have picked him against a prime Means. But at this stage of their careers, I think he’ll be too quick and too measured to get in trouble and be able to out pace the Dirty Bird over the long haul. Alex Morono by decision
Chris: I’m sorry Alex, the coin says Tim but my heart says go for the fellow dad-bod.
Staff picking Means: Dayne, Chris, Jack, Eddie
Staff picking Morono: Bissell, Lucas, Kristen, Victor, Stephie, Zane, Anton
Matt Brown vs. Court McGee
Anton: 42 year old vs. 38 year old. This probably won’t be pretty, but I’m really glad they’re not just being fed to young killers. Court McGee by decision.
Zane: Both Brown and McGee have a lot of city miles on them at this point. They’re the quintessential old-school scrappers who have stuck to their game through hell and high water, making patient improvements and always fighting their hearts out. It sucks that one of them has to lose. Brown’s far more dangerous as a puncher, but…
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Dayne is back on top after a 50% record last week, taking back his one pick lead over Eddie. They both need to look out, though, Anton is quickly gaining on them, picking up two picks over the leader thanks to a staff leading 8-4 record at UFC 288. Let’s see whose on top after tonight’s UFC fight night card.
|Position||Staffer||Correct||Incorrect||Total Picks||%||Picks Back||Week 14 Record|
|11 (-)||BE Community||49||46||95||0.516||61||5-6|
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