UFC 231: Holloway vs. Ortega picks up staff and predictions


The Bloody Elbow team presented their predictions for UFC 231, and while everyone who wrote took Max Holloway over Brian Ortega, the general opinion is quite divided. As for the co-main event, again things are divided as to who will prevail between Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Valentina Shevchenko. It's good to have title fights like that, is not it?

Note: The forecasts are inserted throughout the week and collected the day before the event. The explanations behind each choice are not necessary and some writers choose not to do so for their own reasons. For example, if Phil Mackenzie came in with all his predictions on Wednesday without adding any explanation, he has no idea if he will be the one standing on the side of a fighter in any fight.

Max Holloway vs Brian Ortega

Anton Tabuena: This is very straightforward to me. Except for any strange health problems, Max Holloway must go through Ortega completely here. Holloway is just better and far more dangerous than all the other people Ortega has won. Obviously this is still MMA and Ortega has shown that he has decent power but he definitely will not separate someone as technically proficient as Holloway. I think this is going to look a lot like Ortega's previous fights, but he's going to take a much worse beating and will not be able to guarantee that miracle return. Max Holloway for TKO.

Mookie Alexander: There is a level of unsustainability for Ortega's love for finishing the fights in the winning rounds, and Holloway is a winner of the master round. Obviously, I'm assuming we're getting the best version of Max Holloway, so that's the key here. Ortega has grown tremendously as an attacker, but so far, Holloway has shown a ridiculous chin and is probably not the person with whom you want to get involved in a fast-paced fight. Ortega loves the bouncing guillotine, I suspect Holloway is ready for it, and he's a good grappler by himself. Felling is unlikely on both sides, and Ortega in particular proved to be not particularly good at knocking down his opponents in the first place. While Ortega is extremely dangerous based on what we've seen of him in recent fights, I still rely on Holloway to do more damage and avoid Ortega's classic comeback. Max Holloway by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: Ortega's fight against Frankie Edgar was a kind of revelation. It was always tricky, always dangerous, but this was the first time his striking style – built around much softer and often lacking fundamental movements – seemed like a complete game. He worked behind the jab, finicky, took out predictable answers and changed his entrances to Frankie's club in unconsciousness. It was very beautiful. It also means that it is difficult to say how much Ortega can be improved now. Without seeing more variety and consistency in their game, and without seeing the ability to keep production in several difficult rounds, I have to choose Holloway. His ability to push a pace and then increase pace while his opponents tire, his ability to change targets in combination and open new combinations before, simpler, are not abilities that Ortega has shown yet. And Ortega still has a history of losing rounds in which he did not finish the fight. Even with Max's health scare, most of the questions are on Ortega's side and most of the answers are in Holloway. Max Holloway by decision.

Victor Rodriguez: Neither will try to overthrow the other, and Holloway's deciding game is deadly. Having said that, Ortega is a guy I told in so many fights, I feel stupid trying against him. He must have a handicap reach and the frantic pace of Max must make it difficult for him because of the volume, but Ortega is not very hit and seems to continue finding ways to get a rabbit out of his hat. I still want to choose Ortega by diving into a flying armlock for a decisive situation, but that's a bit unwise even for me. And while I'm still worried that we still do not know what health problems Holloway had the last time, it seems like the guy who uses the damage well and has a more complete and composite approach to his attacks should be able to take as the fight continues and apply pressure accordingly. Max Holloway by decision.

Holloway Staff Selection: Mookie, Anton, Phil, Stephie, Zane, Victor
Team Choosing Ortega: Bissell, Nick, Harry, Dayne, Fraser

Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Valentina Shevchenko

Anton Tabuena: Even if you do not put a lot of weight on all the victories that Shevchenko had over Joanna in Muay Thai, it's still very difficult not to pick Valentina here. They know what the other brings to the table, and they are likely to still hold that position for most of the time. They are both very technical strikers but Shevchenko is bigger and has dealt with stronger hitters while Joanna relatively takes much heavier shots and is more often successful. While Shevchenko is not really a great KO player, minor fighters with a similar reputation have hurt and knocked Joanna down, who looks a little tired already. Valentina Shevchenko by TKO.

Mookie Alexander: I feel that Shevchenko's reputation exceeds his actual cage results. She clearly lost to Amanda Nunes for the first time, but I think most remember the final round. Even with the dominant win against Holly Holm she suffered an early knockdown. As incredible as Pena's victory was, Nunes's rematch was terrible and she has to blame herself for not getting the nod. Priscila Cachoeira was a crude denouement and undoubtedly has no influence on how a fight with Joanna would unfold. I feel the best way to defeat Jedrzejczyk in an MMA fight, or at least be competitive, is to match his volume and pace. At least in straw weight, we have seen Joanna's fall defense as exemplary, and Shevchenko relies heavily on conquests to bring down people, and Joanna is not easy to handle. Shevchenko is also not a fantastic finalist or a powerful striker, and her consistent lack of momentum and the willingness to fight almost all the time can give Joanna a good chance. The best scenario for Shevchenko is that she is strong, fast and athletic enough to work Joanna, and has the power to hurt her feet or dominate her on the ground. I do not think that happens. Joanna Jedrzejczyk by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: I'm not picking up what people are putting on Valentina Shevchenko. She is careful, technique and much better fighter than the standard of her division. But she's still a very simplistic and crazy fighter right now who does not look so comfortable playing in combination at a distance and uses the clinch and takedowns as a safety valve against prolonged pocket changes. In Joanna's worst round against Rose in her rematch, she got more hits than Shevchenko did at his best against Holm. She has an exceptional withdrawal defense and Shevchenko is more of a fall threat than anything else. Without any consistent threat of Shevchenko's KO, the bet would have to be that she is so monstrously powerful that she manipulates Joanna and either messes with her or hurts her consistently. I do not see that. It is not just who Shevchenko went. Joanna Jedrzejczyk by decision.

Victor Rodriguez: To begin with, do not put much value in your previous struggles. It was in another setting, and it has been ages ago. Second, I have to agree with Zane (yuck) – Joanna's combinations and volume are more favorable to judges. Joanna has a better feeling of combining her kicks in the legs and punches to slow down the valentina, and adequate defense for Valentina's style of attack. Not that there is no depth in Valentina's game, it is not so varied. Playing the counterattack against Joanna may be more risky these days than when they fought years ago. Joanna Jedrzejczyk by decision.

Team choosing Jedrzejczyk: Dayne, Mookie, Stephie, Zane, Victor
Shevchenko staff selection: Bissell, Nick, Harry, Anton, Phil, Fraser

Alex Oliveira vs Gunnar Nelson

Mookie Alexander: Oliveira is frighteningly strong, absurdly powerful, and can easily hurt Nelson's chin, knowing how bad is Gunni's impressive defense. The thing is that Oliveira's impressive defense is somehow worse, and this opens the door for Nelson to potentially repeat to Oliveira what he did with Alan Jouban. If this becomes a fight, Nelson is screwed because he is simply disarmed. However, as strong as Oliveira is, he is not overcoming Nelson, and Gunnar is cunning enough to figure out how to put it on the mat (assuming he is not a shadow of himself after a long dispensation). Call hard, but I go with Gunnar Nelson by finals, round 2.

Phil Mackenzie: One of the things about being a murderous threat of attack for submission is that it is something difficult to solve with pure athleticism. Cowboy Oliveira has built for himself a larger game over time, with more downs and submarines, but it is still very difficult and ready, and usually depends on him physically dominating the opponent. The other Cowboy took him down and patted him without much trouble, and although it seems unlikely that Nelson could make a decision against him, I do not think I trust Oliveira to leave the first round without having a club – sbbed. Gunnar Nelson by finals, round 1.

Zane Simon: No guy is a defensive master standing, and the two are dangerous punchers. But they were also hard to hurt in general. The big difference is all about grappling, especially that Oliveira can not stop himself from doing it, and that Nelson is much better at it than the Brazilian "Cowboy." At some point, he feels quite certain that this fight reaches the ground, either because Oliveira decides to try or because he relies on a place where Nelson can knock him down. And when that happens, I have to Gunnar Nelson by submission, Round 2.

Victor Rodriguez: Cowboy is another guy I kind of am "meh," but he certainly became a force at age 170. Nelson is an out-of-the-world grappler, but fights begin on foot. I have to stay on the side of the guy who has a Muay Thai base over the Karate-based striker 9 times out of 10, and the Brazilian Cowboy has enough gunpowder to turn off the lights on Gunnar. Cowboy Oliveira by TKO.

Selection of staff Oliveira: Bissell, Nick, Harry, Dayne, Anton, Stephie, Victor
Nelson Staff Selection: Mookie, Phil, Zane, Fraser

Hakeem Dawodu vs Kyle Bochniak

Mookie Alexander: Going with the choice upset here. It's still hard to read about Dawodu's prospects at UFC, given the shocking loss of debut and the beautiful win over Austin Arnett. Bochniak is a good step up incompetition and he showed insane resistance against Zabit Magomedsharipov and became more competitive than many imagined. I like Bochniak's best-organized game to win here. Kyle Bochniak by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: Dawodu is undoubtedly a more technical striker than Bochniak, and I'm not sure if Bochniak has the pure wrestling to take down Dawodu and keep him there. But I'm still choosing Bochniak to win. The Bostonian showed surprising tactical awareness in their recent fights. One that let him win a solid win over Brandon Davis and make his fight with Zabit Magomedsharipov a shockingly close war. He pressed when he needed pressure, he stuck and moved and marijuana when he needed to do that. And he proved that he was tough to hurt along the way. Dawodu, on the other hand, showed a worrying tendency to rely on smooth movements and counter-punches in situations where more caution would probably serve him better. He has a bad habit of trying to hit very difficult counters without the notion of how fast or strong his opponent is. Against the rather anemic Austin Arnett, it worked well. Against a wildly aggressive Danny Henry, this immediately led him to a club. If Bochniak comes out fast and stay in Dawodu and maybe even eat some counterattacks, I think he can hit the shots to push him away. Kyle Bochniak by TKO, Round 1.

Phil Mackenzie: I have to mirror Zane's thoughts here. The thing that impressed Bochiak most recently is his ability to adjust his game to his opponent: fight with aggression against Magomedsharipov and against Davis, a bit annoying. This seems to be another in which Bochniak will try to lure the aggressive striker into the falls. Kyle Bochniak by unanimous decision.

Victor Rodriguez: I'm disappointed because after all this time I really wanted Dawodu to come to the UFC, he's having a fight like that against a guy who is a very robust wrestleboxer with good IQ fighting. I go with the sentimental choice, not because I do not like Bochniak, but because I believe in Hakeem. Hakeem Dawodu by TKO.

Dawodu Staff Selection: Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Victor
People choosing Bochniak: Harry, Mookie, Stephie, Zane, Phil, Fraser

Jimi Manuwa vs Thiago Santos

Mookie Alexander: Manuwa is a glass cannon that was physically refused. Santos is a glass cannon with a better and more powerful blow and can finally be in its ideal weight category. I think the Saints hurt Manuwa first and then it's a draw from there. Thiago Santos by KO head kick, round 1.

Phil Mackenzie: That should be a lot of fun. Jimi Manuwa looked a bit like he's been downsloping lately: he never had the biggest chin or the fastest footspeed, but Blachowicz's fight showed two men on very different trajectories. Santos is equally frail, but again he seems to have found his weight class. In particular, he looked impressively relentless against Kevin Holland. Rhythm, youth, coming from a better division, Thiago Santos by TKO, round 1.

Zane Simon: Santos is more dynamic and unpredictable in medium distances, where Manuwa tends to wait for opponents. And he is more prone to sway in his pocket than to look for ways to break action and redefine. Without one of the men being a truly dominant wrestler or grappler, that is enough for me to choose the Saints. But if Manuwa can stay in your face and throw punches in his pocket, Santos's chin will be there. Thiago Santos via KO round 1.

Victor Rodriguez: So, Manuwa has the power to put Santos out, but he needs to land first. E Santos has a more diversified base and better hand speed. If Anders could not finish Santos in this absolute war, I do not know what Jimi is like. Not that he can not, it's going to be a rough day at the office for him. Sticking to the worse of the two. Thiago Santos by TKO.

Staff choosing Manuwa:
Staff choosing Santos: Bissell, Nick, Harry, Dayne, Mookie, Anton, Phil, Stephie, Zane, Fraser, Victor

Claudia Gadelha vs. Nina Ansaroff

Mookie AlexanderSomething tells me that we are watching the end of Gadelha's cousin, but not to the point where I think she will be overcome and unable to overcome or overcome Ansaroff. Nina has shown some significant breakthroughs in her game, but Gadelha is still the most complete fighter and is likely to be more effective offensively. Claudia Gadelha by unanimous decision.

Phil Mackenzie: A complicated one. Gadelha has not inspired confidence lately, and meanwhile, Ansaroff is getting better and better. With that being said, Ansaroff is still very happy playing guard for my liking, and Gadelha remains one of the best players to fall and best position in the division. Claudia Gadelha by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: Gadelha's gas tank is a concern, as is his tendency to jump to the swinging pocket wide. But while she obviously improved, Ansaroff still tends to panic with falls, especially at the start of the fights. If Gadelha can take her down and retrieve her early, she may most likely pick up his neck as well. Claudia Gadelha for submission round 1.

Victor Rodriguez: Ansaroff hit a difficult spot and went around to make a 3-2 UFC win, and deserves recognition for his improvements. She is still facing one of the few who can be considered elite in her division with good strikes and fights. This holds true for the more tested in battle of the two. Claudia Gadelha by TKO, round 2.

Staff picking Gadelha: Bissell, Nick, Harry, Dayne, Mookie, Anton, Phil, Stephie, Zane, Fraser, Victor
People choosing Ansaroff:

Katlyn Chookagian vs. Jessica Eye

Mookie AlexanderHUT HUT. Katlyn Chookagian by split decision.

Phil Mackenzie: Jessica Eye won two straight bouts and, in fact, looked like a seasoned veteran in her fight with her colleague Jess. This fight will be close and probably will not be very good, since the Eye will have higher quality shots and the Chookagian will land (and release) more. Katlyn Chookagian by split decision.

Zane Simon: Eye can win this fight. She looks like the strongest fighter and has great technique flashes. But everything comes in flashes for her and she often seems to get excessively locked into specific parts of a fight without seeing the whole thing. Neither Chookagian nor Eye have been so dominant in recent victories, but with Chookagian I feel I know exactly what she will do every round and how and why. Mostly involves many volume and jab-cross combos. If Eye can not consistently disrupt this, I can not get it to win. Katlyn Chookagian by decision.

Victor Rodriguez: Despite all the praise that Eye used to get for his boxing, I never really saw it. She is good with the volume and descends from her opponent, but Chookagian has some good kickboxing tricks up her sleeve with a measured counterpoint. The eye has a tendency to try to fight and rely on its physical attributes, but Katlyn is the whole deal. We'll probably see another WMMA showcase due to the disparity of striking styles, and that can be a lot of fun. Katlyn Chookagian by decision.

Team Chookagian: Nick, Harry, Dayne, Mookie, Anton, Stephie, Zane, Fraser, Victor
Personal Selection Eye: Bissell

Eryk Anders vs Elias Theodorou

Phil Mackenzie: Another fight that is probably more "interesting" than is likely to be "good." Eryk Anders seemed a bit confused by the weirdness of Tim Williams in his last fight so there is a great chance Theodorou could dance around him and kick and generally try to put rounds on the bench as sparring sessions. Having said that, Anders has achieved a very competitive range of kickboxing with Lyoto Machida, so I have a small amount of faith in him to win against a conservative and ugly distance style. Eryk Anders by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: You really are not happy to choose this fight. It seems insanely difficult to see easy victory for any of the fighters. Theodorou has all the advantages in volume, but Anders has all the advantages in power. I also worry about Theodorou's overwhelming victory over Trevor Smith. It seemed the hardest way to fight Smith, even if he ended up on the right side. If he decides to face Anders in an action fight, Anders is a powerful counterattack to the kind of attack Theodorou likes to play. On the other hand, I think Tim Williams could have won Anders if he had been conscious for a few more seconds. I just do not trust Anders' lack of volume and a "near win" against Lyoto Machida is starting to look more and more like a blow to Machida's grave lack of volume these days than as Anders being a super immediate prospect. . Assuming Theodorou remains elusive and kicks a lot, Elias Theodorou by decision.

Victor Rodriguez: Anders's approach seems something that Theodorou can explore. It's not easy, but at least with a fair amount of range attacks and withdrawal defense leading to opportunities for conquest. Elias's cardio is also a great asset here, and his experience should prepare him to face a guy like Anders. It's hard to be 100% confident in picking a guy and yet it seems that Theodorou and his team can plan this and be more successful than Anders getting in the way. Elias Theodorou by decision.

Team picking Anders: Nick, Harry, Mookie, Stephie, Fraser
Selection of Theodorou employees: Bissell, Dayne, Anton, Zane, Victor

Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Gilbert Burns

Phil Mackenzie: It must be really fun. I'm not sure how much I rely on OAM to win in a fight where it's not the top grappler. Did I really think he's going to outbox Burns for three rounds? Even if he is in trouble, Burns will still advance by throwing hard shots. I still remember Carlos Diego Ferreira fighting, where I chose OAM just to remind me of the difference between a good MMA fighter and a good MMA fighter, and Burns is a lot better than Ferreira on the mat. Gilbert Burns by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: Another fight I'm not finding an easy choice. OAM, until today, is the hardest fighter that Burns, and the best fighter. That alone makes me feel as if he could do what the Pleasures did just to torment him and turn him on. But otherwise, Burns is just a more talented fighter than the OAM. OAM has some decent standing time, but their unstable form and lack of combinations have left them without much KO threat, and their ability to go back and play outside their game is troubling. If Burns can keep pressure on OAM, can OAM KO? And if he can not KO it, can he safely take it down and stay out of submissions? My guess is not for both. Gilbert Burns by decision.

Victor Rodriguez: Are you going to ask me to catch Durinho so close to Christmas? No son. Gilbert Burns for submission.

Team Choosing OAM: Bissell, Harry, Dayne, Anton, Stephie, Fraser
Staff Selection Burns: Nick, Phil, Zane, Victor, Mookie

Brad Katona vs Matthew Lopez

Phil Mackenzie: Brad Katona looks reasonably well-rounded, but this tends to be a problem when you're leaving the EU's regional setting. Lopez losing to quality coaches like Asuncion and Perez may have obscured how he is still an aggressive athlete with a strong base of wrestling. Matthew Lopez by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: I'm not impressed with the latest TUF classes. Katona, at least, seems like a very good athlete, but she's okay at all without being great at anything. And this is especially troubling as he is also a low-volume striker and is not working with a remarkable camp for his fantastic technical development. Lopez is wild, to the point of being a defect, but he is a great wrestler and back-take artist, and a very aggressive striker. Maybe he makes a big mistake and Katona jumps into him. Maybe he disappears a lot and Katona wins late. But I think Lopez comes out strong early and makes a statement. And I do not trust Katona to take depth in his game to fight his way back to a win. Matthew Lopez by decision.

Team Choosing Katona: Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Mookie, Anton, Stephie, Fraser
Selection of Lopez employees: Harry, Phil, Zane, Victor

Devin Clark vs Aleksandar Rakic

Phil Mackenzie: Together with Reyes, Rakic ​​is The Perspective on Light Heavyweight, and frankly it looks like it might even be … a little better than Reyes? Heresy, maybe, but he has high volume functional kickboxing, and is a willing and able wrestler. Clark is athletic and is slowly improving, but unless he manages to bring him down, I do not know how he beat this one. Aleksandar Rakic ​​by finals, round 3.

Zane Simon: For all the harder fights to choose from, this one seems very easy. Clark is big and strong but prone to gas and does not have much clean technique anywhere (as shown when a bulldog is choked). Rakic ​​is the best striker and seems to be an equal fighter and grappler with a much calmer, controlled and persistent style. Aleksandar Rakic ​​via TKO, round 2.

Team Choosing Clark: Harry
Team picking Rakic: Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Mookie, Anton, Stephie, Phil, Zane, Fraser, Victor

Chad Laprise Vs. Dhiego Lima

Mookie AlexanderLima's bad chin and lack of defense in the fall are a recipe for disaster against someone like the Laprise. Chad Laprise for TKO, round 1.

Phil Mackenzie: Dhiego is not his brother because he has all Douglas's failures (fall defense) and a lot of others, especially papier mache chin and less general dynamism. Chad Laprise for TKO, round 2.

Zane Simon: I do not know, Lima does not seem very good at this, at least not at that level. Chad Laprise via decision.

People choosing Laprise: Nick, Dayne, Mookie, Anton, Stephie, Phil, Zane, Fraser, Victor
Selection of employees Lima: Bissell, Harry

Kyle Nelson vs Diego Ferreira

Phil Mackenzie: Nelson is entering a very short time frame. He is a tall, slender attacker who likes to stay mobile and hit falls while relying on his endurance to insulate him from the return fire. Somewhere between Neil Magny and James Vick, basically, but not as well as any of them. Ferreira is not indecisive and a little wild, but he has good enough instincts to knock Nelson off as he tries to turn around and attack. Carlos Diego Ferreira by finalization, round 1.

Zane Simon: Ferreira's combination of relentless aggressiveness and high level grappling makes him a very difficult opponent to prepare, especially in the short term. And doubly for a somewhat classic wrestle boxer who tends to throw himself in his pocket (and on approaching strikes). Carlos Diego Ferreira via sub, round 1.

Staff choosing Nelson:
Staff Selection Ferreira: Bissell, Nick, Harry, Dayne, Mookie, Anton, Stephie, Phil, Zane, Fraser, Victor

About Me

Who wins the two title fights?

  • 42%

    Holloway and Shevchenko

    (61 votes)

  • 25%

    Holloway and Jedrzejczyk

    (37 votes)

  • 20%

    Ortega and Shevchenko

    (30 votes)

  • 11%

    Ortega and Jedrzejczyk

    (16 votes)

  • 0%

    Shevchenko-Jedrzejczyk finishes in NC or Draw, keeping the belt vacant

    (1 vote)

145 votes in total

Vote now


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