The BE team has made its predictions for UFC Rio Rancho and…oh wow, we all picked Corey Anderson over Jan Blachowicz in the main event. He did dominate the last time they fought, but I figured it would’ve been a bit closer than that for our rematch predictions. The BE curse is officially on watch. As for the co-main, most of us have Diego Sanchez taking care of the chaotic Michel Pereira.
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 Phil Mackenzie 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.
Note 2: An error was made in the staff predictions document that led to Casey Kenney vs. Merab Dvalishvili not being picked, and it was not spotted until it was too late. We apologize for leaving this fight off the post, but you can still hear the analysis in the prelims Vivisection, or in Dayne Fox’s preview.
Corey Anderson vs. Jan Blachowicz
Mookie Alexander: Wow, we’re all picking Anderson? I don’t know about that. Blachowicz has power and I still do not fully trust Corey’s chin as having fixed itself. With that said, Anderson’s ability to pressure and phase-shift much better than in previous years has me thinking this is still a favorable matchup for him. Blachowicz’s cardio is not a serious issue anymore but if Anderson can grind him out and put a pace on him, that problem may resurface. Anderson is likely to be the busier fighter of the two so if Blachowicz can’t stop Corey, then this is Anderson’s to lose. Corey Anderson by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: Jan’s confidence in his jab, his improved cardio, and his power punching off the back foot all give him a more solid chance here. But to go with that is the fact that Anderson is a much more confident pressure fighter than ever, with better defensive movement and spatial awareness. If Blachowicz is going to fight this whole fight off the cage, and not be a fantastic one-shot finishing threat, I just don’t think he can land enough volume to get judges to give him the win. Corey Anderson by decision.
Victor Rodriguez: This just feels like a choice between whom you trust the least. Jan’s the steadier hand with his takedown defense and disciplined striking, sure, but Corey’s got his range, wrestling and athleticism. Anderson’s win over Johnny Walker doesn’t tell us much since it was over quick and was against an opponent that hadn’t been bullied and pressured like that, and running in against Jan will have him eating a straight and having dreams of Kamen Rider episodes dubbed in Greek. I can’t shake the thought of a lot of sweaty hugging in this one with some reversals against the cage, and despite knowing better I’ve got some renewed faith in Anderson’s work with Mark Henry and the Almeida/Catone collective in Jersey. Anderson should be busier and outwork Blachowicz with volume. Corey Anderson by decision.
Staff picking Anderson: Ed, Zane, Dayne, Shak, Alex, Stephie, Victor, Mookie
Staff picking Blachowicz:
Diego Sanchez vs. Michel Pereira
Zane Simon: Sanchez either gets melted in 15 seconds or wins a decision. I dunno, given how willing Pereira was to play a terrible guard game against Tristan Connelly, I’ll take the Sanchez side. Diego Sanchez by decision.
Mookie Alexander: Sanchez either wins a decision/stops an exhausted Pereira, or he gets knocked out early by some really heavy shot that he can no longer just absorb without issue. So uh… yeah, I cannot confidently pick Diego to beat damn near anyone in 2020. Michel Pereira by TKO, round 1.
Phil Mackenzie: I maintain, against a reasonably united and moral consensus, that one of the only acceptable options for aging fighters is over the top meme fights where they can get annihilated in comical ways. As such, this is one of the rare bouts which cannot fail to be funny. Either Pereira blows Diego out of the water with a 180 somersaulting bicycle kick or he gets humiliatingly outwrestled, and both options will be hilarious. Diego has basically been winning against wrestlers who willingly grapple with him, and has looked fragile and awful otherwise. Pereira has landed serious offense on both the people he has fought in the UFC so far so… it’s 180 somersaulting bicycle kick time! Michel Pereira by TKO, round 1.
Victor Rodriguez: Look, I love me some Michel Pereira, but no. Let him wear himself out with the flippity-spinny stuff and he’s not gonna do so great. His cardio is suspect, Diego’s is otherworldly. Sanchez isn’t fighting elite guys in 2020, so it’s a matter of two different kinds of crazy facing off except one is reckless with doing Tekken theatrics while the other throws with reckless abandon and has a guru with no MMA experience in his corner for some goddamn reason. Diego Sanchez by ground strikes.
Staff picking Sanchez: Ed, Zane, Dayne, Shak, Alex, Victor
Staff picking Pereira: Phil, Stephie, Mookie
Rogerio Bontorin vs. Ray Borg
Mookie Alexander: A great fight between someone who cannot make weight consistently and an opponent who has been fasting all week just to make weight (which he did). This should be an optimal fight we see on Saturday. I still think Borg can control and outgrapple Bontorin but if this stays standing then I think Borg may be in for a long night. Ray Borg by unanimous decision.
Victor Rodriguez: Borg struggles to make weight and hasn’t been pressured to move up, but Bontorin literally doing a water fast? That’s a no for me, dawg. Especially not against a wrestler than turn corners and pressure consistently. Ray Borg by decision.
Staff picking Bontorin: Ed, Zane, Alex, Stephie
Staff picking Borg: Dayne, Shak, Mookie, Victor, Phil
Montana De La Rosa vs. Mara Romero Borella
Mookie Alexander: De La Rosa isn’t the stronger fighter but she’s the better fighter. I don’t really see anything impressive about Borella to suggest she’ll be in the UFC much longer. Montana De La Rosa by submission, round 2.
Zane Simon: Borella fights more consistently behind low-powered combinations, while De La Rosa is the better finishing threat. Still, without a physical edge, I’m not sure De La Rosa can find the finish. Mara Romero Borella by decision.
Victor Rodriguez: Mara can shine against strikers, but de la Rosa is a standout wrestler that really knows how to keep and maximize that top control. It’s a matter of time before she makes that happen. Montana de la Rosa by decision.
Staff picking De La Rosa: Ed, Dayne, Shak, Stephie, Mookie, Victor
Staff picking Borella: Zane, Phil, Alex
Brok Weaver vs. Kazula Vargas
Mookie Alexander: These names are clearly made up so I’ll make up my pick too. Brok Weaver by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: Weaver likes to clinch too much and doesn’t defend takedowns well, but he’s tough as hell and loves to scrap. Vargas seems like a guy who’s used to intimidating opponents to give him more space and time than they should. I doubt Weaver plays that game. Brok Weaver via TKO, round 2.
Victor Rodriguez: Weaver got farm strength, but he’s not much more polished than that. He’s fun, and I love the kid. But I’m gonna keep my personal bias alive and root for my boy Kazula by having better striking overall. Kazula Vargas by TKO.
Staff picking Weaver: Ed, Zane, Phil, Dayne, Shak, Stephie, Mookie
Staff picking Vargas: Alex, Victor
Lando Vannata vs. Yancy Medeiros
Mookie Alexander: Medeiros is a wild man and it appears as if that’s catching up to him. Neither of these fighters is known for defense so we should expect someone to be knocked out. Vannata has never been knocked out, whereas the punishment that Medeiros has been taking is reason to be concerned that he’ll get caught by one of Lando’s spinning attacks and put to sleep. Lando Vannata by KO, round 1.
Zane Simon: I just don’t have faith that Medeiros has either the defense or the durability anymore to fight the kind of fight he loves. Vannata may not have great defense, and I’m not sure his confidence in his game hasn’t been badly shaken. But the durability and potential for creativity are still there. Lando Vannata by TKO, Round 1.
Victor Rodriguez: Yeesh. Yancy can scrap, but his tendency to get sloppy won’t help him. I’m going with Lando here. Lando Vannata by TKO.
Staff picking Vannata: Ed, Zane, Shak, Stephie, Mookie, Victor
Staff picking Medeiros: Phil, Dayne, Alex
Tim Means vs. Daniel Rodriguez
Mookie Alexander: It’s a Tim Means fight. I’ll always watch him. Tim Means by whatever he wants.
Victor Rodriguez: Tim Means is such a threat everywhere, but he might get trucked by Rodriguez. Problem is that he’s also a slower starter and might be thrown off by level changes and Means’ phase-shifting. Tim Means by submission.
Staff picking Means: Ed, Zane, Phil, Dayne, Shak, Stephie, Mookie, Victor
Staff picking Rodriguez: Alex
John Dodson vs. Nathaniel Wood
Mookie Alexander: Dodson just gives away too many rounds off of sheer inactivity for someone who has quality offensive tools. What gives me pause is the high chance of screwy judging in New Mexico, but otherwise I’m sold on Wood’s upside as a future contender. Nathaniel Wood by unanimous decision.
Victor Rodriguez: Not saying that Dodson is shot or anything. Wood just has that much upside and really can make an impact here. Nathaniel Wood by decision.
Staff picking Dodson: Dayne, Shak
Staff picking Wood: Ed, Zane, Phil, Alex, Stephie, Mookie, Victor
Jim Miller vs. Scott Holtzman
Mookie Alexander: This is a tough fight to pick. Miller has never fought in high elevation and while he seems to have his Lyme Disease under control, at his age and with his number of hours logged just in actual cage time he might just fade out of this one after starting quickly. Problem is, we saw Holtzman fade out of the Nik Lentz fight down in Arizona and Miller is much more potent than Nik. It’s conceivable that Holtzman tags Miller hard and never lets up, but I can see Miller winning against Scott in similar fashion to Nik’s victory. Jim Miller by unanimous decision.
Staff picking Miller: Dayne, Alex, Stephie, Mookie, Mookie, Victor
Staff picking Holtzman: Ed, Zane, Shak
Devin Clark vs. Dequan Townsend
Mookie Alexander: Townsend isn’t a UFC level fighter. Devin Clark by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: I said it against Bevon Lewis and I think it’ll be even more true here. Townsend just doesn’t seem like he has the physicality to compete at this level. Clark may not have a huge depth of skill, but he’s got the physical tools. Devin Clark by decision.
Staff picking Clark: Zane, Phil, Dayne, Shak, Alex, Stephie, Victor
Staff picking Townsend: Ed
Macy Chiasson vs. Shanna Young
Mookie Alexander: I’d have gone with Nicco Montano to beat Macy Chiasson had they fought, but this late replacement means it should be heavily in Macy’s favor. Macy Chiasson by unanimous decision.
Victor Rodriguez: Macy’s raw, but Young is inexperienced. Shanna’s gonna give her some scares, but Chiasson’s pressure should win the day here. Macy Chiasson by decision.
Staff picking Chiasson: Ed, Zane, Dayne, Shak, Alex, Stephie, Victor, Phil
Staff picking Young:
Mark De La Rosa vs. Raulian Paiva
Mookie Alexander: Good news, these two flyweights are ranked. Bad news, so are literally all the other flyweights, so these are the lowest ranked flyweights on the roster! Mark De La Rosa by submission, round 2.
Victor Rodriguez: Bumblebee’s got underappreciated boxing and excellent wrestling. Plus, he’s fighting smarter with each outing. Paiva’s good, but he’s not equipped for this. Mark de la Rosa by submission.
Staff picking De La Rosa: Shak, Stephie, Phil, Mookie
Staff picking Paiva: Ed, Zane, Dayne, Alex
Who do you think should win?
116 votes total