Check out the Bloody Elbow staff’s picks and predictions for Saturday’s UFC Fight Night: Pettis vs. Moreno card in Mexico City, Mexico.
The Bloody Elbow staff has submitted its predictions for UFC Fight Night: Pettis vs. Moreno, and we’re pretty split on who will win the main event between Sergio Pettis and Brandon Moreno. Ditto for the co-main event, which features Alexa Grasso (who missed weight) against Randa Markos. We’re not particularly enthused about this card, either.
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.
Sergio Pettis vs. Brandon Moreno
Mookie Alexander: Sergio is a very technically sound fighter and he’s showing more confidence in his striking than early in his career. Moreno has got a bit of a Ricardo Lamas feel to him in the sense that once he has someone in trouble he won’t let him off the hook. That win over Ortiz was frankly astonishing, both in hurting Ortiz in the first place and then choking him out. I feel like Pettis is going to outstrike Moreno and get off to a good start in the first round or two, but Moreno will create one opportunity for himself and submit Pettis with a rear-naked choke. Brandon Moreno by submission, round 3.
Tim Burke: I still can’t believe how far Moreno has come in such a short time. Pettis is a solid test though, and I think he’s going to stay at the end of his striking for way too long. Sergio Pettis by decision.
Staff picking Pettis: Bissell, Eddie, Tim
Staff picking Moreno: Nick, Phil, Stephie, Mookie
Alexa Grasso vs. Randa Markos
Mookie Alexander: Well Grasso missed weight, so bad sign already. That Herrig fight was staggeringly bad by Grasso. She seems like a fighter who does things my rote and can’t make proper adjustments, which I view as a sign she needs to be at a bigger camp, because I think she’s a very talented striker. Markos is a fringe contender/gatekeeper type of opponent whose win over Carla Esparza is definitely a top moment for her. Grasso is still substantially better in the stand-up, but I think Markos is capable of giving the Mexican fits on the ground. I’m picking the upset. Randa Markos by unanimous decision.
Tim Burke: I don’t like picking against Canadians, but Alexa Grasso is great. She’s also still young though, and Mookie is right about her needing to join a bigger camp to continue improving. Nonetheless, I think she handily gets the best of Markos here. Alexa Grasso by decision.
Staff picking Grasso: Bissell, Phil, Eddie, Tim
Staff picking Markos: Nick, Stephie, Mookie
Alan Jouban vs. Niko Price
Mookie Alexander: Interesting fight that’s by no means a gimme for Jouban. Price is a good athlete and obviously he can crack, which is a concern for the hittable Jouban. That said, price doesn’t really fit the mold of a guy who historically gives Jouban fits. Remember that he’s a couple of fights removed from largely shutting down Mike Perry’s vaunted offensive attack. This is my Fight of the Night choice, as Jouban outstrikes Price and wins at range on his way to a stoppage win. Alan Jouban by TKO, round 2.
Phil Mackenzie: Price is a natural talent who clearly “gets” fighting, and gets better every time out. Facing a bit of a glass cannon like Jouban, that can be a tricky thing to pick against. However, although Jouban is hittable, it’s hard to say that Price has been less so (getting dropped by Morono!), it’s simply that he hasn’t been fighting the kind of dynamic threats that could really hurt him for it like Jouban has. In a midrange kickboxing bout, I still think I like Jouban’s body kick and counter hook to get it done. Alan Jouban by TKO, round 2.
Tim Burke: I predict that two guys will get hit on the chin way too many times, one will fall down, and the other will ride in the ambulancia with him to el hospital. Alan Jouban by TKO, round 3.
Staff picking Jouban: Nick, Mookie, Eddie, Phil, Tim
Staff picking Price: Bissell, Stephie
Humberto Bandenay vs. Martin Bravo
Mookie Alexander: I vaguely remember Bravo stopping Claudio Puelles with a body shot TKO. That was pretty cool. I legitimately have no idea who Bandenay is. It’s actually sad that Rashad Evans is below these two on the bout order of a thoroughly underwhelming event. The lack of input from the staff gives away our interest in this card, especially after such a strong July. Martin “Johnny” Bravo by KO, round 1.
Tim Burke: Who? Are they letting poker players fight in the Octagon now? Martin Bravo by submission (headlock), round 1
Staff picking Bandenay:
Staff picking Bravo: Bissell, Nick, Stephie, Mookie, Phil, Tim
Sam Alvey vs. Rashad Evans
Mookie Alexander: So uh… Sam Alvey by unanimous decision.
Phil Mackenzie: DID YOU LOVE watching Tyron Woodley waiting for a right hand a lot against Demian Maia? DID YOU WISH you could get that kind of action more often? Then THIS HERE, is the fight for you. Suga Rashad “waiting to land a counter right hand from orthodox” Evans TAKES ON Smilin’ Sam “waiting to land a counter right hand from southpaw” Alvey, and the one thing you know for sure is that THERE. WILL. BE. WAITING. TO LAND. COUNTER. RIGHT. HAAAAAAAANDS. This Saturday! Mexico City! Waiting for right hands! WATCH IT. or, like, don’t. Sam Alvey by unanimous decision.
Tim Burke: This could seriously be one of the most boring fights of all time. Rashad playing pattycake with a guy who smiles like a creepy clown for 15 loooong minutes. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. There’s a poker player named Humberto fighting ABOVE Rashad on this card. Yikes. What’s next? Where’s Elvis Sinocic? Can Rashad hang with The King of Rock N’ Rumble? How about Jonathan Goulet? Jason Reinhardt? Sam Alvey by decision.
Staff picking Alvey: Bissell, Phil, Mookie, Tim
Staff picking Evans: Nick, Stephie
Alejandro Perez vs. Andre Soukhamthath
Mookie Alexander: I think Soukhamthath will show more in his second UFC fight than he did in his debut. He was really taking it to Albert Morales with those body shots in round 3 but essentially lost the bout with a bad takedown attempt, and he didn’t win on the ground. Perez doesn’t seem like a guy whose game is that well put together, so I back Andre to win with his striking. Andre Soukhamthath by unanimous decision.
Phil Mackenzie: This is a close fight, but I think I’m with the consensus pick. Soukhamthath shook off some octagon jitters in his UFC debut and actually finished pretty strong. He’s a solid (if very slightly wooden) kickboxer, and I particularly liked his incessant body work in the third. Conversely, I think Perez was very lucky to escape with the draw against Morales, and it looks like he’s hit a technical and/or dynamic ceiling when he’s not fighting incredibly fragile dudes like late career Scotty Jorgensen, or Ian Entwistle. Andre Soukhamthath by unanimous decision.
Tim Burke: If someone asked me to spell Andre’s last name without being able to see it, there is no way in hell I’d be able to do it. Alejandro Perez by decision.
Staff picking Perez: Tim
Staff picking Soukhamthath: Bissell, Nick, Stephie, Mookie, Eddie
Jack Hermansson vs. Brad Scott
Mookie Alexander: Two very well-respected fighters who have scores of fans in the Latin American community. I’m with Phil on this one. Hermansson is more athletic and faster than Askham, and his offense is probably good enough to overwhelm Scott, who is performing better than ever but doesn’t really have anything in the way of fight-finishing power. Jack Hermansson by TKO, round 3.
Phil Mackenzie: Brad Scott put on a fine fight against Askham in his last fight, exploiting the powerful but lumbering Brit by zipping in and out of range and wrecking his lead leg. Somewhat concerningly, though, he struggled with the one-legged Askham. Hermansson is a great deal quicker than Askham, with a much nastier combination boxing and clinch game. Jack Hermansson by TKO, round 2.
Tim Burke: I always think Hermansson is English for some reason. Swedes shouldn’t be named Jack. I’m just gonna call him Henrik from now on. Jack Hermansson by TKO, round 1.
Staff picking Hermansson: Nick, Phil, Stephie, Mookie, Eddie, Tim
Staff picking Scott: Bissell
Dustin Ortiz vs. Hector Sandoval
Mookie Alexander: I really like watching Sandoval. He has good striking and packs a punch by flyweight standards. Not sure however that he can hang with Ortiz on the ground, and that’s where I see the fight being won. Dustin Ortiz by unanimous decision.
Phil Mackenzie: One of the more intriguing and harder to pick fights on the card. Ortiz has been a very stable gatekeeper, with a scrappy boxing, wrestling and grappling game which has fallen apart a bit if anyone can challenge him in two of the three areas, but which is very difficult to get around if they can’t. In general it feels like the common factor in his losses has been getting stranded at range, and I can’t really see Sandoval trying to do that. While Sandoval’s extremely impressive pace and physicality is a big wild card, Ortiz was able to beat a not dissimilar fighter in Ray Borg, so Dustin Ortiz by unanimous decision.
Tim Burke: Hornswoggle by unanimous decision.
Staff picking Ortiz: Bissell, Phil, Stephie, Mookie, Eddie, Tim
Staff picking Sandoval: Nick
Henry Briones vs. Rani Yahya
Phil Mackenzie: The main question here is: does Briones have cast-iron TDD? He was taken down by Cody Garbrandt, so the answer is “no.” Then again I feel that, on balance, Cody might potentially be a slightly better athlete than Rani Yahya, so I wouldn’t be fully surprised to just see Briones stuff TDs and beat Yahya up. Yahya is also old. That said, Yahya’s only lost to high-end MMA grapplers, and Briones doesn’t have the sheer speed to be able to insulate himself. Rani Yahya by unanimous decision.
Tim Burke: Briones’ nickname is Bure because he played hockey for so long and his friends thought he looked like Pavel Bure. He’s from Tijuana. Let me repeat this – he played hockey. In Tijuana. That’s like being a member of Antarctica’s Americas Cup team. I cannot fathom this. With that being said, Pavel was the second-greatest Vancouver Canuck of all time (Markus Naslund for life), so I’ll go with him over the human boa constrictor. Pavel Bure by TKO (slapshot, top shelf, hits the water bottle), round 2.
Staff picking Briones: Bissell, Tim
Staff picking Yahya: Nick, Phil, Stephie, Mookie
Jose Quinonez vs. Diego Rivas
Phil Mackenzie: I was quite impressed by what I saw by Quinonez the last time out, where he showed some annoying high-volume striking and movement to go with his grinding wrestling game. Rivas, conversely, got abused by Noad Lahat before pulling a flying knee out of nowhere. He’s the more athletically gifted of the two by a long shot, and it’s always possible that he makes TUF LatAm shocking improvements (that have become progressively less shocking the more they’ve happened), especially because he’s been out for a while… but he really really didn’t look great in that fight. Jose Quinonez by unanimous decision.
Tim Burke: I didn’t watch TUF Latin America. I had to wash my hair those days. Phil might be the only one that did. Diego Rivas by submission, round 2
Staff picking Quinonez: Phil, Stephie
Staff picking Rivas: Bissell, Nick, Mookie
Joseph Morales vs. Roberto Sanchez
Phil Mackenzie: Two somewhat similar, punching-grappling-and-guard-play flyweights, both of which have had a very solid level of regional competition and yet have remained undefeated. Despite Morales being the Alpha Male product, Sanchez may actually be the more physically powerful of the two. Being on the lower side of the strength equation often hasn’t been great for TAM fighters (Fili etc), but I think Morales is a slightly more classy striker and a more effective wrestler, and I don’t trust Sanchez’ tendency to work for subs rather than sweeping. Joseph Morales by unanimous decision.
Staff picking Morales: Bissell, Nick, Phil, Stephie, Mookie, Tim
Staff picking Sanchez:
Alvaro Herrera vs. Jordan Rinaldi
Phil Mackenzie: How in the world is Herrera going to make lightweight? He’s a pretty thickset 6’0. He was also a slow welterweight, so I’d expect him to be absolutely glacial at 155. Anyway, if Herrera makes it down, Rinaldi is really not the guy to capitalize on a speed advantage. Just a profoundly un-dynamic fighter and I guess he’ll try and clinch and then Herrera will shuck him off and clunk him, because Herrera hits really hard…? Alvaro Herrera by TKO, round 1.
Staff picking Herrera: Phil, Stephie, Mookie
Staff picking Rinaldi: Bissell, Nick, Tim