Chcek out the Bloody Elbow staff’s picks and predictions for Saturday’s UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Tybura card in Sydney, Australia.
The Bloody Elbow staff has submitted its predictions for UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Tybura in Sydney, Australia. Only Fraser Coffeen is picking Marcin Tybura to upset Fabricio Werdum in the main event, and that’s just because he wants to see Werdum lose. As for the co-main, the majority of us are backing Bec Rawlings to defeat late-notice replacement Jessy Jess.
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.
Fabricio Werdum vs. Marcin Tybura
Mookie Alexander: Feels like a fight where Tybura hurts Werdum at least once but fails to capitalize, and he’ll inevitably wind up on his back at some point off a Werdum takedown, and it’ll be game over from there. Fabricio Werdoomerang by submission, round 2.
Victor Rodriguez: Werdum lost his title due to a dangerous Stipe and a massive brain fart on home soil. He hasn’t made that kind of mistake since, preferring instead to mix things up and not chase his opponent. Tybura is exactly the kind of opponent that will struggle here. He’s slower, has a reach and height disadvantage and a stout frame. He’s not as agile as he could be, nor does he appear to be improving consistently. To make things worse, he doesn’t have the accuracy or power to put Werdum away. Werdum leg kicks Tybura to soften him up, then inevitably submits him. Fabricio Werdum via armbar, round 3.
Zane Simon: If Werdum decides to have an extended kickboxing match with Tybura, he likely has the worse chin. But, Tybura isn’t sharp enough on the counter to make me think he sleeps Werdum easy, and he’s too willing to clinch up, where Werdum is at his best standing. Tybura also hasn’t been that hard to take down in his UFC career. All told, It just seems too likely that this fight hits the mat, where Tybura is good, but not as good. Fabricio Werdum via submission, Round 2.
Fraser Coffeen: No logic here, just a desire to see Werdum lose. Marcin Tybura, KO, R1
Ryan Davies: I don’t see this as being a winnable fight for the young pole. Under the guidance of Master Rafael Cordeiro, Werdum has become one of the better strikers in the sport and his BJJ has always been his bread and butter. This is not a Walt Harris-like mismatch, but it is a fight that doesn’t need to take place right now. Fabrcio Werdum Triangle 3rd
Staff picking Werdum: Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Mookie, Stephie, Phil, Victor, Zane, Davies
Staff picking Tybura: Fraser
Bec Rawlings vs. Jessy Rose-Clark
Ryan Davies: There is good reason that this fight is on the main card, as it should be a standup war that will highlights both fighters’ abilities. Rawlings will have the better boxing while Jess puts it all together in a much more fluid manner. If anyone attempts a takedown, it will be Rawlings in the later rounds. Overall it will be a very close fight that could easily pocket the ladies performance bonuses. Jessy Jess Unanimous Decision
Victor Rodriguez: As much as I love watching Jess fight, I worry that Bec will be too big, too strong, and too durable for Jess to avoid being bullied. Bec’s more able to beat Jess up clinching against the cage and nailing takedowns later via bodylock. Jess has speed and can attack the legs very well, plus she’s wily off her back and doesn’t go away easy. Still gotta go with Rawlings. Bec Rawlings by decision.
Zane Simon: If Rawlings wrestled more, was more durable, or less likely to gas, she could pretty clearly win this. Rawlings’ boxing has sharpened up a lot, but it hasn’t shaken her of her old problems. Namely that she can be stung in exchanges, and that she doesn’t have the athleticism to push the pace she wants to fight at. Jessy Jess is a pretty one-note talent as a power kickboxer who works mostly behind a jab-low kick combo, but it’s a stable style that seems like it will outlast Rawlings down the stretch. Jessy Jess by decision.
Staff picking Rawlings: Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Mookie, Victor, Fraser
Staff picking Rose-Clark: Davies, Stephie, Zane
Tim Means vs. Belal Muhammad
Phil Mackenzie: The best fight on the card, hands down. Means has a vicious and technical outside striking game, probing behind an educated jab, cross and counter elbow. His offensive clinch is probably second only to Matt Brown’s in the division, complete with slapping push-off elbows and hockey-punch collar ties. Belal Remember The Name Muhammad has a fairly unique style where he works off high mobility footwork, parrying and returning up top, and attacking with low kicks and takedowns down low. His reliance on parries and his somewhat predictable head position definitely makes him vulnerable to Means’ straight shots slipping through… but Means’ problems have traditionally been mental rather than technical. If he can’t put Belal Remember The Name Muhammad away early (a notably distinct possibility) then I think Muhammad keeps the pace on him until he wilts. Belal Remember The Name Muhammad by unanimous decision.
Victor Rodriguez: Muhammad hits harder and can take a ton of punishment, plus he has really good defensive wrestling. I’m still seeing Means being the craftier scrambler that puts his combinations together better and has a more well-rounded game. Means has demonstrated better use of range and a really good gas tank. Tim Means by decision.
Zane Simon: I think Muhammad has had to do some re-adjusting in the UFC. Away from the jab-centric fighter he was regionally, and into a fighter that relies more on working all aspects of the game to win. And I just don’t see that being the path to get by Tim Means. Muhammad will be at a severe range disadvantage if he has to play with Means’ jab. And while he’s not a bad wrestler, he’s not a lockdown wrestler either. So if his counter to the out-fighting is to spend a lot of time in Means’ clinch, I think that’s all kinds of bad news. Tim Means via TKO.
Ryan Davies: Means is the much more effective striker from the outside, meaning Belal is going to need to get inside and make this fight ugly. Means was adamant about being a competent wrestler after his first fight with Cowboy Oliveira. This will be his chance to prove his wrestling worthiness. If he stays on his feet he wins. If not, he better break out the singlet and get back on the mats. Belal Muhammad Unanimous Decision
Staff picking Means: Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Mookie, Victor, Zane
Staff picking Muhammad: Phil, Stephie, Fraser, Davies
Jake Matthews vs. Bojan Velickovic
Phil Mackenzie: This seems like a trap fight for Matthews. Velickovic hasn’t exactly impressed in the UFC, but he’s rarely looked awful either. “Decent at everything, great at nothing” has saved him from getting totally overwhelmed, but also means that you need to have a singular dynamic skillset to really get to him. And I’m not sure if Matthews has that? He’s an OK striker, an OK wrestler, and a pretty good grappler, but mostly what makes Matthews work is his off-the-charts athleticism. In attempting to leverage that, he’ll have a sizable speed advantage over Velickovic, but he’ll also have less physical power. He just lost to Andrew Holbrook. Andrew Holbrook! Can I trust him to win rounds? That said, Velickovic is incredibly tough, but has a marked tendency to not do stuff in fights. I guess I’ll give Matthews the benefit of the doubt. The last notable time an Antipodean prospect made the jump to a higher weight class where most thought he would be outsized he actually ended up doing OK. I’m not happy though. Jake Matthews by unanimous decision.
Victor Rodriguez: I still see a lot of promise in Matthews, but Bojan is just so physically imposing and a hard, sharp striker. While Matthews seems better suited to grab something and work a submission, Velickovic has more chances of keeping the fight where he wants it (standing) and landing enough shots to win rounds for a decision win. Sorry, Jake. Bojan Velickovic by decision.
Zane Simon: Velickovic may have never been quite blown out in a fight, but I’m also not sure he’s actually clearly won a round in the UFC either. His win over Di Chirico was pretty questionable and I thought he was losing most of the Musoke fight. Matthews isn’t technically deep enough to get by fighters that can match his grappling skill, but I don’t think Velickovic can, especially not with porous takedown defense. Maybe sheer size will win the day for ‘Serbian Steel’ but Jake Matthews by decision.
Ryan Davies: This is a now or never fight for Matthews. The 23-year-old has long been considered a star in the making, but after dropping two in a row he is not showing the kind of progression you would hope to see from a young fighter in his situation. Bojan is technically solid everywhere and a hard out for any 170-pounder. It’s difficult to say if we’re going to get the Matthews that choked out Vagner Rocha or the one that lost to Andrew Holbrook. It won’t come easy, but Matthews will get back on track with continuous pressure and takedown attempts. Jake Matthews Split Decision
Staff picking Matthews: Bissell, Zane, Phil, Davies
Staff picking Velickovic: Dayne, Mookie, Stephie, Nick, Victor, Fraser
Daniel Kelly vs. Elias Theodorou
Phil Mackenzie: Despite looking the part of the dashing middleweight prospect, Theodorou has a janky style which produces dismally boring fights. If he has a pronounced physical advantage, he tries to grind people out in the clinch. If he doesn’t, he tries to land flicking kicks from the outside. While I feel like there’s a very real possibility that Kelly is simply a better striker than Theodorou and is strong enough to shuck him off, I think that Theodorou should be able to stand on the outside and throw a bit more volume in a fight which will probably be close and kind of terrible…? Elias Theodorou by unanimous decision.
Victor Rodriguez: The only way I can see this fight not being boring is if Judo Dan levels up and blasts some serious Judo throws with some savvy boxing combinations. Theodorou fights can be as ugly as he is beautiful (the man is a gem – don’t @ me), and he’s content to play the range game until his opponent makes mistakes when at a physical disadvantage as Phil noted. I worry that Elias may underestimate Kelly’s dad strength and get in too close at the wrong time. Then again, I also worry that he’s got this figured out and can pick Kelly apart at range to ride to another decision win. It is what it is, I suppose. Elias Theodorou by decision.
Zane Simon: So much of Theodorou’s success comes from opponents just having no idea what to do with the constant bouncing, flick-kicking, backhanding fighter in front of them. On the flip side, all of Dan Kelly’s success has come because he pays no attention to what his opponent is supposed to be good at, and just stays after people with a constant output of offense. Add in that he’s amazingly hard to take down and keep down and I feel like I have to trust Kelly to do more round-by-round than Theodorou. Dan Kelly by decision.
Ryan Davies: These TUF Nations veterans will reunite three years after Theodorou won their Canada vs Australia season. Both of their unorthodox styles confuse and aggravate opponents with a more traditional mma background. Elias will use his reach advantage and funky kicks to keep Kelly at bay and rack up points. It won’t be nearly as pretty as Elias’s shiny mane, but a W is a W. Elias Theodorou Unanimous Decision
Staff picking Kelly: Dayne, Mookie, Nick, Zane
Staff picking Theodorou: Bissell, Phil, Stephie, Victor, Fraser, Davies
Alex Volkanovski vs. Shane Young
Ryan Davies: You gotta do what you gotta do to break into the UFC, but Volkanovski is a nightmare debut opponent, especially on seven days notice. Volkanovski is a steamroller and if Young is overly aggressive on the feet, Volkanovski will plant him on his back quickly. He will need to implement a stick and move approach, using his reach to stay on the outside and pick apart the shorter Volkanovski. While the deck is stacked against Young in his debut, his durability should keep him around till the later rounds – but Volkanovski’s ground and pound will take a toll. Hopefully this will be the first of many octagon battles for the young Kiwi. Alex Volkanovski TKO, round 3.
Phil Mackenzie: To be an effective short-notice replacement, you generally need to be unpredictable and/or super-dynamic. Young is not really these things, as he’s a careful, clean standup technician who doesn’t hit hard, and is likely to get bowled over and beaten up. Alexander Volkanovski by TKO, round 2.
Victor Rodriguez: Shane’s a good young talent, but Alexander’s a little buzzsaw. Not sure that Volkanovski will be in a hurry to get things to the ground, and he’s still got more tools standing to finish this. Alexander Volkanovski by TKO, round 3.
Zane Simon: Shane Young has all the hallmarks of decent, if not spectacular prospect who is slowly developing all areas of an MMA game at the same time. Which is a huge problem when you’re fighting a tireless, fantastic wrestler with brutal ground-and-pound on short notice. Alex Volkanovski via TKO, Round 1.
Staff picking Volkanovski: Bissell, Nick, Davies, Dayne, Phil, Mookie, Stephie, Victor, Zane, Fraser
Staff picking Young:
Ryan Benoit vs. Ashkan Mokhtarian
Phil Mackenzie: Mokhtarian didn’t look incredible in his regional tape, but he at least looked… OK. That he was subsequently so hopelessly lost against Moraga either speaks to a vast technical gulf between the regionals and the UFC, or a very nervous debut, and likely a combination of the two. Benoit is no-one’s idea of a technical marvel, but he hits very hard and is difficult to keep down. Mokhtarian showed his toughness (if little else) against Moraga, so Chris Benoit by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: Mokhtarian doesn’t seem like a great athlete, and while he really wants to be a wrestle-grappler, doesn’t seem particularly gifted in either area to the UFC’s standards. Benoit has continually struggled against people that can wrestle him, but this would be an extremely low bar for him to fall under. Ryan Benoit via decision.
Ryan Davies: Co-founder of Australian Top Team Ashkan Mokhtarian had a very tough debut fight in former title challenger John Moraga. This time out he has a much more winnable fight against journeymen Ryan Benoit. This will be a very evenly matched fight with Benoit having the striking edge and Mokhtarian being the better grappler. It will be close, but the hometown crowd will be the crucial intangible that pushes Mokhtarian to dig deep in the later rounds. Ashtan Mokhtarian Split Decision
Staff picking Benoit: Nick, Phil, Dayne, Mookie, Stephie, Victor, Zane, Fraser
Staff picking Mokhtarian: Bissell, Davies
Will Brooks vs. Nik Lentz
Phil Mackenzie: Brooks’ losses in the UFC have been, if not expected, then at least explicable. Oliveira I is a titan, who badly missed weight and inflicted a low-percentage injury in the first round. Oliveira II is a tremendously underrated offensive wrestler whose go-for-broke aggression would always generate bad moments against Brooks’ steady style. If he loses to Lentz it would be very bad, in a way which the Oliveiras were not. Someone who can beat Michael Chandler twice(-ish) should not lose to Nik Lentz. That’s just the way it is. Brooks’ strengths in wrestling and clinch-work line up almost exactly with Lentz’s, and his distance-maintenance style on the feet plays well with a smaller striker who wings hooks, much as it did in his time in Bellator where he handily outsized pretty much all his opponents. Will Brooks by unanimous decision.
Victor Rodriguez: Lentz is still underrated by a lot of fans, and is a great wrestler. Brooks is also a great wrestler, with a strength advantage and a striking game that’s way more composed. Brooks has all the tools to take this one. Will Brooks by TKO, round 2.
Zane Simon: Phil summed this up nicely, which is to say that this is a really good matchup for Brooks and if he loses it, something more serious than ‘being a slow starter’ is wrong. Lentz has never been much of a finisher and while he starts strong he always fades. I expect this to be somewhat competitive early as Brooks finds his groove, but once he does, he should take over completely. Will Brooks by decision.
Fraser Coffeen: Lentz is your classic spoiler, the kind of guy who can face someone who is, in theory, the better fighter, but manage to grind his way to a win. And Brooks is certainly on paper the better fighter. But he’s failed to show that in the UFC. It’s been two years since he looked good, and while that could easily change here, I also can see Lentz having an early edge, frustrating Ill Will, and taking a close decision. Nik Lentz, dec
Ryan Davies: Lentz will be the better technical wrestler, but the size, youth, and athleticism advantage will be too much for “The Carney” to overcome. Not to mention that Brooks, the former Bellator champ is one loss away from looking like one of the bigger busts in recent years. Will Brooks Unanimous Decision
Staff picking Brooks: Bissell, Nick, Phil, Dayne, Mookie, Stephie, Victor, Zane, Davies
Staff picking Lentz: Fraser
Anthony Hamilton vs. Adam Wieczorek
Phil Mackenzie: Was this fight re-booked to be as far away from Polish ultras as humanly possible? If so, good job. Anyway, probably the same takeaway as last time. Hamilton has looked increasingly fragile and was on the verge of retirement. Wieczorek is at least really tough. If Hamilton picks up takedowns this probably goes downhill for the Pole real fast, but Adam Wieczorek by TKO, round 2.
Victor Rodriguez: Given the UFC’s usual practices, I’m surprised Hamilton is still in the organization. That’s not a knock on him, I have no ill will towards the man or anything. His record hasn’t looked good, and his performances have looked just as bad as his record has on paper. Even with his wrestling, I can’t trust the man to win this. Polish guy by whatever.
Zane Simon: Wieczorek isn’t technically good at anything, but neither is Daniel Spitz. And Wieczorek has a good chin and does very well to fight hard even when exhausted. That’s all probably good enough to sleep a guy who announced his retirement after the last time he got KO’d. Adam Wieczorek by KO, Round 1.
Ryan Davies: Everytime we’re ready to bury the 37 year old Hamilton, he rises from the ashes and wins a fight he has no business winning. A first round loser in his last three bouts, this is a surefire do or die fight for the Jackson/Wink big man. Wieczorek doesn’t stand out in any one aspect, if Hamliton can stay out of brawling exchanges and implement a wrestling focus approach he can save his job and live to see another fight. Anthony Hamilton Unanimous Decision
Staff picking Hamilton: Davies
Staff picking Wieczorek: Bissell, Nick, Phil, Dayne, Mookie, Stephie, Victor, Zane, Fraser
Damien Brown vs. Frank Camacho
Ryan Davies: Both of these battle tested brawlers do everything in their power to not leave it in the hands of the judges. Camacho has been fighting at welterweight for the last two years, including his debut against the very large welterweight Jingliang LI. Anything can happen in a brawl, but Camacho’s power and sturdy chin will give him the edge and help him get revenge for his Chamorro brother Jon Tuck who lost a split decision to Brown a year ago. Frank Camacho TKO 2nd
Phil Mackenzie: Camacho impressed me in his debut, where he had a game showing against The Leech, and hurt him pretty badly in the first round, before getting predictably beaten up. This will be a gunslinger throwdown against Brown, who is similarly minded towards the brawl, but a touch more likely to thrown in takedowns and submissions. However, Camacho is bigger, and the harder hitter. Could go either way, really, neither man has much in the way of defense, but Frank Camacho by TKO, round 1
Zane Simon: This should be a really fun fight. Both guys throw with power and like to brawl. Camacho is more technical standing, but can be wrestled by opponents who can time him in the pocket. He can also be cracked early and KO’d. However, I think Camacho’s better boxing and faster feet will keep him out of Brown’s reach and landing the better shots. Frank Camacho via KO, Round 2.
Staff picking Brown: Bissell
Staff picking Camacho: Nick, Davies, Dayne, Phil, Mookie, Stephie, Victor, Zane, Fraser
Alex Chambers vs. Nadia Kassem
Ryan Davies: Aussie Alex Chambers is returning from a two-year layoff due to a knee injury and will be gung-ho about finally returning to the octagon. Kassem is a big question mark, but there is no question she will want to keep this fight standing. In the two years that she has been inactive, Chambers has been training with a plethora of the best women fighters in the sport at ATT Coconut Creek. Her big fight experience and litany of high level training partners will be enough to get her the W over Kassem, who was inspired to began fighting by the Rousey vs. Tate season of TUF. Jesus that makes me feel old! Alex Chambers RNC 1st
Phil Mackenzie: I hate picking these kind of fights. Kassem shows promise in her regional tape, but has exclusively fought cans. Chambers has fought a far better level of fighter… but she’s lost most of those bouts. Should you expect Chambers to look better after time training at ATT, or do you expect the fact that she’s a 39(!!) year old strawweight to lead to inevitable physical decline? I don’t know if there’s good answers to those questions. Chambers is hellaciously tough, so I think Kassem struggles to pick her off… maybe? Alex Chambers by submission, round 2.
Victor Rodriguez: Chambers’ striking was never great, but her grappling game and determination got her to pull a rabbit out of a hat in a fight she was losing against Kailin Curran. Kassem’s got good striking and is improving as a young talent, but even with her youth and physicality I can’t trust her. Chambers may be older, but she doesn’t fight like it. Kassem might push her around a bit, but Chambers catches her in a transition to scramble on to her back. Done deal from there. Astro Girl by submission.
Zane Simon: Kassem’s opponents are so bad that I’d comfortably say she’s essentially never had a pro fight before. She’s crushing cans on an Xplode level. Could she be a decent fighter? Maybe, but there’s literally no way to know right now. Alex Chambers via submission round 2.
Staff picking Chambers: Davies, Phil, Zane, Victor, Fraser, Mookie
Staff picking Kassem: Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Stephie
Jenel Lausa vs. Eric Shelton
Ryan Davies: When it comes to dropping close split decisions, Eric Shelton is on a Masvidal-like path, losing his first two Octagon bouts via razor thin decision. This match up with Lausa should give Shelton the opportunity to showcase his full arsenal. Lausa is a solid boxer, but Shelton will have the speed, wrestling and strength advantage which will give him his first clear cut victory under the UFC banner. Eric Shelton Unanimous Decision
Phil Mackenzie: Should be a good fight. Hopefully Shelton’s confidence hasn’t been damaged by the two close losses, because he seems to be inching ever-closer to fulfilling some of that incredible athletic potential. In particular, as Ryan noted, this should be a fight where he can flex some of his wrestling. The Bibulatov fight exposed some of Lausa’s problems with closing distance, and I think that Shelton can hang out and counter at range, and potentially double leg if things get too hectic in close. Eric Shelton by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: I really like Lausa as a very singularly technical talent. He’s a fun fighter to watch, even when he’s losing, and I wish he could get booked a little easier. Instead, Shelton is a more willing jabber standing and can mix in a good takedown and GnP game. That variety should be enough to beat a guy who really only leans on his power boxing. Eric Shelton by decision.
Victor Rodriguez: Lausa has a very good future ahead of him, but Shelton’s wrestling will give him a ton of headaches here. It should also be mentioned that Shelton’s boxing is much more stable and he could very easily drop Lausa to follow up for the finish. Eric Shelton by TKO.
Staff picking Lausa:
Staff picking Shelton: Bissell, Nick, Davies, Dayne, Mookie, Stephie, Phil, Zane, Victor, Fraser
Rashad Coulter vs. Tai Tuivasa
Ryan Davies: Fortis MMA’s Rashad Coulter, is coming off of a short notice Fight of the Night debut against Chase Sherman that tested his chin and heart. This fight has all the ingredients of a unforgettable debut for Tuivasa. Coulter has shown no qualms about trading in a phone booth and not to knock MMA’s resident GIF king, but Tuivasa packs a bit more pop than Sherman. Coulter might have a chance if he can avoid the early onslaught, drag it into deep waters and hope that Tuivasa still lacks conditioning. Otherwise Tuivasa will get the home crowd standing early with a highlight reel knockout. Tai Tuivasa Knockout 1st
Phil Mackenzie: This fight will be jiggly. Both men like to bang, both are just a bit craftier than you’d expect with their counterpunches. Tuivasa seems like the better athlete, the harder hitter, and probably the better standup technician, but his last fight against James McSweeney was powerfully troubling stuff from a heavyweight prospect, as Tuivasa gave up position and looked half-dead at the end of a round he probably lost, against a man who hasn’t really improved all that much since his early days of losing via Smother TKO to a Polish sumo wrestler. Coulter is at least unholy tough. Rashad Coulter by Depressed-Us-standard unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: Tuivasa’s record is better than Kassem’s, but not waaaaaaaaaaay better. He’s been stopping people instantly, and the moment he didn’t against McSweeney, he looked incredibly lost. There were moments in that one-round fight where he was sprawled way out on the floor desperately clinging for an ankle, gassed entirely out. Coulter can throw a jab and an overhand behind it, he can move his feet, and he can probably fight reasonably hard for two rounds. That should be enough to take a terrible fight if he doesn’t get slept in the first minute. Rashad Coulter via decision.
Staff picking Coulter: Phil, Zane, Victor, Fraser
Staff picking Tuivasa: Bissell, Nick, Davies, Dayne, Mookie, Stephie