Rejoice, #degens! All is not lost (yet). While the sports world (and the world in general) is currently at a standstill, the UFC keeps up their relentless pace. Future events look like they’ll be moved to the UFC’s private Las Vegas performance center, but this weekend’s card in Brasilia, Brazil will proceed as planned. Except the Ginasio Nilson Nelson arena will be empty.
So we’ll still have something to bet on (if virtual camel racing isn’t your thing)!
To commemorate this life saver thrown to degens by the UFC, I’ve decided to predict the winner in EVERY FIGHT on Saturday’s card. That, plus the fact that I’m bound to get a few correct with this many fights to choose from. If you throw enough against the wall, something is bound to stick.
So, let’s get this degen party started, coronavirus be damned!
Kevin Lee (-145) vs Charles Oliveira
Well there goes the homecourt advantage for the Brazilian Charles Oliveira. No cheering Brazilian fans, yelling “uh vai morrer” to Kevin Lee (translates to “you’re going to die”). While Do Bronx is on a crazy hot streak with six-straight wins (four via submission, two via (T)KO), I like Lee in this one. He’s bigger (former welterweight going up against a former featherweight), hits like a truck, and is a very strong wrestler to counteract Oliveira’s grappling.
Gilbert Burns (-180) vs Demian Maia
This matchup is a grappling nerd’s dream. Both men are multi-time world champions in jiu-jitsu, which probably means this will be a boring kickboxing battle. And if that happens, I like the younger, harder-hitting Burns to prevail. Even if it does hit the mat, Burns should have the skills to stick with Maia.
Renato Moicano (-350) vs Damir Hadzovic
Moicano is the biggest favorite on the card in his lightweight debut (he moved up after losing his last two at featherweight). He has the grappling chops, and experience (wins over big names like Jeremy Stephens, Calvin Kattar, and Cub Swanson) to get a W over Hadzovic, who is a pedestrian 3-3 in the UFC.
Johnny Walker (-140) vs Nikita Krylov
Walker dislocated his shoulder and put himself on the shelf doing a celebratory worm after a fight. What more reason do you need to bet on him?! Fine, you want more reasons. He’s got a five inch reach advantage on Krylov, and has started training at Montreal’s renowned gym, Tristar. And scores crazy looking KOs. Not much else is needed in the wacky light heavyweight division.
John Makdessi (+140) vs Francisco Trinaldo
Speaking of Montreal, let’s go with an underdog from Ville de Montreal – John “The Bull” Makdessi. He’s on a three fight win streak, while Trinaldo has been trading wins and losses back and forth (last fight was a W, so this is bound to be an L, right?!). Plus he’s a way more active and accurate striker.
Jussier Formiga (-160) vs Brandon Moreno
This is basically a de facto #1 contender’s match for the flyweight title, which makes no sense that the UFC buried it on the prelim portion of the card. Regardless, look for Formiga to smother Moreno with his relentless grappling and get himself a decision win in his homeland.
Amanda Ribas (-335) vs Randa Markos
To prove I’m not a Canadian homer (a Canadian hoser, yes, but not a homer), I’ll bet against fellow Canuck Randa Markos in this one. Ribas announced herself as a promising prospect at 115 pounds with wins over Emily Whitmire and Mackenzie Dern, and is much more skilled on the feet (not to mention being a great grappler) to handle wrestle-heavy Markos.
Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (-140) vs Alexey Kunchenko
In addition to a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, dos Santos has some fancy striking, winning UFC fights by flying knee and spinning wheel kick. Meanwhile, Kunchenko has only beaten fighters on their way out during his two UFC appearances (Thiago Alves and Yushin Okami) and lost his last fight against Gilbert Burns. EZDS is the pick in this one, hopefully via something flying or spinning (or both).
Rani Yahya (+155) vs Enrique Barzola
I have to pick a few dogs for the night, to try to hit some decent scores. And Rani Yahya isn’t just a fun name to say (pronounced Ha-knee YaYa), he’s a very live dog in this one. He’s another BJJ wiz, on a card full of them, and Barzola has shown in the past he can be outgrappled.
Mayra Bueno Silva (-150) vs Maryna Moroz
Mayra Bueno Silva is undefeated in her young MMA career, and is coming off a very impressive UFC debut, in which she submitted young prospect Gillian Robertson. I like Sheetara to keep her record unblemished against The Iron Lady, who has had up and down results in the big show.
Bruno Silva (-120) vs David Dvorak
Crazy – two men’s flyweight fights on one card! It’s almost like they plan on keeping this division around, especially considering Dvorak is a debuting fighter. I don’t know much about him, but the trusted voices at The Prelim Picker podcast say he’s not much to write home about and they’re going with Silva, so so am I.
Bea Malecki (+150) vs Veronica Macedo
The curtain jerker, and I’m going with an underdog to start things off right for us. Malecki is from the red hot Fortis MMA gym (who I rated as the top UFC fight camp last year) and competed on The Ultimate Fighter before making her official UFC debut last summer (actually it was her official pro debut – she’s had no pro fights outside of the UFC). She has 10 (!!) inches of reach on Macedo, and used to fight at 145 pounds, while Macedo normally fights at 125 (this fight will be in the middle at 135). Too big and too well coached to be the underdog here.