Welcome to the Bloody Elbow Staff Draft at UFC Paris: Gane vs. Tuivasa. I (Tim Bissell) inherited this column from the irreplaceable Mookie Alexander, who is leaving BE to find new pastures.
I will do my best to make this feature accessible to all who want to know what our employees think and want to celebrate our victories and (most likely) our losses.
Although I’ve been writing professional MMA for about seven years, I’m not the best mind for Xs and Os. I’m more of an out-of-cage expert. So for this feature, I’m not going to try to give you my own technical analysis of how certain people fight, I’m going to take the opportunity to test some theories about what can predict the outcome of a game.
For the foreseeable future, the theory I will be testing is that the fighter with the higher odds in a fight will win the fight. Win percentage (or wp) is the value that results when you compare all of a fighter’s past victories to their total battles. In my opinion, this would be an interesting experiment to see if removing all other variables and intangibles and considering only a fighter’s ability to win past fights would determine who is most likely to win a given match.
Some chores: I would pick the fighter with the highest wp in their past UFC fights. In my calculations, a draw is considered a loss (as the fighter fails to win). No matches are not counted in the calculation (because they are so weird). Exhibit battles on The Ultimate Fighter don’t count (they are special case exhibits). Contender series games will be counted (as they go to career records).
If a fighter’s UFC wp is tied, the fighter with the most UFC fights will be selected as my likely winner. If it’s a tie, then I’ll compare the fighters’ overall MMA wps and finally their total MMA fights.
So, other than that, here are our BE employee forecasts (including my forecasts selected using the calculations above).
Ciryl Gane vs. Tai Tuivasa
Anton Tabuena: It was an interesting game, mainly because of Tuivasa’s power and the fact that he didn’t allow Gane to slide and play normally. This can make Gane look better than usual, as he’ll find a more adventurous partner – and be countered, or he’ll be caught and stopped. Either way, it’s going to be fun and be the heavyweight fight I’m really looking forward to. I can see it going both ways, but since this is heavyweight, I’m going with confusion and big upset.
KO’s Tai Tuivasa.
Guyon has an 88.89% win rate (wp) in the UFC. This is 16.6% higher than Tai Tuivasa’s wp of 72.73%. So my picture would be Gane at 10-1, his only career loss was his last unification fight with Francis Ngannou for the UFC heavyweight title.
You might think Tuivasa’s wp is stronger than Gane’s schedule. However, despite feeling like Gane is relatively new on the block, he’s only two fights short of Tuivasa at the UFC level.
Gane also has a wp advantage in overall MMA fights. Gane has an impressive 90.91%, while Tuivasa’s 83.33% is still pretty good. Tuivasa played seven more games than Gane.
Ciryl Gane is up to the decision.
Mookie Alexander : Tuivasa’s immense power makes him a threat to Gain and almost every other heavyweight. Gane is very measured, almost safe to err, if he senses danger, if/when Tuivasa charges forward with big hands, he will try to wrestle. As much as I love Tuivasa, it’s been a minute since his ground race was seriously tested, and Gane thinks there’s a huge advantage there. Gane kept his range very well and worked after his jab and started off with a focused and elite kick. While he’s not invincible or even great defensively, he hasn’t had any serious trouble in his UFC career. I’m hoping Tuivasa brings another surprise, but there’s a reason Gane is a big hit…and I don’t want my last prediction as a crew to be wrong.
Ciryl Gane decides .
Zane Simon: It feels like honestly, it’s a pretty simple dissection fight and can really break down into a two-man fight against Derrick Lewis. The bout was a complete shut-off for Gane, operating at the end of his jab and low kick, heading into the third round of TKO, with Lewis completing 16 major strikes. Tuvasa’s match against Lewis was a two-round 50/50 war, with both scoring huge shots in pocket swaps, Tuvassa managed to find the killer first. If Gain is not willing to sit down and deal with him, how will he break Gain’s distance control? Between the two of them, Gane is more likely to knock down and control the grapple. Unless Gane slips really badly, this seems like a bout where he can punish “Bam Bam” for his wild overthrow and lack of cutting cages. Ciryl Gane of Tseung Kwan O, 3rd round.
Pick Gane Staff : Bissell, Mookie, Stephie, Zane, Dayne
Pick Tuwasa staff: Anton
with Marvin Vittori
Anton Tabuena: sucks for Whittaker in Franklin’s territory and is thinking about putting on weight because I think he’s way better than all the other middleweights not named Adesanya. I think he’ll pick Vettori, he’ll just try to rough him up on the fence, but won’t really get enough of a major offense.
Robert Whitaker’s decision.
Robert Whittaker’s UFC wp is 77.78%, just slightly above Marvin Vettori’s 70%. Even though Whittaker has a slim lead in wp, I’m happy with picking him as he has 18 games in Octagon, 8 more than his Italian rival. When you factor in the pair’s entire MMA careers, Whittaker still holds a slight wp advantage (1.05%) over Vettori.
Robert Whitaker’s decision.
: Whittaker and Adesanya are not the same fighter, but A common problem with Vettori is his inability to build his knockout game effectively. Robert cannot be defeated by Vitori, which means Vitori must have the ability to damage Whittaker, or have the ability to outnumber him or deal more damage. Vitori is a very good striker, but he’s up against a good striker with a good left hook and a very good timing that will really let Vitori down. Marvin’s speed and tenacity could make this game more interesting (especially since Whitaker has been injured at least once in five of his last six games), but not enough to provoke an upset for me.
Robert Whitaker’s decision.
Zane Simon: If this is more for Whittaker than one might expect Much harder, I really wouldn’t be surprised. When faced with an opponent who can shoot and fight back, Whitaker tends to chase long exchanges in the pocket, which means he gets hit a lot himself. Vettori is unlikely to fit in with the kind of low-output turn-based gameplay that Gastelum and Cannonier are lost in, which could mean the fight turns out to be a lot more intense than it seems like it should be. Unfortunately for Vitori, although his boxing has improved over the years, he has not really shown himself as a strong boxer and has a very limited skill package. So I’m still going to take
Robert Whitaker’s decision.
Just don’t think it’s an easy win.
Pick Whitaker Staff: Bissell Er, Mookie, Stephen, Zane, Anton
Staff Picking Vettori: Dayne
Alessio Di Chirico vs. Roman Kopylov
Bissell: This is an interesting matchup to test my theory. Di Chirico quietly fought 10 fights in the UFC. He has a humble 40% wp that includes wins over Joaquin Buckley, Julian Marquez and Oluwale Bamgbose. But his 40% is much better than Kopylov’s wp zero fat. He has a 0-2 record in the UFC since joining Fight Nights Global (where he was the champion).
when you consider their overall MMA At wp, Kopylov had an 80% increase compared to Di Chirico’s previous average of 68.42. But the theory is that Di Chirico’s success in the UFC means he’ll be a winner in Paris. Alessio di Chirico is up to the decision.
These two are in Big problems at the UFC level. For Di Chirico, his low-output “multi-talented, nothing to do” style means that any opponent who can fight him in a more technically skilled fight in any field can find a path to victory. For Kopilov, his bully-volume hitting game has shown a big hole, with few boxers finding his body intimidating, and many hitting harder than him. Still, I think Kopilov has more room to surprise and impress everyone here. Will Diccirico do enough stealing if he can stay busy?
Roman Kopylov up to decision.
Pick Di Chirico staff: Bissell, Mookie, Stephie
Pick Kopilov’s staff: Zane, Dane, Anton
vs. John Mark Desi
Bissell: The wps in this game forced me to pick veteran and underdog John Makdessi here. Over their overall MMA career, Makdessi’s wp was 0.22% lower than Nasrat Haqparast, and Makdessi competed seven times as much as Haqparast. But, again, this is the UFC number we care about here.
by With a 5-4 record, Haqparast’s UFC wp of 55.56% is 5.55% lower than Makdessi’s 61.11%. Although Makdessi fought twice as many UFC fights as his opponents, he scored more points.
John Makdessi passed the decision.
Mookie Alexander: Crazy fun fight. Mark Desi has been with the UFC for 12 years, which is crazy. Makdessi is the more versatile striker, but Haqparast has faster, stronger hands and can cause problems for the Canadian with his lefty stance. Haqparast has historically fought against those who have depth in the game, and he almost refuses to wrestle, so he can’t take advantage of Makdessi’s weakness. However, I feel that Makdessi’s lack of strength and physicality means that Haqparast will remain aggressive and accumulate more damaging blows over the course of the game.
Nasrat Haqparast is up to .
Nasrat Haqparast’s time at the UFC seems to be marked by a surprising stagnation. A dynamic, fast athlete who enters the cut with solid foundations, his boxing game continues to evolve and he has a competitive scramble on the mat. And…it feels a lot like where he is now in 5 years. In his last fight, Bobby Green was able to bring a nice counter-boxing match to Haqparast and find his clean combo over and over. Is Makdessi as sleek as Green, no, probably not. But he is definitely capable of holding on to 3 more technical rounds. Despite a couple of tough KO losses, he tends to be pretty solid when it comes to doing it. The sick pass decided to seize the opportunity
Pick Haqparast Staff: Mookie
Staff pick Makdessi: Bissell, Stephie, Zane , Dane, Anton
Arno Ellens )
This is A fight between two UFC rookies, so both UFC wp is 0. This means I will compare their overall MMA wp. That means I pick William Gomis (83.33%) to please his hometown audience and beat Jarno Ellens (76.74%). William Gomis of TKO.
As far as raw prospects go, I like these two guys a lot. They’re fast, and both are more than willing to throw with power while sitting in their pockets. Between them, however, Gomis appears to be the more creative combination striker and more confident contender. I’d expect both to have some fiery clashes in the pockets and some wild exchanges on the ground, but I think Gomis is often better off because of that. William Gomis passed the decision.
Select Gomis staff: Bissell, Stephie, Zane, Dayne, Anton
Staff Pick Errens: Mookie
Bissell: When you look at Charles Jourdain’s numbers you notice that although he is a A dynamic fighter who has fought some incredible fights, but he hasn’t had much success raising his hands. His UFC wp is only 44.44%. Nathanial Wood has 71.43 wp. This is the biggest wp difference on the entire card. Jourdain has only two more UFC fights than Wood, and he’s also behind the Brit in MMA wp. Jourdain scored 68.42% in that category compared to Wood’s 78.26% (he also had four more total fights than Jourdain).
Nathaniel Wood is up to the decision.
: Great matchup. A lot of the fight depends on how well Wood can hold Jourdain back, as Jourdain is great at leading the dance, but he can struggle a bit when under pressure. I think Jourdain got a big deal against Shane Burgos and had a reason to beat Shane 10-8 in the final round. Wood is just getting started in the featherweight bout, and while he looked great against Charles Rosa, this Charles is a more potent offensive fighter. It really can be either way, especially with Wood’s desire to be fast paced and the prospect of the two hurting each other. I believe Jourdain’s durability is better than Wood’s so the choice is
Charles Jourdain’s decision.
Zane Simon: I’m really dissatisfied with this fight. On the one hand, Wood is perfectly patient with pressure, smooth counter-attacks, and even some solid knockdowns that pit Jourdain’s discomfort against his back foot. On the other hand, I’m a little concerned about the way Wood tends to hang out in his pockets after a combination and put himself in a counter-attack. If he does it regularly to Jourdain, there’s absolutely a chance the Canadian will break his violence. Especially at 145, Wood would really be a small warrior. Still, I’d accept Wood’s consistency over Jourdain’s dynamic strikes.
Nathaniel Wood is up to the decision.
Pick Jourdain Staff: Mookie, Stephie, Dane, Anton
Timber pickers: Bissell, Zane
Dustin Stoltzforth and Absupyan Magomedov
Here’s another fun game – supporting wp theory. Although his 1-3 UFC record (25% wp) isn’t impressive, I’d go with Stoltzfus because his opponent is an Octagon rookie (hence 0% UFC wp). When you look at their MMA totals, you can see that Abusupiyan Magomedov, who is only one fight less than Stoltzforth, has a higher wp. So we’ll see if Stoltzfus’ lone Octagon success is a good predictor of how he’ll deal with someone better than he did before the big show.
Dustin Stoltzfus up to decision.
Zane Simon: Both are slow and awkward middleweights, but Magomedov has some decent technical skills to take advantage of. Stoltzfus tends to give up in any fight, but if it means ending up on the same stage with Magomedov, I think he’s going to have real problems. Submitted by Abusupiyan Magomedov, Round 2.
Staff Pick Stoltzfus: Bissell
Pick Magomedov staff: Mookie, Stephie, Zane, Dayne, Anton
vs. Michal Figuerak
Bissell: Fares Ziam is 2-2 (50% wp ) to win Pass Figlak’s 0% wp for no UFC experience. Outside of the UFC, Figuerak is undefeated (100% wp) in 8 fights. Ziam’s total MMA wp is 75. Firas Ziam by TKO.
Zane Simon: I really like the basics of Figlak games. He boxed on volume and worked head and body in pockets. But it’s not a style of power, and the game doesn’t have many subsections yet. It would be enough if he could really put pressure on Ziam, but otherwise, Ziam has a major range advantage and mixes his tools more.
Fares Ziam passed the decision.
Pick Ziam staff: Bissell, Mookie, Stephie, Zane
Picking Figlak Staff : Dayne, Anton
Nasuldine Imavov vs. Joaquin Barkley
Bissell: Nassourdine Imavov is another French fighter I picked based on this theory. His wp is 75% compared to Joaquin Barkley’s 71.43%. Barkley has a paltry 0.38% wp advantage in overall MMA fights.
Submitted by Nasuldine Imavov.
Mookie Alexander : This fight should be on the cards to the next level. Barkley has tremendous explosiveness and can seriously test Imavov’s jaw, and I worry about how Imavov will handle the pressure on Barkley. In theory, Imavov’s game is more well rounded, but I think of his victories over Ian Heinisch and Edmen Shahbazyan, which I could easily argue were due to a fading fighter and a broken prospect of aerobics. Barkley’s defense isn’t sound and his gas tank isn’t great, but I can clearly see him struggling to make a big shot that puts Imavov out in difficult spots. If we got Barkley yelling at Durayev instead of Brushing past Abdul Razak Al Hassan’s Buckley, I’m sure we’ll be upset. Hey this is my final prediction, I don’t want to just use chalk.
Joaquin Barkley, TKO, Round 2
Both are very good at spotting opportunities to end a fight and exploiting them. Whatever the opportunity before him, Barkley tends to be more aggressive and persistent, while Imavov feints and waits for the right moment to shoot. Given Barkley’s penchant for straight-line and fixed-rhythm fights, I think he’ll give Imavov too many goals.
Nassourdine Imavov passed the club-n-sub round 1.
Staff pick Imavov: Bissell, Stephie, Zane, Dayne , Anton
Pick Barkley Staff: Mookie
Benoit Saint-Denis vs . Gabriel Miranda
Bissell: The theory is true if you can spend an unforgettable night in France. Benoit Saint-Denis is making his Octagon debut with Gabriel Miranda, so his 50% wp means he gets my pick here.
KO’s Benoit Saint-Denis.
Totally don’t believe Miranda has the physicality, wrestling or amazing ability to compete at this level the match of.
Benoit Saint-Denis passed TKO, 3rd round.
Pick St Denis Staff: Bissell , Mookie, Stephie, Zane, Dayne, Anton
Pick Miranda employees:
Khalid Taha with Christian Quinones
Cristian Quinonez with 1 A UFC record of -0 has a perfect 100% wp from a fight in the Contenders series. I pick him over Khalid Taha at 25% wp who has four fights in the UFC.
Christian Quinonez in TKO.
Zane Simon : I like the basics Khalid Taha’s game more. He’s a busy pocket puncher with real power in his hands. However, not much else happened. At this point, it’s doubtful there will be. Quinones threw the combo multiple times without a ton of volume or footwork, but Taha had too many ways to start falling behind. Really can see the low kick chewing him here. Cristian Quinonez passed the decision.
Staff Picking Taha: Dayne, Anton
Pick Quinonez Staff: Bissell, Mucci, Stephen, Zane
Irene Perez )
Bissell: I’m fading out another newcomer here. Stephanie Egger’s wp is 50%, although her overall MMA wp is 70%, well behind Ailin Perez’s 87.5%.
Stephanie Egger’s decision.
Perez is very raw and often requires physicality and knockdowns to take over fights . Egger is bigger and has a nasty knack for finding armrests. Submitted by Stephanie Egger, Round 1.
Employee Picks Perez:
Pick Egger Staff: Bissell, Mookie, Stephie, Zane, Dayne, Anton