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UNKNOWN MMA STAFF PICKS: UFC 236

JOHANN CASTRO

Max Holloway vs. Dustin Poirier: Holloway, 3rd Round TKO

This could very well be the most exciting fight of 2019 so far, with both guys looking unbeatable as of late. The first two rounds will be very competitive, with Holloway landing with more volume but Poirier landing the larger, more significant strikes. Ultimately, the crisp attack of Holloway overwhelms Poirier’s brawl-heavy style and Holloway stops a gassed Poirier midway through the fight.

Kelvin Gastelum vs. Israel Adesanya: Adesanya, Decision

In my opinion, this is a total coin flip. Despite the vast difference of skillset, both guys have been unsolvable by recent opponents. This will be Adesanya’s toughest fight in the octagon, but from a stylistic perspective, Gastelum plays right into what he typically thrives against- brawl-heavy fighters with an emphasis on closing the distance and landing power shots. Gastelum lands some big shots that stun Adesanya, but Israel spends the majority of the fight at his range and leading the dance, and thus ends up taking a decision.

Eryk Anders vs. Khalil Rountree: Anders, 2nd Round KO

Anders sets the pace of the fight early, putting pressure on Rountree and forcing him out of his element against the cage. After a constant barrage in round one, Anders lands that powerful right hand to shut the lights out on Rountree early in the second.

Alan Jouban vs. Dwight Grant: Grant, 1st Round KO

Jouban sets the pace early, taking octagon control and landing some clean shots that stun Grant. As the first progresses, Jouban begins to fade as he has been accustomed to doing in past outings, and the power of Grant shows up, as he puts out a somewhat exhausted Jouban late in the first.

Ovince St. Preux vs. Nikita Krylov: Krylov, Decision

Another coin flip fight. With this being a rematch, it doesn’t seem inconceivable to think both guys come out very composed and conservatively choose their shots for the first round and a half or so. If that comes to fruition, it’s hard to envision St. Preux winning a points battle against the more technical fighter in Krylov. That being said, the Von Preux Choke is always in the cards…T

Prelim Picks: Turner, Pantoja, Griffin, Salmon, Muhammad, Jackson, Botelho, Davis

RORY ROBINSON

Max Holloway vs. Dustin Poirier: Max Holloway – TKO round 4.

Max is truly a special talent. Being able to mix strikes perfectly together both stances is gonna be the determining factor. Max will pour it on a ultimately finish a tough Dustin.

Kelvin Gastelum vs. Israel Adesanya: Israel Adesanya– DEC.

Izzy will be smart here. Picking shots, playing with range and slowly picking apart Kelvin while avoiding big shots. It won’t be easy, but Izzy leaves with a belt.

Eryk Anders vs. Khalil Rountree: Eryk Anders– KO round 1.

This could go either way, expect fireworks and huge punches. Roundtree gets caught with a huge left hand.

Alan Jouban vs. Dwight Grant: Dwight Grant- DEC.

A lackluster decision victory. 

Ovince St. Preux vs. Nikita Krylov: Ovince – Sub round 2.

A takedown will lead to ground and pound that ultimately ends with a choke.

Preliminary Card: Jalin Turner KO, Wilson Reis SUB, Max Griffin DEC, Boston Salmon TKO, Curtis Millender KO, Andre Soukhamthath TKO, Poliana Botelho DEC, Randy Costa DEC

WHITNEY SHARMA

Max Holloway vs. Dustin Poirier: Poirer, 4th rd. KO

Kelvin Gastelum vs. Israel Adesanya: Adesanya, split dec.

Eryk Anders vs. Khalil Rountree: Roundtree, UD

Alan Jouban vs. Dwight Grant: Grant, 3rd rd. KO

Ovince St. Preux vs. Nikita Krylov: Ovince St. Preux, 2nd rd. submission, RNC

Prelim Picks: David, Mueller, Soukhamthath, Muhammad, Taha, Griffin, Reis, Frevola

JASON WADE

Holloway vs Poirier: Holloway via 5th round TKO. Both Holloway and Poirier will duke it out with their similar skill sets. Although, Poirier is probably much better at using his legs, Holloway’s ability to control distance will play a role throughout all five rounds and will eventually get the stop. Also, take into account Holloway may have the advantage in ground technique. Gastelum vs Adesanya: Adesanya via 3rd round KO. This fight will definitely be a battle of who implements their style first. Adesanya’s ability to dictate range and exploit openings from his years in kickboxing will give him an edge. Gastelum will most likely try an approach that closes in distance and sets up for takedowns. I see Adesanya’s striking winning before Gastelum’s grind kicks into high gear; making another victory for the StyleBender. Anders vs Rountree: Rountree via split decision. Once again, I see a slugfest happening between two fighters with similar styles. It will be a smooth back and forth with both trying to be efficient in trying to at least sway the judges. Rountree’s experience might make the difference. 

Grant vs Jouban: Jouban via second round submission (RNC). Grant will eventually get overwhelmed by Jouban’s reach advantage. Both are similar in how they fight but Jouban’s attributes and experience will land him on top of ground exchange and eventually lead to a choke. Krylov vs Saint Preux: Krylov via first round submission. This is a very even match that I think will end in an upset. The difference maker will be Krylov’s hunger to rise on the rankings. It’s easy to see Saint Preux and Krylov get into a high pace in the first round that leads to the ground. Although, Saint Preux has shown good ground awareness by pulling of the UFC’s first Von Flux choke, I don’t see him coming on top with Krylov.

BRANDON DIMAS

Max Holloway vs. Dustin Poirier: Poirier – 4th rd TKO

Kelvin Gastelum vs. Israel Adesanya: Gastelum – 3rd rd TKO

Eryk Anders vs. Khalil Rountree: Eryk Anders – 2nd Rd TKO

Alan Jouban vs. Dwight Grant: Alan Jouban – UD split decision

Ovince St. Preux vs. Nikita Krylov: OSP – Submission 2nd Rd TKO

Beto Acevedo

Max Holloway vs. Dustin Poirier: Holloway, 4th rd. TKO

Kelvin Gastelum vs. Israel Adesanya: Adesanya, 2nd rd. TKO

Eryk Anders vs. Khalil Rountree: Anders, 2nd rd. TKO

Alan Jouban vs. Dwight Grant: Grant, 3rd rd. TKO

Ovince Saint Preux vs. Nikita Krylov: OSP, 2nd rd. Van Flute Choke

JASON MARLOWE

Max Holloway vs. Dustin Poirier: Holloway

Kelvin Gastelum vs. Israel Adesanya: Gastelum

Eryk Anders vs. Khalil Rountree: Anders

Alan Jouban vs. Dwight Grant: Jouban

Ovince St. Preux vs. Nikita Krylov: St. Preux

Prelim Picks: Turner, Reis, Imadaev, Salem, Millinder, Jackson, Botelho, Costa

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