MMASucka’s UFC Vegas 31 Staff Picks

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Part two of our double-header weekend for MMASucka staff picks is locked in and ready to go. UFC Vegas 31, also titled UFC on ESPN 26, will go down later tonight, July 17 from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. The main card will kick off at 10:00pm ET (7:00pm PT) live and available on both ESPN and ESPN+.

Recap our picks from last night’s Bellator 262: Velasquez vs. Kielholtz event here.

UFC Vegas 31 Fights

Two youthful, rising talents look to make a major statement in tonight’s lightweight main event between Russia’s Islam Makhachev and Brazil’s Thiago Moises. Makhachev has faced defeat once in his 20-fight career, currently riding a seven-fight win streak since September of 2016. He will look to further utilize his grappling dominance as he has shown in recent outings over notables Davi Ramos and Drew Dober. Makhachev’s opponent, American Top Team’s Moises, has impressed as of late with three straight wins in the last 14 months. As a significant underdog, the former two-time defending RFA champion will look to make the most of his opportunity in his first promotional main event.

One bids farewell as one makes a return in the co-main event between bantamweights Marion Reneau and Miesha Tate. In her final mixed martial arts fight, Reneau looks to give it her all while aiming to snap a four-fight decision skid. Former Strikeforce and UFC title holder Tate is back after nearly five years outside of the octagon.

Also featured on the main card sees knockout king Jeremy Stephens and Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Rodolfo Vieira against their respected opponents. See all the remaining UFC Vegas 31 fights counted for our staff picks further below.

Staff Picks

Throughout the calendar year, staff picks will be composed of main card fights from UFC and Bellator events and a variety of fights from PFL MMA. Dana White’s Contender Series will make its debut in the summer months.

The WINNER of staff picks in 2021 will have a choice between receiving a custom-made championship belt from ProAmBelts or chain from Championship Chains. For the third straight year, Michael DeSantis captured the 2020 victory compiling a record of 201-88.

Check out our staff picks for UFC Vegas 31: Makhachev vs. Moises below.

Staff Records after UFC 264

1T. Wesley Riddle: 106-65
1T. Nate Freeman: 106-65
3. Michael DeSantis: 103-68
4. Frazer Krohn: 99-72
5T. Jeremy Brand: 92-80
5T. Ash Camyab: 92-70
7. Mike Lynch: 91-75
8. Mitchell Banuelos: 88-79
9. Tim Wheaton: 80-59
10. Joshua Yule: 77-55
11. Andrew Benjamin: 72-81
12. Kenny Lee: 68-58
13. Matt Bricker: 49-55
14. Brandon Joint: 32-16
15. Maria Morales: 5-0

*Note – not all staff pick for every event*
*Note – Bellator 262 picks will be added to the above records NEXT weekend*

Gabriel Benitez (22-9) vs. Billy Quarantillo (15-2)

Jeremy Brand: Quarantillo via UD
Wesley Riddle: Quarantillo via UD
Michael DeSantis: Benitez via Round 3 TKO
Mitchell Banuelos: Benitez via UD
Matt Bricker: Quarantillo via Round 3 TKO
Ash Camyab: Benitez via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Quarantillo via UD
Frazer Krohn: Quarantillo via UD
Mike Lynch: Quarantillo via Round 2 TKO
Nate Freeman: Quarantillo via SD
Kenny Lee: Quarantillo via UD
Tim Wheaton: Quarantillo via UD
Brandon Joint: Benitez via Round 2 TKO

Staff picking Benitez: 4
Staff picking Quarantillo: 9

Rodolfo Vieira (7-1) vs. Dustin Stoltzfus (13-2)

Jeremy Brand: Vieira via Round 1 SUB
Wesley Riddle: Vieira via Round 1 SUB
Michael DeSantis: Vieira via Round 1 SUB
Mitchell Banuelos: Vieira via Round 1 SUB
Matt Bricker: Vieira via Round 1 SUB
Ash Camyab: Vieira via Round 1 SUB
Andrew Benjamin: Vieira via Round 1 SUB
Frazer Krohn: Vieira via Round 1 SUB
Mike Lynch: Vieira via Round 1 SUB
Nate Freeman: Vieira via Round 1 SUB
Kenny Lee: Vieira via Round 2 SUB
Tim Wheaton: Vieira via Round 1 SUB
Brandon Joint: Vieira via Round 2 SUB

Staff picking Vieira: 13
Staff picking Stoltzfus: 0

Jeremy Stephens (28-18, 1 NC) vs. Mateusz Gamrot (18-1, 1 NC)

Jeremy Brand: Stephens via Round 1 TKO
Wesley Riddle: Gamrot via Round 3 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Gamrot via UD
Mitchell Banuelos: Gamrot via UD
Matt Bricker: Gamrot via Round 2 TKO
Ash Camyab: Gamrot via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Stephens via UD
Frazer Krohn: Stephens via Round 2 TKO
Mike Lynch: Gamrot via Round 1 SUB
Nate Freeman: Gamrot via UD
Kenny Lee: Gamrot via UD
Tim Wheaton: Gamrot via UD
Brandon Joint: Gamrot via UD

Staff picking Stephens: 3
Staff picking Gamrot: 10

Marion Reneau (9-7-1) vs. Miesha Tate (18-7)

Jeremy Brand: Tate via Round 2 SUB
Wesley Riddle: Tate via SD
Michael DeSantis: Tate via UD
Mitchell Banuelos: Tate via UD
Matt Bricker: Reneau via SD
Ash Camyab: Tate via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Tate via Round 3 SUB
Frazer Krohn: Tate via UD
Mike Lynch: Reneau via UD
Nate Freeman: Tate via UD
Kenny Lee: Reneau via UD
Tim Wheaton: Reneau via UD
Brandon Joint: Tate via UD

Staff picking Reneau: 4
Staff picking Tate: 9

Islam Makhachev (19-1) vs. Thiago Moises (15-4)

Jeremy Brand: Makhachev via UD
Wesley Riddle: Makhachev via Round 4 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Makhachev via UD
Mitchell Banuelos: Makhachev via UD
Matt Bricker: Makhachev via UD
Ash Camyab: Makhachev via Round 5 TKO
Andrew Benjamin: Moises via Round 3 SUB
Frazer Krohn: Makhachev via Round 3 SUB
Mike Lynch: Makhachev via UD
Nate Freeman: Makhachev via Round 4 TKO
Kenny Lee: Makhachev via UD
Tim Wheaton: Makhachev via UD
Brandon Joint: Makhachev via UD

Staff picking Makhachev: 12
Staff picking Moises: 1

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Wesley Riddle is a 29-year-old writer residing in Raleigh, North Carolina from Harrisonburg, Virginia. He has been part of the MMASucka team since the fourth quarter of 2016. Additionally, he serves as a writer with partner site Last Word on Motorsports.

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