MMASucka’s UFC Vegas 33 Staff Picks

UFC Vegas 33
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 30: In this handout photo provided by the UFC, (L-R) Opponents Cheyanne Buys and Gloria de Paula of Brazil face off during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at UFC APEX on July 30, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Mixed martial arts’ top-two promotions will go head-to-head tonight, thus providing two exciting fight cards for our MMASucka staff picks. UFC Vegas 33, also titled UFC on ESPN 28, will take place in just a few short hours this July 31 from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. The main card will begin at 9:00pm ET (6:00pm PT) live on both ESPN for cable users and ESPN+ for subscribers.

Stay tuned this afternoon for our Bellator 263 staff picks, the promotion’s main card beginning one hour following the start UFC Vegas 33.

The Fights

Top-ranked middleweights look to stake their claim in tonight’s main event between Uriah Hall and Sean Strickland. Hall currently rides a four-fight win streak since the latter portion of 2018, most recently having his rematch against Chris Weidman end in just 17 seconds following a gruesome leg injury from Weidman. An additional victory would not only mark the longest stretch of wins of Hall’s career but move the TUF 17 veteran one step closer towards a potential title shot. His opponent, Strickland, also rides a respectable four-fight streak including a November 2020 knockout of Brendan Allen and a one-sided decision over Krzysztof Jotko. Will the former King of the Cage champion make a statement in his first UFC main event?


In the co-main event, South Korea’s Kyung Ho Kang will take on Brazil’s Rani Yahya in the bantamweight division. Former ROAD FC champion Kang makes his return to the octagon after a 19-month hiatus, lastly taking a split decision win over Liu Pingyuan. Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai black belt Yahya looks to secure a 27th career win in what will mark his 40th fight since his professional beginnings in 2002.

A preliminary fight between Ryan Benoit and Zarrukh Adashev will be included for our staff picks. See all the fights counted from UFC Vegas 33 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 August.

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 33: Hall vs. Strickland below.

Staff Records after UFC Vegas 32:

1. Nate Freeman: 117-69
2. Wesley Riddle: 116-70
3. Michael DeSantis: 113-73
4. Frazer Krohn: 107-79
5. Ash Camyab: 103-74
6. Jeremy Brand: 101-86
7T. Mitchell Banuelos: 98-84
7T. Mike Lynch: 98-83
9. Tim Wheaton: 86-63
10. Andrew Benjamin: 78-85
11. Kenny Lee: 77-64
12. Matt Bricker: 57-57
13. Brandon Joint: 43-20
14. Maria Morales: 5-0
15. Chris Presnell: 2-3

*Note – not all staff pick for every event*

Ryan Benoit (10-7) vs. Zarrukh Adashev (3-3)

Jeremy Brand: Adashev via UD
Wesley Riddle: Benoit via UD
Michael DeSantis: Adashev via UD
Mitchell Banuelos: Benoit via UD
Ash Camyab: Benoit via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Benoit via UD
Frazer Krohn: Benoit via UD
Mike Lynch: Benoit via UD
Nate Freeman: Benoit via UD
Brandon Joint: Benoit via Round 2 TKO
Chris Presnell: Benoit via UD

Staff picking Benoit: 9
Staff picking Adashev: 2

Bryan Barberena (15-7) vs. Jason Witt (18-7)

Jeremy Brand: Barberena via Round 2 TKO
Wesley Riddle: Barberena via Round 2 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Barberena via Round 1 TKO
Mitchell Banuelos: Barberena via UD
Ash Camyab: Barberena via Round 2 TKO
Andrew Benjamin: Barberena via UD
Frazer Krohn: Barberena via Round 3 TKO
Mike Lynch: Barberena via Round 1 TKO
Nate Freeman: Barberena via Round 2 TKO
Brandon Joint: Barberena via UD
Chris Presnell: Barberena via Round 2 TKO

Staff picking Barberena: 11
Staff picking Witt: 0

Niklas Stolze (12-4) vs. Jared Gooden (17-6)

Jeremy Brand: Stolze via UD
Wesley Riddle: Stolze via Round 2 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Stolze via UD
Mitchell Banuelos: Stolze via UD
Ash Camyab: Stolze via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Gooden via UD
Frazer Krohn: Stolze via UD
Mike Lynch: Gooden via Round 1 TKO
Nate Freeman: Stolze via UD
Brandon Joint: Stolze via Round 2 SUB
Chris Presnell: Stolze via UD

Staff picking Stolze: 9
Staff picking Gooden: 2

Cheyanne Buys (5-2) vs. Gloria de Paula (5-3)

Jeremy Brand: Buys via UD
Wesley Riddle: Buys via UD
Michael DeSantis: Buys via UD
Mitchell Banuelos: Buys via UD
Ash Camyab: Buys via UD
Andrew Benjamin: de Paula via UD
Frazer Krohn: Buys via Round 3 SUB
Mike Lynch: de Paula via Round 2 TKO
Nate Freeman: Buys via UD
Brandon Joint: de Paula via UD
Chris Presnell: Buys via UD

Staff picking Buys: 8
Staff picking de Paula: 3

Kyung Ho Kang (17-8, 1 NC) vs. Rani Yahya (27-10-1, 1 NC)

Jeremy Brand: Kang via UD
Wesley Riddle: Yahya via Round 2 SUB
Michael DeSantis: Yahya via Round 2 SUB
Mitchell Banuelos: Kang via UD
Ash Camyab: Yahya via Round 3 SUB
Andrew Benjamin: Yahya via Round 2 SUB
Frazer Krohn: Yahya via Round 2 SUB
Mike Lynch: Yahya via Round 1 SUB
Nate Freeman: Yahya via Round 3 SUB
Brandon Joint: Yahya via UD
Chris Presnell: Kang via UD

Staff picking Kang: 3
Staff picking Yahya: 8

Uriah Hall (18-9) vs. Sean Strickland (23-3-1)

Jeremy Brand: Strickland via Round 3 TKO
Wesley Riddle: Hall via Round 3 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Strickland via UD
Mitchell Banuelos: Hall via Round 2 TKO
Ash Camyab: Hall via Round 3 TKO
Andrew Benjamin: Hall via Round 2 TKO
Frazer Krohn: Hall via Round 3 TKO
Mike Lynch: Strickland via Round 4 TKO
Nate Freeman: Hall via Round 1 TKO
Brandon Joint: Hall via Round 1 TKO
Chris Presnell: Strickland via Round 3 TKO

Staff picking Hall: 7
Staff picking Strickland: 4

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