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MMASucka’s UFC 281 Staff Picks

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A massive night of fights is ahead for our MMASucka staff picks.

UFC 281 will take place in just a few short hours tonight, November 12th from Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. This marks the promotion’s sixth-ever event from “The Big Apple” and return to the city for the first time since November of 2021’s welterweight championship rematch between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington. Tonight’s pay-per-view portion will begin at 10:00pm ET (7:00pm PT) available for purchase through ESPN+.

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Stay tuned to MMASucka for live results from the entire UFC 281: Adesanya vs. Pereira event with the early preliminary card on UFC Fight Pass at 6:00pm ET (3:00pm PT) and the regular preliminary card on ESPNEWS at 8:00pm ET (5:00pm PT).

The Fights

Two thrilling title fights will be settled to close the night ahead.

The featured main event will see a grudge match settled for the UFC middleweight title between current champion Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira. Their history dates back to combat in kickboxing where Pereira scored both a unanimous decision in 2016 and third round knockout victory in 2017 over Adesanya.

Adesanya, however, has since gone on to reign in MMA as the 185-pound king with five defenses of his championship including two already this year over Robert Whittaker in a February rematch and Jared Cannonier in July. A win tonight would be his 13th with the promotion and the 24th of his career. Adesanya’s opponent, Pereira, is set for only his eighth professional MMA fight having only one defeat in his October of 2015 debut. The former two-divisional Glory champion will also look for his third win of 2022 after a unanimous decision over Bruno Silva and a vicious first-round knockout of Sean Strickland.

In the co-main event, Carla Esparza and Zhang Weili will faceoff for a possible five rounds in contest for the strawweight championship. Two-time champion Esparza has won six in-a-row dating back to consecutive losses in 2018 and looks for her second defense after reclaiming the championship she once held for a brief stint in 2014 and early 2015. Weili, another former champion at 115 pounds, looks to reclaim her status as the best of the division after losing her belt to Rose Namajunas in April of last year.

Also on the main card sees a thrilling lightweight battle between fan-favorite veterans Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler, a retirement fight for former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar against Chris Gutierrez, and a striker versus grappler matchup between Dan Hooker and Claudio Puelles respectively.

Find our MMASucka staff picks for the UFC 281 pay-per-view further below.

Staff Picks

Staff picks in 2022 will follow the same set of rules from the 2021 season. Throughout the calendar year, staff picks will be composed of main card fights from both UFC and Bellator events. Main card fights and selected preliminary fights will be included for PFL MMA. Dana White’s Contender Series are composed of the entire fight card.

The WINNER of staff picks in 2022 will have a choice between receiving a custom-made championship belt from ProAmBelts or a chain from Championship Chains. A winner is determined simply by the individual correctly picking the most victorious fighters at the year’s end. Nate Freeman secured his first victory with MMASucka in 2021 with a compiled record 243-136.

Who are the MMASucka staff picking to win at UFC Vegas 64: Rodriguez vs. Lemos?


Staff Records after UFC Vegas 64:

1. Wesley Riddle: 232-121
2. Michael DeSantis: 228-125
3. Frazer Krohn: 227-126
4. Nate Freeman: 222-216
5. Jeremy Brand: 214-133
6. Andrew Benjamin: 194-142
7T. William Dong: 173-106
7T. Tim Wheaton: 173-105
9T. Chris Presnell: 170-120
9T. Julio Monteros Jr.: 170-100
11. Brian Knight: 142-103
12. Jack Goodwillie: 127-67
13. Mike Lynch: 123-74
14. Brandon Joint: 115-74
15. Ash Camyab: 105-77
16. Coby Weinsier: 87-47
17. Chinyere Okafor: 72-38
18. Roemello Reyes: 71-44
19. Jacek Okninski: 70-58
20. Ben Jamieson: 44-25
21. Matt Bricker: 24-22
22. Joe Porter: 11-5

*Note – not all staff pick for every event*


Dan Hooker (21-12), -150
vs.
Claudio Puelles (13-2), +130

Lightweight Division
– 155 lbs. –

Jeremy Brand: Hooker via Unanimous Decision
Wesley Riddle: Hooker via Unanimous Decision
Michael DeSantis: Hooker via Unanimous Decision
Andrew Benjamin: Hooker via Round 2 TKO
Frazer Krohn: Hooker via Unanimous Decision
Nate Freeman: Puelles via Round 2 SUB
Tim Wheaton: Hooker via Round 3 TKO
Julio Monteros Jr.: Hooker via Unanimous Decision
Jack Goodwillie: Hooker via Unanimous Decision
Roemello Reyes: Hooker via Unanimous Decision
Ben Jamieson: Hooker via Round 2 TKO

Staff picking Hooker: 10
Staff picking Puelles: 1


Frankie Edgar (23-10-1), +200
vs.
Chris Gutierrez (18-3-2), -240

Bantamweight Division
– 135 lbs. –

Jeremy Brand: Edgar via Unanimous Decision
Wesley Riddle: Gutierrez via Round 2 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Gutierrez via Unanimous Decision
Andrew Benjamin: Edgar via Unanimous Decision
Frazer Krohn: Gutierrez via Round 2 TKO
Nate Freeman: Gutierrez via Unanimous Decision
Tim Wheaton: Gutierrez via Round 2 TKO
Julio Monteros Jr.: Gutierrez via Unanimous Decision
Jack Goodwillie: Edgar via Split Decision
Roemello Reyes: Gutierrez via Split Decision
Ben Jamieson: Gutierrez via Round 1 TKO

Staff picking Edgar: 3
Staff picking Gutierrez: 8


Dustin Poirier (28-7, 1 NC), -215
vs.
Michael Chandler (23-7), +185

Lightweight Division
– 155 lbs. –

Jeremy Brand: Poirier via Round 3 TKO
Wesley Riddle: Poirier via Split Decision
Michael DeSantis: Poirier via Round 2 TKO
Andrew Benjamin: Chandler via Round 1 TKO
Frazer Krohn: Poirier via Unanimous Decision
Nate Freeman: Poirier via Unanimous Decision
Tim Wheaton: Chandler via Unanimous Decision
Julio Monteros Jr.: Poirier via Round 3 TKO
Jack Goodwillie: Poirier via Unanimous Decision
Roemello Reyes: Poirier via Round 2 TKO
Ben Jamieson: Poirier via Unanimous Decision

Staff picking Poirier: 9
Staff picking Chandler: 2


Carla Esparza (20-6), +280
vs.
Zhang Weili (22-3), -340

Women’s Strawweight Divisional Championship
Co-Main Event
– 115 lbs. –

Jeremy Brand: Weili via Round 3 TKO
Wesley Riddle: Weili via Round 3 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Weili via Round 2 TKO
Andrew Benjamin: Weili via Split Decision
Frazer Krohn: Weili via Round 4 TKO
Nate Freeman: Weili via Round 3 TKO
Tim Wheaton: Weili via Round 2 TKO
Julio Monteros Jr.: Weili via Round 3 TKO
Jack Goodwillie: Weili via Unanimous Decision
Roemello Reyes: Weili via Round 3 TKO
Ben Jamieson: Weili via Round 1 SUB

Staff picking Esparza: 0
Staff picking Weili: 11


Israel Adesanya (23-1), -215
vs.
Alex Pereira (6-1), +185

Middleweight Divisional Championship
Main Event

– 185 lbs. –

Jeremy Brand: Adesanya via Round 4 TKO
Wesley Riddle: Adesanya via Unanimous Decision
Michael DeSantis: Adesanya via Unanimous Decision
Andrew Benjamin: Adesanya via Round 3 TKO
Frazer Krohn: Adesanya via Round 4 TKO
Nate Freeman: Adesanya via Split Decision
Tim Wheaton: Pereira via Round 4 TKO
Julio Monteros Jr.: Pereira via Round 3 TKO
Jack Goodwillie: Pereira via Round 2 TKO
Roemello Reyes: Adesanya via Round 3 TKO
Ben Jamieson: Adesanya via Round 2 TKO

Staff picking Adesanya: 8
Staff picking Pereira: 3

*Fight odds from DraftKings*

UFC 281 FEATURED IMAGE:

Embed from Getty Images

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Wesley Riddle is a 25-year-old writer out of Harrisonburg, Virginia and a recent graduate from Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia, having obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Health and Physical Education. Watching the draw between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard from 2011 sparked his interest in the sport of mixed martial arts. He created "All That MMA" on Twitter, which came to birth in December of 2013. He would join with MMASucka in the later quarter of 2016. Some of Riddle's hobbies include music, playing golf, watching horror movies, and working with non-profit organizations throughout his community. You can follow him on Twitter at @AllThatMMA or @WesleyRiddleMMA, and on Instagram @WesleyRiddle.

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