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UFC On ESPN+ 39: Staff Picks

The Back Sports Page MMA team returns for another edition of staff picks. UFC on ESPN+ 39: Hall vs Silva features the final chapter of a legend, as ‘The Spider’ will fight for the last time.

Myself and Alexis Rodriguez submitted our picks for this Halloween UFC Fight Night. Uriah Hall faces the man he molded his game after, Bryce Mitchell looks to keep the momentum going versus Andre Fili, rising star Kevin Holland returns, and more this Saturday on ESPN+.

Here we go.

Uriah Hall (16-9) vs Anderson Silva (34-10)

Alexis Rodriguez: When Uriah Hall first burst onto the scene, he was supposed to be the next Anderson Silva. His skills and power were astounding. However, after years of being a middling contender, he’s finally meeting the legend he was compared to for so long.

Silva is fighting his final UFC bout. He may not be what he once was, but he’s still got some moves left and is looking to put on a show and have fun.

Against Hall, that is possible, but Hall is either too apprehensive or a monster. Silva may look to get going early, considering it’s his last bout. It feels like Hall may have enough to earn a decision win with ‘The Spider’ still showing some flashes of his past self.

Pick: Uriah Hall by Unanimous Decision

Ryan Truland: This fight is quite frankly years in the making. The two were supposed to square off four years ago at UFC 198, but Silva withdrew for medical reasons.

We still get to see these comparable strikers throw down; unfortunately they’re both in the late stages of their careers.

They’re both fighting for something though. Hall, who’s currently ranked 10th at middleweight, must pick up this victory if he wishes to make a final run up the ranks. Meanwhile, Silva is looking to ride off on top and avoid losing his fianl three contests.

As a fan of both, I admit I don’t want to see either lose this fight, but someone has to. I imagine this going similarly to the Adesanya-Silva match in 2019. I’d be very surprised if ‘The Spider’ finishes his younger counterpart.

Pick: Uriah Hall by Unanimous Decision

Draftkings Odds: Hall (-230) vs Silva (+185)

Bryce Mitchell (13-1) vs Andre Fili (21-7)

Alexis Rodriguez: Mitchell wants to take this fight to the ground as quick as possible. He’s a super aggressive grappler and a good enough wrestler to drag fights to the mat.

Fili is sizably his biggest step up in competition. He has struggled against those with good wrestling ability, but has power in his hands. Fili will look to use his kicks to keep the fight standing and at his preferred distance.

He’s a veteran with a ton of experience also. ‘Thug Nasty’ is exciting because of his style and uniqueness. However, it feels like Fili may be hitting his stride. He’ll do just enough to escape with a decision victory.

Pick: Andre Fili by unanimous Decision

Ryan Truland: Camo shorts alert! ‘Thug Nasty’ Bryce Mitchell will finally get to rock his camouflage shorts this weekend. Both he and his opponent Andre Fili welcome taking the fight to the ground, but Mitchell has displayed an advanced level of grappling.

The way he worked Charles Rosa for the whole fifteen minutes really opened a lot of people’s eyes to his talent. Andre Fili is undoubtedly his toughest test to date though.

In 15 UFC appearances, ‘Touchy’ Fili has only been finished three times; two of which came against Max Holloway and Yair Rodriguez. He’s durable, fast, and an underrated wrestler.

This is a big test for the young fighter from Arkansas, but similar to Fili, he’s tough as nails. I don’t see Fili finishing Mitchell, but I can see scenarios where the latter can submit the former.

I think ‘Thug Nasty’ will threaten several submissions that Fili will escape from, but he’ll eventually lock one in for the finish.

Pick: Bryce Mitchell by Submission, Rd. 2

Draftkings Odds: Mitchell (-150) vs Fili (+120)

Kevin Holland (19-5) vs Charlie Ontiveros (11-6)

Alexis Rodriguez: Holland is fighting a very short-notice replacement in Ontiveros. All signs are pointing towards Holland taking this fight quite easily.

Ontiveros hasn’t necessarily fought top competition and when he has, he has been stopped. Holland has some momentum on his side for this one and should score an early finish due to his rangy strikes.

Pick: Kevin Holland by KO, Rd. 1

Ryan Truland: Kevin Holland must be grateful to just be fighting this Saturday after the opponent change. Holland-Ontiveros is actually a karate match-up when you consider each’s backgrounds.

The fact of the matter is Holland is better than Ontiveros though. I can’t envision Ontiveros besting him on the feet or being able to get him on the ground.

This is a very tough debut for Ontiveros, despite him having faced Geoff Neal and Michael ‘Venom’ Page prior to joining the UFC. Both of whom finished Ontiveros early.

Holland will earn himself a big-time fight with a finish this weekend.

Pick: Kevin Holland by KO, Rd. 2

Draftkings Odds: Currently N/A Due to late-replacement

Maurice Greene (9-5) vs Greg Hardy (6-2)

Alexis Rodriguez: Greg Hardy is still a raw fighter with attributes that have helped him notch some quick victories. He showed an ability to adjust against Yorgan de Castro with a decision win.

Greene is a former kickboxer, but is a more well-rounded fighter nowadays, as seen in his last victory which came via submission. Still, Hardy has shown enough growth and power to trouble Greene.

He is only improving and will look to capitalize with a highlight finish.

Pick: Greg Hardy by TKO, Rd. 1

Ryan Truland: Both of these guys have improved dramatically since we first laid eyes on them a few years back. Hardy has a much higher ceiling, talent wise, than Greene and that will be evident Saturday.

I think he’ll be too strong and too powerful for the ‘Crochet Boss’. Hardy has said all week that he’ll show improvement once again; I believe him.

Hate him all you want, but this guy has worked very hard to get to where he is today in this sport. Yes, his athleticism and power have carried him a ways, but he showed a lot in his decision loss to Alexander Volkov last year.

‘The Prince of War’ is going to cruise past Greene with a stoppage.

Pick: Greg Hardy by TKO, Rd. 1

Draftkings Odds: Hardy (-335) vs Greene (+250)

Bobby Green (27-10-1) vs Thiago Moises (13-4)

Alexis Rodriguez: Bobby Green is on a roll right now. He’s won all three of his fights in 2020 and has looked rejuvenated in those victories. Meanwhile, Moises is coming off a submission win over Michael Johnson and has alternated wins and losses lately.

The ground game is key for Moises and Green is the better striker on the surface. He should take another decision in a fight where he’ll be able to doe enough boxing to outpoint his opponent.

Pick: Bobby Green by Unanimous Decision

Ryan Truland: How can anyone not like Bobby Green? A true class act and he’s slowly proving he’s a true problem at lightweight also. The only person to ever finish him was Dustin Poirier. It seems as though he’s finally putting it all together.

However, that doesn’t mean that Thiago Moises can’t halt the momentum that Green has. He’s a 25 year old American Top Team product, who’s fresh off a submission victory over Michael Johnson.

I think Green will be able to avoid getting submitted by Moises. I also believe he’ll out-strike Moises and earn a tough decision win.

Pick: Bobby Green by Unanimous Decision

Draftkings Odds: Green (-335) vs Moises (+245)

UFC on ESPN+ 39: Hall vs Silva is live this Saturday on Halloween! Prelims begin at 4pm (ET) with the main card following at 7pm (ET), both only on ESPN+.

**Draftkings Odds recorded at 7:00 pm (ET) on Thursday (10/29)**

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