Emrick Fight Night Breakdown: Song vs. Simon – A Night of Rising Stars and Grappling Dominance
UFC Fight Night: Song vs. Simon
April 29, 2023
Emrick’s 2023 UFC Fighter Pick Record (93-63-3)
Main Events (5-8)
Lock of the Week (8-4, 1 NC)
Dawg of the Week (4-9)
Lifetime Fighter Pick Record (391-225-6)
WBW: Hailey Cowan (7-2) vs. Jamey-Lyn Horth (5-0)
- Pick: Jamey Lyn-Horth
CW: Journey Newson (10-4, 1 NC) vs. Marcus McGhee (6-1)
- Pick: Journey Newson
WBW: Stephanie Egger (8-3) vs. Irina Alekseeva (4-1)
- Pick: Stephanie Egger
FLY: Cody Durden (14-4-1) vs. Charles Johnson (13-4)
- Pick: Cody Durden
HW: Martin Buday (11-1) vs. Jake Collier (13-8)
- Pick: Martin Buday *Dawg of the Week*
Photo via Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC
Main Card Predictions:
WW: Josh Quinlan (6-0, 1 NC) vs. Trey Waters (7-1)
- Pick: Josh Quinlan (-165)
- Quick Reasoning: Waters put up a competitive fight with Gabriel Bonfim prior to being submitted, but I think Quinlan is still too much for him here. Quinlan has looked very good in his DWCS and UFC debut performances, claiming early finishes in both (the DWCS was overturned to a NC). I thought Quinlan would be a bigger favorite here, but this could still be close early on. I’m expecting a TKO from the Quinlan side here.
HW: Marcos Rogerio de Lima (20-9-1) vs. Waldo Cortes-Acosta (9-0)
- Pick: Marcos Rogerio de Lima (-190)
- Quick Reasoning: Cortes-Acosta has shown he’s capable, but that’s against a few of the lower-tier HWs, including two decision wins over Chase Sherman and Jared Vanderaa. Waldo poses some solid boxing by sticking the jab at range, but the finishing threat isn’t as prevalent in the UFC so far. Rogerio de Lima is my pick here, not because I’m doubting Waldo’s capabilities, but because Marcos’ experience and success against the middle tier of the division is a huge factor. Of his losses in the UFC, five of six have come via submission and none via KO. Marcos has won three of four, finishing Andrei Arlovski and Ben Rothwell early into their fights. He’ll continue to pressure his opponent and should also have the grappling advantage in this one. I’m siding with Rogerio de Lima in this one, as the step up in competition seems a tad too steep for Waldo. Give me Marcos via decision or first-round finish here.
FW: Julian Erosa (28-11) vs. Fernando Padilla (14-4)
- Pick: Julian Erosa (-150)
- Quick Reasoning: I’ve officially flipped on this pick. Erosa comes to brawl, but he is so inconsistent. However, this is a massive step up in competition for Padilla and I think Erosa should be able to withstand the test. Padilla did face some level of competition to this point, such as Spike Carlyle in 2019. It’s been nearly two years since Padilla has fought last and Erosa has gone 3-2 in the UFC during this same stretch. I think the ring rust will get to Padilla here, especially as Erosa may pounce before Fernando is comfortable. Don’t discount Padilla entirely, as Erosa has a somewhat suspect chin from his many wars and Padilla is a finisher on the feet or ground. I’ll take the experience and activity from an inconsistent Erosa here, praying for the best. But, I’d also expect a finish in this one for sure.
MW: Rodolfo Vieira (8-2) vs. Cody Brundage (8-3)
- Pick: Rodolfo Vieira (-230)
- Quick Reasoning: These guys are both solid on the ground, but Vieira edges Brundage out in most aspects there and on the feet. Vieira has faced better competition, improved his striking, and can find his way to a submission here. Brundage has done well against the strikers he’s faced, but if the opponents are competent on the ground then it’s not turned out well (ex: Nick Maximov and Michal Oleksiejczuk). I like Rodolfo in all facets here and am predicting a first round submission.
MW: Caio Borralho (13-1, 1 NC) vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk (18-5, 1 NC)
- Pick: Caio Borralho (-335) *Lock of the Week*
- Quick Reasoning: A takedown and grappling machine against a guy who struggles on the ground with a 43% defense? Yes, give me Borralho to get this done. Michal does have a shot to finish Caio if this stays on the feet for too long, but I think Borralho would rather play it safe than sorry in hopes for a ranked opponent. Caio via submission is my pick here with hopes to go 4-0 and earn his first finish inside the octagon.
BW: #8 Song Yadong (19-7-1, 1 NC) vs. #10 Ricky Simon (20-3)
- Pick: Ricky Simon (-120)
- Quick Reasoning: In the two losses for Song Yadong, he’s been taken down at least once and is officially 2-2-1 when taken down in the UFC. His defense is only 71% and Ricky Simon lands over 6.5 takedowns per fifteen minutes of fight time. This would be Simon’s toughest bout since facing Rob Font in 2019, but his wrestling and finishing abilities have improved vastly since this fight. Yadong still doesn’t have that huge ranked win yet in the UFC, especially after tough losses to Kyler Phillips and Cory Sandhagen. Song does have a win over Marlon Vera in 2020 and his most recent win was a shellacking to Marlon Moraes in the first round. I think we know what to expect from Song with his willingness to throw down, but I’m curious to see if Simon can fight for a finish if/when the fight hits the ground. I’m not super excited for this card, but I am excited to see if Yadong can defend his ranking come Saturday. The pick is Simon by decision after plenty of takedowns, but the x-factor comes down to his cardio and if Yadong can stun him early.