After six straight weeks at venues not named “UFC Apex,” the octagon returned home on Saturday, with a heavyweight main event topping UFC Vegas 71.

The Fight Night card found surging Russian heavyweight Sergei Pavlovich, ranked #3 in the division, paired up with the #4-ranked Curtis “Razor” Blaydes.

While things would still have to play out between heavyweight champion Jon Jones and expected opponent (and former champ) Stipe Miocic, the winner of Pavlovich vs. Blaydes was widely expected to be a lock as the next title contender — depending on just how long that wait might be.

Our picks are in for UFC Vegas 71 — here’s how we see the card going down.

WriterWells vs. SemelsbergerLucindo vs. WalkerGreen vs. GordonTavares vs. SilvaPavlovich vs. Blaydes
Alex Behunin (37-21)
Jamie Theodosi (36-22)
Val Dewar (34-24)
Chris Prawdzik (32-26)
Jay Anderson (28-30)
Eddie Law (27-31)
Dylan Rush (27-31)

First up, the lock of the night. Bobby Green showed up at the UFC Vegas  71 media day sporting a cool $60,000 in cash, and our staff think he’s about to pay out. All writers responding chose Green to get the win in his lightweight showdown at Jared “Flash” Gordon. Likewise, our crew sees Brad Tavares getting the nod in the middleweight co-main event against Bruno Silva, with just one writer dissenting.

Matthew Semelsberger, however, was a bit of an underdog against Jeremiah Wells. So was main event heavyweight Sergei Pavlovich, with only two writers responding giving the nod to the heavy-handed Russian, despite his stoppages against Derrick Lewis and Tai Tuivasa.

The hardest fight on the card to call, however, was the strawweight scrap between Brogan Walker and Iasmin Lucindo. That fight had us split right down the middle, or as close as can be with an odd number of writers — it’s 4-3 in favor of Lucindo.


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