Brain vs. Heart: UFC Fight Night 80 Picks

Welcome to The Brain vs. The Heart. Everyone has that internal battle with themselves about which fighter you think will win vs. which fighter you actually want to win. The Brain vs The Heart takes you on a journey inside the mind (and heart) of IAMMA to tackle the battle head-on. Who will win? Let’s find out!


Thiago “Marreta” Santos (+205) vs. Elias Theodorou (-225)

The Brain: The first of three cards in three days is exclusively on Fight Pass, but features several up and coming fighters that people should definitely watch. The main card kicks off with fast rising Elias Theodorou and Thiago “Marreta” Santos. Santos is a dangerous striker that packs real power. He also throws some excellent kicks. After that though, he’s rather limited. He is exclusively a striker and definitely won’t look to get the fight to the ground. Theodorou on the other hand is an athletic and well-rounded fighter. He tends to be aggressive and pressure his opponents against the cage. Once there, he works punches and takedowns. Theodorou has a heavy top game as well. I think he’ll be able to avoid the power shots from Santos. I expect Theodorou to tire out Santos late in the fight, get the fight to the ground and pound out Santos for the victory. Theodorou by TKO

The Heart: Theodorou looks like he could be the complete package. Santos looks rather one-dimensional. I definitely think Theodorou could become a top fighter in the division and I’d like to see him succeed in this fight. Theodorou by TKO


Sage Northcutt (-1100) vs. Cody Pfister (+900)

The Brain: The “next big thing” Sage Northcutt takes on Cody Pfister. Northcutt should win this fight, but don’t be fooled into thinking Pfister won’t be a game opponent. Pfister has twice the MMA experience as Sage. He does tend to have a low striking output and uses his striking to set up his takedown game. That could be hard to accomplish against the athletic specimen that is Sage Ridiculouslycutt. Jokes aside, Northcutt has been training since he was a little kid and obviously puts in a great amount of work to accomplish everything he has done so far at such a young age. He tends to use a diverse kicking game to keep his opponents at bay. While he has some flashy strikes, he prefers to get the fight to the ground where he does a good job of landing power shots. That’s exactly what I expect to happen in this fight. I think Northcutt works the takedown and pounds Pfister out. Northcutt by Submission

The Heart: Some people are sick of all the attention Northcutt has received and see him as nothing more than a hype train. While he still has a long ways to go to reach the top of the stacked lightweight division, I think he truly does have potential. On top of that, he seems to have his head on straight and appears to be a genuinely nice and respectful kid. I’d love to be able to watch the 19 year old Northcutt continue to grow in front of our eyes (literally and figuratively). Northcutt by TKO


Michael Chiesa (-110) vs. Jim Miller (+100)

The Brain: This should be an excellent matchup between two fighters with very similar styles. Miller has more experience and has fought in the UFC 20 times. He has appeared to slow down a little as of late while Chiesa has seemed to only get better. Either way this should be a chess match anywhere this fight ends up. Both guys are willing to trade shots, but they truly excel on the ground. This one should be fun to watch unfold. I think the improving Chiesa finds a way to eke out the decision. Chiesa by Decision

The Heart: This is a tough call for me. I liked Chiesa’s improbable TUF run and how he’s done since. I have also enjoyed watching Miller fight in the UFC for the past seven years. I really don’t want to see either fighter lose, but I think Miller needs this fight more. Miller by Decision


Rose Namajunas (+150) vs. Paige VanZant (-160)

The Brain: Rose fills in on a few weeks’ notice for the injured Calderwood. I actually like this matchup more than the original and expect it to be a very competitive fight. Both fighters are aggressive so it will be interesting to see how this fight plays out. While all of Rose’s win have come via submission, she is competent on the feet as well. She does a good job of moving in and out. I do think that she will try to get the fight to the ground in an attempt to submit VanZant. Paige has put herself in bad positions before, so Rose will definitely try to capitalize if VanZant makes any errors. Paige is very athletic and throws a lot of volume. That has made her susceptible to being hit, but she’s proven she has a solid chin. VanZant likes to work inside the clinch and get her opponents to the ground. I think VanZant’s aggression and high volume striking game will be the difference in this fight. While Rose could definitely win this fight, I think VanZant will avoid getting in trouble. I think in the third or fourth round she overwhelms Rose with punches, gets her to the ground, and locks in the rear-naked choke. VanZant by Submission

The Heart: Both fighters are young and have a real future in the division. I like Rose and she’s overcome a lot in her life to get where she is. VanZant is training at Team Alpha Male and while still relatively raw, appears to have the physical tools necessary to reach the top of the division. I know a lot of people see her as purely hype due to the push she has received from the UFC, but I think she really could become a star of the division. I’d like to see her “hype train” roll on. VanZant by Submission


The Brain is leading with a 31-13 record. The Heart is still trailing with a 22-22 record. The records will be updated after all three cards this weekend have concluded.


Any questions or comments? Hit me up on Twitter @IAMMAEverlast or comment below.

About the Author:

IAMMA. MMA superfan looking to be the voice of the fans. Tune in to read my Brain vs Heart picks & MMA event recaps!