Volkan Oezdemir vs Paul Craig Pick & Promo
July 21, 2022
Volkan Oezdemir is a -165 favorite against Paul Craig. Their light heavyweight fight takes place at UFC London on Saturday July 23rd, 2022. These fighters will make the walk around 4PM EST.
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✅ Volkan Oezdemir has fought truly high end competition at light heavyweight over the past four years. The one time title challenger has lost five of seven fights, but they have legitimately all been against truly high end and complete competition. The five losses are notable, and I believe it important to list the names: Cormier, Smith, Reyes, Prochazka, Ankalaev. It should also be noted his most recent win was over Aleksander Rakic. The amount of losses Oezdemir has of late will relegate any fighter to gatekeeping status, so steps down in competition will happen. This fight with Craig should certainly be considered one of those steps down, despite Craig’s recent success.
✅ Paul Craig brings a unique skill set, and is now on a four fight win streak. Craig continues to be at least somewhat the striking, but he does have redeeming qualities. He likely has the best guard in the division and has found a wild amount of submissions off of his back. If memory serves, Craig has won five UFC fights with submissions from guard. That is absolutely his bread and butter, and he is a high end grappler overall. I mentioned his striking still needs a good deal of work, as he lacks a redeeming quality there. He does not have big power and often relies on durability against superior strikers. Craig is also just adequate as best as a wrestler, and often tries to pull guard to get his fights to the mat.
✅ Oezdemir will absolutely be the superior striker in this matchup. He will also have the tools to keep the fight where he wants it to take place. He has very strong defensive wrestling and will be able to fend off the non high end wrestling of Craig. Oezdemir also has a solid BJJ game, so should be able to keep himself safe if Craig successfully pulls guard at any point. Oezdemir is going to decide this fight in the stand up, and is quite live for a knock out at that. There is little value in a pivot to the ITD line, so our betting play will be Oezdemir flat at -165.