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Kicking off the main card is an important fight in the Light Heavyweight division, as Paul Craig takes on Volkan Oezdemir. Unbeaten in the last six fights, Craig comes into this fight with excellent momentum. Checking in at eighth in the rankings and with a win over Magomed Ankalaev, Craig is within grasp of entering the title mix. Surprising to say the least, as Craig started his UFC career with a measly 3-4 record. Meanwhile, Oezdemir heads into this bout on a two-fight losing streak. Still ranked ninth in the division, the former title challenger has an opportunity to remain in the top ten and garner a top-five fight with a victory here.
This should be a highly entertaining fight, as Craig has only seen the scorecards once in twenty-one professional fights. A ground specialist, with perhaps the most dangerous submission game in the Light Heavyweight division, Craig has constantly proven doubters wrong. Having gone 5-0-1 in the last six fights, and with victories over Jamahal Hill, Nikita Krylov, Mauricio Rua and Magomed Ankalaev, Craig is a force to be reckon with at 205 pounds. Looking to stay far away from the mat is Oezdemir. An active, yet powerful striker, Oezdemir has made his living by on the feet. Where he has fallen prey, is against the cage and on the ground. Sporting an 80% takedown defense, Oezdemir has been better about keeping himself upright. However, he has still been taken down at least once in five of the past seven fights.
Expecting this one to end inside the distance, one could assume that either Craig submits Oezdemir or the Swiss-man sends the Scot into the shadow realm. Seeing how Oezdemir is still being taken down despite his high takedown defense, Craig has proven that all he needs is one chance. Even if he can’t successful get Oezdemir down, Craig isn’t afraid to pull guard and get his foe into his world. One in which Oezdemir will have no answers for. With that said, I predict that Craig wins via submission.