The UFC’s #7-ranked light heavyweight takes on a promotion newcomer at UFC 251 from Fight Island tonight as Volkan Oezdemir faces Jiri Prochazka live on ESPN+ and pay-per-view.
Oezdemir is 17-4 in his MMA career with 13 stoppages, most of them in the first round. He’s 5-3 in the UFC, winning his last two fights to get back in the title picture. Age 30 and from Switzerland, he lands 4.88 strikes per minute and defends 80% of takedown attempts. He wants to win as a striker, which is how he defeated Ilir Latifi and Aleksandar Rakic in his last two fights, Rakic being a close split decision victory.
Prochazka has dominated the Rizin promotion as their 205 lbs. champion, and has a 26-3 career mark with an incredible 25 stoppage wins. The 27-year-old from the Czech Republic has won his last 10 fights, and has seen the second round only twice during that winning streak. It’s unusual for a new UFC fighter to come in as this close via the oddsmakers to a Top 10 contender, but it shows the respect he has earned on the independent circuit. Here’s a highlight tape that shows he can clearly fight, but might not have fought anyone of Oezdemir’s quality.
Here are the betting splits at DraftKings Sportsbook for Volkan Oezdemir vs. Jiri Prochazka at UFC 251 on July 11th:
Volkan Oezdemir: Opened -177, now -159 (40% of handle, 59% of bets)
Jiri Prochazka: Opened +140, now +129 (60% of handle, 41% of bets)
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