Don’t let Prochazka’s lack of UFC experience fool you; he has been one of the top fighters in the world outside the UFC for the last few years.
The final preliminary fight of UFC 251, on Saturday, is a light heavyweight fight that will see newcomer Jiri Prochazka debut against former title challenger, Volkan Oezdemir. This could be a highly entertaining and brutal fight, but the 35 combined career knockouts between these two fighters could make going the distance, unlikely. No. 7 ranked Oezdemir is the MMA odds favourite at -175, with Prochazka at +135.
Volkan Oezdemir UFC 251 Odds
A lot has been made of Oezdemir’s up-and-down career since his 2017 UFC debut. The Swiss fighter started with three straight wins to earn a title shot against Daniel Cormier at UFC 220 in January 2018, but followed it up with three straight losses, including the Cormier fight. Coming into Saturday, Oezdemir seems to be back on his game as his last two fights resulted in a KO win over Ilir Latifi, last August, and a split decision win over Aleksandar Rakic, in December.
Oezdemir’s wins over Latifi and Rakic prove he is a striker who wants to win from his feet. The established veteran (17-4 MMA record, 5-3 UFC) can be a handful for opponents, averaging 4.88 strikes per minute and an 80 per cent takedown defense.
Jiri Prochazka UFC 251 Odds
Don’t let Prochazka’s lack of UFC experience fool you; he has been one of the top fighters in the world outside the UFC for the last few years. Casual fans might not know much about Prochazka, but his record speaks for itself. The Czech fighter has a 26-3 MMA record and is riding a 10-fight win streak, with victories coming over notable fighters like Jake Heun, Mo Lawal and CB Dolloway.
Prochazka was dominant as the light heavyweight champion of the Japanese Rizin promotion. He has an intimidating 25 stoppages in his 29 career fights and only two opponents have made it past the first round with him, during his 10-fight win streak. This could be a boxing match, as Prochazka is also known as a striker. The question will be whether his success can translate to the UFC against a Top-10 contender.
Oezdemir vs. Prochazka UFC Fight Island Prediction:
The odds are extremely close for a debuting fighter against a Top-10 contender, which shows the respect Prochazka has earned. He could be primed to take the UFC light heavyweight division by storm and it looks likely he will start with a win over Oezdemir on Saturday.