UFC 251: Volkan Oezdemir vs Jiří Procházka: Preview & Prediction
By James Evans
The UFC returns this weekend with a stacked card for it’s first venture on Fight Island.
Three title fights feature on the main event. Petr Yan and Jose Aldo will go head to head for the bantamweight title. The co-main sees a mouth-watering rematch between featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, and the Hawaiian sensation, Max Holloway.
After Gilbert Burns wad ruled out due to testing positive for COVID-19, Jorge Masvidal will now face Kamaru Usman for the welterweight strap.
But before the main card, there will be an interesting clash at light-heavyweight, rounding off the prelims. Switzerland’s own, Volkan Oezdemir, faces rising star Jiří Procházka- who will be making his promotional debut.
Oezdemir, 30, is currently riding a two-fight winning streak. After victories against Ilir Latifi and a split decision win over Aleksandar Rakić, a win for Oezdemir this weekend will put the Swiss back in contention.
After securing three straight wins in his first three fights in the UFC, Oezdemir had a crack at the title but fell short against then-champion Daniel Cormier at UFC 220. Oezdemir then went on to lose to Anthony Smith and Dominick Reyes.
Procházka is currently on a ten fight winning streak. His last defeat came against Muhammed Lawal in 2015. With a record of 26-3-1, Procházka won the inaugural Rizin light-heavyweight championship last year and has earned the right to compete in MMA’s premier promotion.
“No Time,” holds a record of 17:4. The hard-hitting Oezdemir has secured 12 wins via a form of knockout throughout his MMA tenure. A well-established kick-boxer, Oezdemir will look to use his kick-boxing ability to his advantage as he is three inches taller than his opponent. Volkan well and truly lives up to his nickname “No Time” with his habit of finishing opponents early.
Standing at 6’4, Procházka is a finisher and has produced some “highlight reel” knockouts over the years. Procházka is a true finisher, with 23 out of his 26 wins coming via a form of knockout. Unbeaten in 10, 8 of those 10 wins have come via a first-round finish for “Denisa.”
UFC president has recently said that a win for “No Time” will put himself back in the mix for a title shot. With that being said, Procházka is certainly eager to impress on his promotional debut in an attempt to establish himself as a future contender in the 205-pound division.
For Procházka, it’s a must that he uses his long reach and height to his advantage. The Czech Republic international has proved that he has the insane knockout power to put opponents away early.
Although, it’ll no doubt be a tough debut for Procházka as he faces an established UFC contender in Oezdemir. As eluded to earlier, even though Oezdemir is three inches shorter than Procházka, it’s important that Oezdemir uses his sharp kick-boxing ability and to find the range and to time his counter punches accurately.
Prediction: Jiří Procházka via a second-round TKO