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UFC Fight Night heads to London tomorrow, and handicapper Ben Rajavuori has narrowed down three top bets for the opening fight on the Main Card between Paul Craig vs. Volkan Oezdemir. Here's how he's betting this Light Heavyweight bout.
ANALYSIS

UFC Fight Night London Predictions: Lock in This Expert's Paul Craig vs. Volkan Oezdemir Best Bets

Paul Craig vs. Volkan Oezdemir Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

  • Date: July 23, 2022
  • Start Time: 3:15 pm ET
  • Where to Watch: ESPN+

Click here for Craig vs Oezdemir Odds

Expect an action-packed card at UFC London tomorrow, with one of those action-packed fights indeed being Paul Craig versus Volkan Oezdemir. The two light heavyweights will open the main card tomorrow night, and the UFC intentionally picked this as the main card opener. This will be an exciting clash of styles that pits two light heavyweights rising in the rankings against each other, as Craig is ranked eighth, and Oezdemir is ranked ninth. Will Craig continue his winning streak? Or will Oezdemir continue his losing streak?

Paul Craig vs. Volkan Oezdemir Prediction

Paul Craig is quickly climbing the rankings with five-straight wins inside the octagon. Craig is also one of the most dangerous men at light heavyweight, as he has finished all 16 of his professional wins and is so fun to watch. He has only seen the third round four times in thirteen UFC fights, and his submission game is nothing to scoff at. Craig is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter who can basically sub you from anywhere on the ground, which has led to 13 of his 16 wins coming by submission. He is also no stranger to being the underdog. Craig was a +220 underdog to Jamahal Hill two fights ago, and he knocked him out in the first round. In his most recent fight, Craig was a +185 underdog to Nikita Krylov and submitted him in the first round. What makes it hard for Craig's opponents is dealing with his insane pace. Craig pushes the pace in every second of the fight and doesn't give you a single second to breathe.

On the other side of the octagon will be 32-year-old Volkan Oezdemir. Oezdemir quickly built an excellent resume in the UFC, starting 3-0 in the promotion before losing five of his last seven fights to bring him to 5-5. This record has been built against very tough opponents, however. Oezdemir lost his fourth fight in the UFC in a title fight against legend Daniel Cormier, and all five of his UFC losses have been to top fighters at light heavyweight.

Oezdemir is a former professional kickboxer with fast hands and unrolling power. 12 of his 17 professional MMA wins have come by knockout, including three of his five UFC wins. He has an exceptional perception of distance inside the octagon and is tough to outclass on the feet. He will be the much more technical striker in this matchup and the more powerful one as well.

Oezdemir's key to success in this fight is to keep it standing. Oezdemir has an 80% takedown defense rate in the UFC, which is impressive when you see some of the wrestlers he has fought. Keeping this fight standing is imperative to Oezdemir because if Craig gets him down, it will most likely be over quickly after Oezdemir taps or goes unconscious.

I expect this fight to be all action from the time they touch gloves. If you watched the weigh-ins, you know Craig is an absolute animal and is just as psychotic inside the octagon. Oezdemir will either have to match this energy and pace or get taken down and submitted. Oezdemir has the power to knock Craig out, and three of Craig's four losses are by knockout. Craig will also be shooting takedowns, which creates entries for counters from Oezdemir. However, if Oezdemir doesn't knock out Craig in the first, it seems like a matter of time before Craig's persistence pays off and he gets Oezdemir down and submits him. Oezdemir doesn't have the most solid submission defense, after all. Either way, both men are incredibly dangerous, and with the pace, Craig fights at, this fight shouldn't enter the third round. The UFC picked an excellent fight to open the main card.

Paul Craig vs. Volkan Oezdemir Picks

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Article Author

NCAABBoxing/MMAMLBNHL

Ben Rajavuori is a handicapper out of Minneapolis, MN. He has been creating sports content for almost four years now and is an expert in all things NFL, MLB, NBA, UFC, and NCAAB. Ben thrives on diving deep into statistics to find the best angle on every bet. You can follow him on Twitter @WeBeatTheSpread.

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