UFC Fight Night: 165 | Squared Up: Oezdemir vs Rakic

Jason Paglia

Friday, December 20, 2019 6:44 PM UTC

Friday, Dec. 20, 2019 6:44 PM UTC

The UFC comes off the greatest fight card of the 2019 fight season last week in UFC 245. It was an epic event. Usually that event is reserved for the card around New Years Eve every year, but instead the last fight card of the year will be this weekend: UFC Fight Night 165.

<p>The co-main event is one of the few fights that I have an interest in betting. It all goes down this Saturday at the Sajik Arena in South Korea when Volkan Oezdemir squares up against Aleksander Rakic. So, who wins this matchup between two top 10 light heavyweights? Ok, enough small talk, let’s get after it.</p><p> </p><div><h2 style="text-align:center"> </h2><h2 style="text-align:center">VOLKAN OEZDEMIR (16-4) VS ALEKSANDER RAKIC (12-1)</h2><div style="text-align:center"><a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/fighting/int/ultimate-fighting-championship/aleksandar-rakic-vs-volkan-oezdemir-4008852/?mtid=126" target="_blank"><strong>Live Odds</strong></a></div><p><strong>Volkan Oezdemir:</strong></p><p>This is the problem I have with such a weak division. Oezdemir was on top of the world two years ago. He debuted at UFC Fight Night 104 when he was a last-minute replacement against Ovince Saint Preux. He won that fight and instantly became the 5th ranked fighter in the world. He would go on to win the next two fights against Misha Cirkunov and Jimi Manuwa and three fights into his UFC career, he found himself ranked the #3 light heavyweight in UFC. Well Oh how the mighty have fallen. Since his 3-0 start, nothing has gone right for Volkan Oezdemir.</p><p>He has gifted a title opportunity against Daniel Cormier and was destroyed. He was submitted in the 3rd round against Anthony Smith, (a fight he was winning until the submission) and he was knocked out by Dominick Reyes. That happened back to back to back. He did manage to finally get a win in his last fight against Ilir Latifi who is basically washed up, so he needs to continue his momentum in this fight against Rakic if he ever hopes for another title opportunity. Oezdemir will walk into the cage on Saturday the #8 ranked light heavyweight fighter in the world. Below is a look at Volkan Oezdemir, by the numbers.</p><p><strong>― STATS ―</strong></p><p><strong>•Method of Victory:</strong> 12 win by TKO, 3 wins by Decision &amp; 1 wins by Submission</p><p><strong>•Significant Strikes (per/min):</strong> 5.04 Landed &amp; 3.93 Absorbed</p><p><strong>•Takedowns:</strong> 22.22% Accuracy &amp; 76.47% Defended</p><p> </p><p><strong>― PROS ―</strong></p><p>• Striking (While Oezdemir has far from perfect technique, his pocket boxing has improved tremendously since his first UFC fight in 2017. However, his footwork is terrible and his hand speed is slow.)</p><p>• The 1st Round (Oezdemir is a notoriously fast starter. Rakic will probably have to survive the first round, not the other way around. Volkan made Jimi Manuwa look stupid in the first round. It literally looked like he was fighting me.)</p><p>• Clinch / Power (Oezdemir’s clinch game is really strong. It comes from the ridiculous power he has in close range and in part due to the strength he has.)</p><p> </p><p><strong>― CONS ―</strong></p><ul> <li>Stamina (Both fighters are going to have this problem if the fight makes it to the 3rd round. The flip side to Volkan’s phenomenal fast starts is how bad he is capable of fading late in fights. Clearly he has calculated that the risk is worth the reward but we are two plus years into his UFC career and I expected the cardio to be better at this point.)</li></ul><div> </div><ul> <li>Ground Game (I am a big fan of Henri Hooft BUT the 400 lbs gorilla in the room needs to be addressed. His stable of fighters the last 3 years have just looked awful on the mat. If his fighters are on their back, they are in trouble. Oezdemir is no different.)</li></ul><div> </div><ul> <li>Chin (A chin that was initially thought to have been made of iron, has looked a lot more like it’s been made of glass.)</li></ul><p> </p><h2>Aleksander Rakic:</h2><p>There is not a lot of information that I was able to find on Aleksander Rakic aside from his fighting career, so here goes… Aleksander Rakic began training in the art of kickboxing whenm he was 14 years old. During his kickboxing career, Rakic fought over 40 times before he became a mixed martial artist.</p><p>In 2011 Aleksander Rakic started his professional MMA career. He began fighting on the regional scene in Europe where he amassed an 8-1 record before getting the call-up to the biggest mixed martial arts promotion in the world. Rakic signed a multi-fight UFC contract in March of 2017. He made his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 115 against Francimar Barroso where he won via unanimous decision. Rakic has not lost since joining the UFC. As a matter of fact, Rakic lost his first pro fight and never lost another one. Since joining the UFC, Rakic is 4-0 including a spectacular head kick knockout in his last fight over Jimi Manuwa. Rakic has not been in the UFC long but is already a top 10 fighter. A couple more wins versus the top 8 in the light heavyweight division and Rakic will be in line for a title opportunity. Can he continue his UFC unbeaten streak against Volkan Uezdemir? Below is a look at Aleksander Rakic, by the numbers.</p><p><strong>― STATS ―</strong></p><div>•<strong>Method of Victory:</strong> ▪9 wins by TKO, 2 wins by Decision &amp; 1 Win by Submission</div><div> </div><div>•<strong>Significant Strikes (per/min):</strong> 5.25 Landed &amp; 1.63 Absorbed</div><div> </div><div>•<strong>Takedowns: </strong>60.00% Accuracy &amp; 88.24% Defended</div><div> </div><div> </div><p><strong>― PROS ―</strong></p><p>• Kickboxing (Rakic is a very solid striker. With over 53 MMA and kickboxing fights, Rakic has great power, hand speed, uses range well and knows how to finish.)</p><p>• Defensive Striking (Aleksander Rakic get hit less than any UFC light heavyweight fighter. He absorbs less than 1.65 significant strikes per minute. That is excellent and it’s all because he learned how to use range effectively as a kickboxer. Shelling out 5.25 significant strikes per minute while absorbing 1.63 is a winning formula.)</p><p> </p><p><strong>― CONS ―</strong></p><p>• Stamina (There have been times in his career where he has lost steam in the 3rd round of fights. The better the competition gets, the better that cardio will have to be, and it starts on Saturday.)</p><p>• Wrestling (His wrestling base is average at best. If he gets on top he has solid top control but let’s be honest. Neither Rakic or Oezdemir leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to ground work.)</p><p> </p><h2>THE VERDICT</h2><p>This fight seems pretty simple to me. I have to go with Aleksander Rakic here. If he gets through the first round and that early whirlwind that Oezdemir throws at all his opponents, the fight is Rakic’s to lose. Oezdemir has a lot of power in his hands, but he is slow and has terrible footwork. Rakic has phenomenal movement in the cage. It’s the reason why he takes no damage in the cage. Getting hit 1.6 times per minute can not be overstated when the only thing that Oezdemir can do is throw his hands. I think Rakic is in the same position that Oezdemir was going into the fight with Cormier. Luckily for Rakic, Oezdemir is not Cormier. Give me the kid here to use that great use of range, his length and some rock solid offensive and defensive striking to get the job done and win the day here.</p><p> </p><h2>THE LEAN</h2><p><strong>Aleksander Rakic to win at 50/67 (1.74) <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&amp;a=a710bfac-73c1-4a57-b441-2caf1b9f397b" target="_blank">at William Hill</a></strong></p></div>
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