UFC Fight Night 208: Volkan Oezdemir vs Paul Craig Picks, Predictions, Odds

Paul Craig vs Volkan Oezdemir
July 23, 2022 3:10 pm EDT
The Line: Volkan Oezdemir -150 / Paul Craig +130
(Click here for latest betting odds)

Paul Craig and Volkan Oezdemir fight Saturday in UFC Fight Night 208 at The O2 Arena. Craig enters this fight with a 16-4-1 record and has won 81 percent of his fights by submission. Oezdemir enters this fight with a 17-6 record and has won 71 percent of his fights by knockout.

Craig has won his last 4 fights and is coming off a March win over Nikita Krylov. He is averaging 2.51 significant strikes per minute, with an accuracy percentage of 51 percent. Craig is averaging 2.13 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 26 percent. Craig is coming off a submission win at UFC Fight Night 204 that earned performance of the night. Craig has earned performance bonuses in 3 of his last 4 fights, and he hasn’t lost a bout since UFC on ESPN 3. There are no surprises with Craig, as he’s a black belt in BJJ and wants a fight on the ground. Craig has produced submissions in 13 of his 16 victories, 6 of which have been decided via triangle choke. Craig has just enough accurate striking to set up his takedowns and usually keeps the fight on the canvas once he gets it there. He has very good guard, is comfortable fighting from his back and has seen just 1 career decision. Fourteen of Craig’s 21 total fights have ended in submissions. This will be Craig’s seventh career fight in England.

Oezdemir has split his last 10 fights and is coming off an October loss to Magomed Ankalaev. Oezdemir is averaging 4.75 significant strikes per minute, with an accuracy percentage of 45 percent. Oezdemir is averaging 0.31 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 18 percent. Oezdemir is coming off a decision loss at UFC 267 where he landed 56 total strikes and ate 76 total strikes. Oezdemir has now lost 5 of his last 7 fights and looks for his first win since UFC Fight Night 165. Oezdemir is a power striker with clear knockout ability and a deep kickboxing background. Oezdemir is a standup striker at heart, and he also defends takedowns at a high level. Oezdemir has an underrated ground and pound and good toughness when you consider most of his fights are standup brawls. Oezdemir has seen 14 of his 23 fights end in knockouts. This will be Oezdemir’s second career fight in England.

Oezdemir is going to be the favorite because of the striking edge, and he’s probably the bigger, stronger fighter of the two. However, Craig has been on a role as of late, not only piling up wins but also snagging performance bonuses in the process. Craig gets this bout on the ground, and he’ll like his chances to get the victory. Yes, Oezdemir has good takedown defense, but we’re not just going to overlook what Craig has done over the last couple of years.

I like the plus money with Craig. 

Randy Chambers's Free Pick:
Paul Craig +130

Randy Chambers

Randy has covered sports betting since 2014 and writes about everything from NFL to WNBA.
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