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Gian Villante vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk - 2/23/19 UFC Fight Night 145 Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Game
Gian Villante vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk
Date & Time Saturday February 23, 2019, 4:00 PM (EST)
Location
O2 Arena
Prague, Czech Republic
The Line
The Line: Oleksiejczuk -225 / Villante +175 -- Over/Under:
TV Channel
ESPN+
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MMA | Gian Villante vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Gian Villante and Michal Oleksiejczuk fight Saturday during UFC Fight Night 145 at the O2 Arena.

Gian Villante enters this fight with a 17-10 record and has won 63 percent of his fights by knockout. Villante has split his last 12 fights and is coming off a October win over Ed Herman. Villante is averaging 4.48 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 42 percent. Villante is averaging 0.46 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 42 percent. Villante has had mixed results ever since joining the UFC about six years ago, but each of his last four fights have been decided by split decisions, so he could easily be in a better position than he is at the moment. Regardless, Villante is a volume striker who looks to stay busy and is most effective on his feet where he lands 89 percent of his strikes. Villante has some knockout pop in his hands, and he comes from a football background, so despite being knocked out four times in 10 losses, he’s proven he can take some clean shots without folding. Villante also has a wrestling background and has never been submitted, so he can hold his own on the canvas when needed, but he’s most effective in a standup fight where he can be the aggressor and put his strikes to good use. This will be Villante’s first career fight in the Czech Republic.

Michal Oleksiejczuk enters this fight with a 12-2 record and has won 62 percent of his fights by knockout. Oleksiejczuk has won each of his last nine fights and is coming off a 2017 no contest against Khalil Rountree. Oleksiejczuk is averaging 5.07 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 58 percent. Oleksiejczuk is averaging two takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 66 percent. Oleksiejczuk is really riding a 10-fight winning streak, but his unanimous decision victory over Rountree was overturned due to testing positive for clomiphene, and he was suspended for a year. It’s going to be interesting to see what fighter we get, as Oleksiejczuk is somebody who fought three or more times a year since turning pro in 2014. Oleksiejczuk is a violent striker who throws these vicious hooks that have one punch knockout potential, and he’s an excellent counterpuncher who mixes in combinations well. When Oleksiejczuk sees blood in the water, he’s as nasty as it gets when it comes to finishing his opponent and can really do some serious damage. Oleksiejczuk is most effective with his standup and has potential to fly up the rankings, but I’d like to see him mix in his ground game at some point to become a more balanced fighter. This will be Oleksiejczuk’s second career fight outside of Poland.

I’m always hesitant when it comes to backing guys who have spent a lot of time out of the octagon, as you have no idea what you’re going to get. Oleksiejczuk is somebody who was extremely active and now we haven’t seen him fight in 14 months. Villante also has a clear size advantage in this fight, which can be key with this likely being a standup, power striking fight. With that said, Oleksiejczuk is still the better, more polished fighter who throws heavier punches and usually dominates when he gets to fight in his comfort zone. Oleksiejczuk is accurate and violent with those hands and knows how to finish his opponent when there’s an opening. It takes one slip defensively for Oleksiejczuk to completely takeover a bout.

The price isn’t too crazy here, so I’m siding with Oleksiejczuk to win this fight.

Pick:
Michal Oleksiejczuk -225

Randy Chambers has been with Sports Chat Place since 2014 and covers everything from the NFL to WNBA and tennis. Nobody works harder in this business in terms of content produced and amount of sports covered. Formerly a lead college football writer with Bleacher Report and has had his work featured at Fox Sports, CBS Sports and various other outlets.

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