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Volkan Oezdemir vs. Ilir Latifi - 6/1/19 UFC Fight Night 153 Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Game
Volkan Oezdemir vs. Ilir Latifi
Date & Time Saturday June 1, 2019, 3:00 PM (EDT)
Location
Ericsson Globe
Stockholm, Sweden
The Line
The Line: Latifi +165 / Oezdemir -190 -- Over/Under:
TV Channel
ESPN+
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Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

Volkan Oezdemir and Ilir Latifi fight Saturday during UFC Fight Night 153 at the Ericsson Globe.

Volkan Oezdemir enters this fight with a 15-4 record and has won 73 percent of his fights by knockout. Oezdemir has lost each of his last three fights and is coming off a March loss to Dominick Reyes. Oezdemir is averaging 4.73 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 46 percent. Oezdemir is averaging 0.57 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 22 percent. Oezdemir is coming off a tough split decision loss a couple of months ago, a fight where was much more accurate with his strikes and produced two takedowns. You can make a case Oezdemir was robbed, but he’s now somebody riding a three-fight losing streak and looking for his first win in nearly two years. Oezdemir is a power striker with clear knockout power and a deep kickboxing background, and he has a history of being a quick worker where 11 of his last 13 victories have been decided in the first round. Oezdemir is a standup striker where he lands 74 percent of his strikes standing up, and he’s an impressive takedown defender, forcing his opponent to fight his style. Oezdemir has an underrated ground and pound and has good toughness when you consider most of his fights are standup brawls where he’s been tagged many times. This will be Oezdemir’s second career fight in Sweden.

Ilir Latifi enters this fight with a 14-6 record and has won 43 percent of his fights by knockout. Latifi has won five of his last seven fights and is coming off a December loss to Corey Anderson. Latifi is averaging 2.34 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 42 percent. Latifi is averaging 1.89 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 32 percent. Latifi is coming off a clear decision loss where he was dominated the final two rounds and was a little hesitant to let his hands go. While he’s split his last four fights, Latifi has never lost back-to-back fights in his career. Latifi comes from a boxing and submission wrestling background, so he’s well balanced and has five wins each by knockout and submission. Latifi is probably most effective standing up where he can use his power and technique, as he’s a clean boxer who dodges strikes well and is impressive on counters. Latifi has defended 100 percent of his takedowns and is a violent takedown artist himself who usually goes with the slam approach and two of his last seven wins have been via the guillotine choke. The concern for Latifi is cardio, as he’s a massive guy and he’s lost five of his 10 career fights that have made it out of the first round. This will be Latifi’s ninth career fight in Sweden, his birthplace.

Even with losses in his last three fights, it makes sense that Oezdemir is the favorite in this fight. Oezdemir has a size and reach advantage, and he’s the more polished, accurate striker in a fight that’s likely going to include a ton of standup. The problem is that Latifi can certainly hold his owns striking wise in this fight and is better defensively. It takes just one slip of a strike for Latifi to catch the bigger target in Oezdemir and have the Swedish fans losing their mind. Latifi would also have the edge if this fight went to the canvas, as we’re not used to seeing Oezdemir being dragged into deep waters often.

Oezdemir is the better fighter overall, but Latifi is more balanced and has good enough striking to make this closer to a toss-up. So, give me the underdog on his tom soil.

Pick:
Ilir Latifi +165

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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