On Saturday night two of the baddest Light Heavyweights on the planet will meet on UFC “FIGHT ISLAND”. When Jiri Prochazka makes his UFC debut, it’ll be anything but the typical first scrap in the big show. And with that, I can almost guarantee that at UFC 251 the fireworks in July will continue to fly!
Not only is Jiri debuting on “Fight Island”, but his adversary is also the former world title challenger, Volkan Oezdemir. Volkan is currently ranked Top 8 in the world and has a record of 17-4 with 10 knockouts. Though it is rare to have such a highly ranked guy in one’s first appearance, there’s a very good reason why Jiri has been issued such a tall order.
The reason being, Prochazka is just simply that good. Hailing from the Czech Republic, the 6’4 knock out specialist is riding a 10 fight win streak and has won 20 of his last 21 bouts. He has a career record of 26-3-1 and has beat some of the best fighters outside the UFC.
He has finished 18 of his last 21 opponents, including former UFC contender, C.B Dolloway, former BELLATOR Champion Brandon Halsey, Former Strikeforce Champion, and legend “King Mo” Lawal, also the famed Judoka aka Olympic Gold medalist Satoshi Ishii.
Jiri also finished the currently ranked Top 15 LHW in the world Vadim Nemkov. Also, it’s worth noting Nemkov is next in line to challenge for the Bellator LHW Title against Ryan Bader, after beating world-class fighter and former UFC contender Phil Davis. Nemkov is a 3x Sambo world champion that is a disciple of the Legend himself, Fedor!
Jiri is an excellent striker who has a very well rounded skill set and he’s more than willing to meet in the center of the cage and let bombs fly the entire fight. Jiri uses his length and long reach to throw constant combinations.
Over his career, Jiri has accumulated 23 KOs in his 26 victories and upon studying his career you’ll see that he’s evolved tremendously. His most noticeable improvement has come in the form of his head movement.
To become a world-class fighter, Jiri has developed this very important facet of his game. His ability to bob & weave all while throwing his crisp arsenal of strikes is why he’s been so successful. Anybody can get into a firefight but it takes a true technician to land “punches in bunches” meanwhile getting his head off the center line to avoid being hurt himself.
On the other side of the octagon stands the Swiss head buster, Volkan “No Time” Oezdemir. After challenging Cormier for the World Title and losing, Volkan faced more adversity in the form of a 3 fight losing streak.
Volkan finally ended that losing skid by knocking out Ilir Latifi then end up winning a Split decision over Aleksandar Rakić at UFC FIGHT NIGHT 165. That brings him into Saturday nights Prelims on a 2 fight winning streak.
Oezdemir has deceptive punching power. Yes, he is built just like you’d expect a Knockout specialist to be. Though that’s not the whole story, it’s HOW and WHERE the Swiss striker uses his power in certain positions.
Mr. “No Time” not only throws heavy left and right hooks along with kicks in space, but he’s also really mastered hurting opponents in the clinch. The term “Dirty Boxing” was made famous by legendary fighters hailing from “Team Quest”. Like Randy Couture, Dan Henderson and Matt Lindland, Volkan excel in the clinch with his “Dirty Boxing”.
Once Oezdemir has his opponents in a phone booth per se, he can generate abnormal power in close quarters. He ties up his foes head or arm with one hand and then sneaks in devastating uppercuts and hooks that most guys never see or feel coming.
Him being 6’2 and shorter than many other 205ers, Volkan uses this tactic to negate the height differential after closing the distance. The power he can generate with his hands in such a tight space is unreal and very rare.
He’s made a living hurting people from positions most fighters would relax or overlook. Imagine a technical hockey fight that only goes one way and that’s Volkan’s way. Once he pulls their head down and unloads, it usually doesn’t last much longer.
I honestly don’t see this fight going to the ground and that’s for various reasons. Both have solid takedown defense and between them both, they have well over 30 KO’s combined. I expect an 8-minute war that ends in a KO.
If Jiri Prochazka can defeat the very established contender Volkan Oezdemir, then I expect him to be thrust into a potential title eliminator vs Dominic Reyes. That’s only if he takes care of business and can continue his double-digit win streak.
If Volkan can derail the hype train of Jiri, then I look to him to get a fight vs the winner of Glover Texiera and Thiago Santos. If not, then a gatekeeper to the top 10 is the role he’ll have to embrace or he must evolve his game to get him back to the title hunt.
I would recommend going with the live underdog, Jiri Prokozcha and I also recommend you don’t bet on this fight going to the judges. Regardless of who wins the fight, it’s us fans that are the real winners. Luckily we will get to witness a slugfest on the very first-ever “Fight Island” card. Tune in to the early prelims that kick off at 6 p.m. The pay-per-view will begin at 10 p.m Live from “FIGHT ISLAND”.