Prediction for the fight Paul Craig vs Volkan Oezdemir

At the European tournament UFC Fight Night 208, they simply could not do without a fight between representatives of the two countries of this part of the world. Scot - Paul Craig will challenge the Swiss Volkan Oezdemir in the octagon of the best MMA promotion in the world. Both athletes are at the extreme positions in the TOP-10 of the division, however, they have completely different perspectives.

We are in for a classic confrontation with people from kickboxing and BJJ, but the most important thing is that these guys rarely bring their performances to the referee's decisions. And therefore, on July 23, we will witness a spectacular battle between two martial artists. Which of them will be better? Analyst and only dry facts about the fighters will help us answer this question.

Paul Craig vs Volkan Oezdemir

Paul Craig

The eighth number of the rating stands out against the background of his colleagues with interesting statistics - out of 21 fights with his participation, only one ended in a draw, while Paul finished the rest ahead of schedule. Actually, he lost in the same way. This is a BJJ brown belt, Fight Star and BAMMA champion, and the owner of 7 UFC bonuses, which he receives literally through the fight.

A high level of preparation in the stalls and a real Scottish character allow him to demonstrate a real show in the cage, while defeating a very worthy opposition. Craig's quick starts, the pace that he sets in the cage, sometimes could not stand even such monsters as Magomed Ankalaev, not to mention the rest.


Paul's main feature is the always-on attack mode. He is not one of those fighters who spends a whole round studying the opponent, picking up keys to his technique and probing for gaps in the defense. Paul immediately goes forward and fights where he is good - on the ground. The abundance of attempts to get to the feet, pulling the enemy and pressing allow him to get closer and take dominant positions.

Well, on earth, he connects all his resources, without regard to the amount of energy spent. Under such pressure, few managed to avoid his tricks, and Craig is incredibly good at carrying them out. The base in BJJ allows him to realize the advantage in holding positions, and maneuver in a horizontal position, while simultaneously using ground and pound.


The Scot is not at all a techie in the rack, but this is not even his main disadvantage. Haste and unsupported straightforward attacks on his part open up opportunities for opponents to counterattack. And at such moments, experienced counterparts skillfully use Paul's mediocre defense to their advantage. The abundance of expression and a minimum of time to assess the situation, as well as the preparation of strikes and takedowns - this is what repeatedly led him to defeat.

The current form and readiness of the fighter

Craig is 34 years old, and his convincing streak of 5 triumphs is overshadowed only by a draw with Mauricio Rua, whom he destroyed in a couple of rounds in a rematch. Paul beat Gadzhimurad Antigulov, Jamal Hill, and Nikita Krylov in March of this year. For a long time, Bearjew has been using the same type of fighting style, but this does not in the least prevent him from winning victories. Consistently good form, a high level of athletic aggression and excellent skills on the ground do not give us the opportunity to doubt his readiness for the upcoming fight.

Paul Craig vs Volkan Oezdemir

Volkan Oezdemir

The Swiss occupies the 9th line of the rating table, and is a professional kickboxer in the past. Volkan has rich heavyweight experience, he held the WKN Valhalla title, fought for the UFC belt in a fight with Daniel Cormier, and also played 5 professional kick matches, won all of them, and proved to be no less successful in the amateur arena.

After spending several years in the minor leagues in Europe, Ozdemir tried his hand at Bellator, and then went to conquer the 93 kg division in the UFC. Here, victories over Alikhan Vakhaev, Jimi Manuva and other athletes were waiting for him, but “No Time” lost miserably to tops like Anthony Smith and Dominic Reyes.


In the best way, Volkan is revealed precisely in the rack. He has a heavy punch, just excellent preparations for serial attacks, and a clear understanding of how to combine combinational work on floors with neutralizing the enemy at long and medium distances. Here we also include a decent defense against takedowns, since only the top UFC fighters managed to transfer Ozdemir.


The sore point of this athlete is wrestling and close combat. On the ground, he is not only unable to get out from under the enemy, but also to actively defend himself, block submissions, and also knit limbs, stopping attempts to develop success in ground and pound. In addition, it is precisely such viscous fights that wear him out very quickly, and by the 3rd round Volkan is seriously slowing down, losing as a defense from minute to minute.

The current form and readiness of the fighter

Oezdemir is only 32 years old, but with his unsuccessful performances, he makes it clear that he has already reached his ceiling. In 7 extreme fights, he won only twice, delaying the sluggish Ilir Latifi and with great difficulty passing Alexander Rakich. Jiri Prochazka and Magomed Ankalaev put an end to the issue of Volkan's claims to a place in the top five, and now it is important for him to maintain his current positions, since another 1-2 defeats can cost the Swiss a place in the organization. There is undoubtedly power in his hands, however, a narrow arsenal of skills definitely prevents this athlete from moving on, even despite his age.

Comparative analysis

Regarding the issue of anthropometry and dimensions, an insignificant difference between the participants in this battle catches the eye: Paul is 4 cm higher and has a 3 cm superiority in arm span. However, these indicators will definitely not be reflected in the course of the meeting in the stand, since Ozdemir is clearly a higher class as a striker, and Craig will not be able to kill him from a distance, although he never tried to do this with other opponents.

It is obvious that the Scot will immediately go forward, will put pressure and look for opportunities to arrange a transfer. At the start, he is unlikely to succeed - Volkan is too good in defense, but the amount of work performed will decide everything, so we will definitely see the latter on the canvas. At times like this (under pressure), Özdemir is not at his best, as he always needed space to load up on punching. So, most likely, he will put all his energy into outright defense and, quite possibly, at first he will not find the moment to attack.

The only way to win for him is a knockout, because Paul always keeps his hands low and takes too much damage. But, even in a shocked state, he will cut himself to the end and try to transfer attacks from his head to his opponent's legs, so Volkan will have a very hard time, considering how measuredly he starts his performances. Neither in endurance nor in the quality of protection, the guys will have any advantage over each other. Craig is a vulnerable target in the stand, and Ozdemir is having a hard time working from the back, so you can put parity between the fighters.

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If we take the last 10 fights of each of the competitors in this competition, only a quarter of them have reached the referee's decision. Paul has one fight, while Volkan has four. This gives reason to think that the upcoming clash will definitely not reach the final buzzer either. The only question is who will execute their strategy better. Taking into account Craig's winning streak, his Scottish savage style, tight, swinging strikes in the counter and a very good level of fighting in the clinch and on the ground, it becomes clear that Ozdemir has too few keys to defeat such an opponent. He is the favourite to win the fight, but there is no other way for him to win except by knocking him out. Otherwise, Paul will take him to the ground and finish there with another submission, which he uses to win more than 80% of his fights. So, we have to look at not only Craig's way to win, but also to bet on the Total (Under 1.5 Total) due to the possibility of Volkan's knock-out that will most probably take place in the first half of the meeting. Install the 1xbet app and place a bet on the favorite!

Prediction: Paul Craig to win

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