Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC
The UFC’s 205lb division is showcased on Saturday with an intriguing championship fight between Sweden’s Volkan Oezdemir and the returning champion, Daniel “DC” Cormier.
No stranger to announcing fights Octagon side, Daniel Cormier (19-1) returns to in cage action this Saturday night since the Jon Jones saga last July. In his path is heavy hitting contender, Volkan Oezdemir who is set to make only his 4th Octagon appearance in Boston, MA this Saturday night.
Many superheroes have their main rivals they must contend with on a regular basis. Batman has The Joker, Spiderman has The Green Goblin and Daniel Cormier has Jon Jones.
Jones’ career has been riddled with controversy after controversy in and outside of the cage. Having first lost to Jon Jones in January 2015, Cormier has been like a caged animal unleashed onto the 205lb division leaving very little in his wake.
Despite many barriers halting the inevitable rematch with Jon Jones, the fight finally came to fruition in July of last year. Despite being on the receiving end of a knock out, Cormier was handed back the strap after Jones tested positive for an illegal steroid Turinabol. The fight was deemed a ‘No Contest’ as a result.
Cormier has been quite chippy in the build up to this fight and understands the vitriol aimed at him from some quarters regarding the UFC’s decision to give him back the belt without a fight.
I know fans are angry about me getting the belt. I have stated all along that I need to really put on a performance against Volkan to show that I am the real champ and to get past the frustration of the Jones fight.
Cormier has looked very focused in his fight and is determined to put on a show this Saturday night.
SWATCH ME NOW
Switzerland is more known as a maker of fine cheeses and exquisite watches rather than producing high level MMA athletes but Volkan Oezdemir (15-1) is quickly paving the way for Swiss MMA on the highest stage.
The 28 year old has fast tracked his way to a shot at the title than even he may have foreseen but the Swede is confident outside of the cage as he is inside of it.
It’s going to be a first round knockout for sure. I’m happy with how the build up is going and it has been respectful with jokes coming from both sides but on January 20th, I am going to show him no respect.
There are those who may doubt the legitimacy of Oezdemir fighting for the title so early in his UFC career but with two KO stoppages of title contenders Jimi Manuwa and Misha Cirkunov, there really isn’t anywhere Oezdemir can go but up.
With heavy hands behind him and notable finishes, the Swiss native has every reason to relish his opportunity.
Both fighters come into this bout with just one loss to their record and both boast 12 stoppages inside the distance to date – Cormier 6 KO/TKO’s, 6 SUBS. Oezdemir 11 KO/TKO’s, 1 SUB.
Daniel Cormier has one of the highest takedown defences in the UFC clocking in at an impressive 80% defence rate.
Volkan Oezdemir has a 47% significant strike rate and throws at a rate of 12 per minute.
Comier makes his 11th UFC appearance whilst Oezdemir makes just his 4th walk this Saturday night.
Volkan Oezdemir is an exceptional knock out artist and has a deadly right hand at his disposal but what may have gone under the radar is strong clinch work and the power he possesses at close quarters.
Daniel Cormier is an exceptional wrestler and clinching is where he does thrive but he will need to keep improving his head position in order not to get caught by an out of the blue short left elbow or hand. That being said, Cormier is a veteran of the sport and it’s unlikely that he’ll want the fight standing for too long.
Oezdemir’s punching is certainly to be respected and knocking off two title contenders consecutively in devastating fashion is something Cormier must respect but he has fought Anthony Johnson twice who, like Oezdemir is regarded as a huge puncher but oversaw that obstacle with two submission wins.
Cormier has cut a very different figure from when we saw him last and looks extremely focused on the task at hand and is adamant about putting on a clinic to show the world who the true champion is.
Cormier will look to do what Cormier does and plant his opponent to the mat and break their will and nullify any offence and reputation they may have had coming into the fight.
For Oezdemir, it’s simple. Use the range, focus on his fists and avoid the takedown to try and frustrate Cormier into doing something reckless and exploit the openings.
Much easier said than done however.
Daniel Cormier is an experienced UFC fighter and has faced and beaten some of the most feared fighters in the 205lb division.
Volkan Oezdemir has beaten two top 10 fighters in his short stint in the UFC and is now on the verge of becoming a UFC champion.
if the challenger can stick to his game plan, pick Cormier apart with punches and keep him on the outside he may have a chance particularly if he can land clean and get Cormier hesitating somewhat.
It’s a tough ask against a fighter in Cormier who is nothing but relentless and sticks like glue to his opponents as soon as he clinches up with them.
We’ve seen Cormier rag doll and break opponents with the sheer force of his takedowns and unyielding pressure and I would expect him to do much of the same in this fight.
WritingIrish Prediction: Daniel Cormier via SUB – Round 2