UFC 254: Alex Oliveira vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov
In the welterweight division Oliveira takes on Rakhmonov this Saturday. Oliveira is fresh off a two-fight win streak coming into this bout against the undefeated Rakhmonov.
The UFC debutant will have a 7-year age advantage in this matchup. While that will certainly do him some good, Oliveira is only 32-years old, and statistically fighters only tend to enter their stage of decline once they pass 35. Experience is definitely in favor of Oliveira here, as he has about as many UFC wins as Rakhmonov has pro fights. However, an extensive amateur record consisting of 13 fights could serve him well if experience ends up being the biggest advantage for Cowboy.
Shavkat has a finish rate of 100%, and has never gone the distance in a pro bout. Meanwhile Oliveira is no easy man to finish, and has only been knocked out once in his career. Oliveira has a finish rate of 78%.
Height and reach are both in favor of Rakhmonov.
Oliveira vs. Rakhmonov UFC 254 Prediction
I’m leaning towards the veteran in this matchup, simply because the stats back it up. Historically, debuting fighters do not do well in the UFC, and against established UFC veterans like Oliveira I can’t imagine they do any better. On top of that, fighters with less pro fights than their opponents have UFC fights lose fights more often than not. Let’s not forget that despite a lengthy career, Oliveira is only 32 years of age, by no means making him and old man in this sport. Rakhmonov hasn’t faced high enough levels of competition for me to conclude that he is a UFC-caliber fighter yet, and having never gone to a decision as a pro worries me. The composure it takes to fight for three rounds and win on the scorecards is not easy, and having never done it he will at the very least not be prepared for it as much as Oliveira, who has done it throughout his lifelong career.
Composure, experience, well-roundedness. I got Oliveira here.
Prediction: Alex Oliveira via second-round TKO.