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mixed-martial-arts | Wednesday, June 22, 2022 8:13 AM (Revised at: Friday, July 22, 2022 1:36 PM)

UFC Fight Night Picks: Paul Craig to Climb the Rankings

UFC Fight Night Picks: Paul Craig to Climb the Rankings
Contributor: REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo

UFC Fight Night Picks: Saturday, July 23rd

We already have a Best Bet for the main event of UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs Aspinall, but there’s almost always more betting value to be found hiding somewhere on the card. This time, it’s Paul Craig and Chris Curtis who we are trusting to beat the odds and give bring in some profit. Why? Find out in the article below.

In this article:

Paul Craig vs Volkan Oezdemir Preview & Pick

We have a very interesting match-up here between the 8th and 9th-ranked fighters in the UFC light-Heavyweight division in Paul Craig and Volkan Oezdemir.

Paul Craig is on a 4-fight winning streak and hasn’t lost since his encounter with Alonzo Menifield. At 34 years of age, he holds an MMA record of 16 wins and 4 losses. Although he has faced some adversity in his fighting career, having been KO-ed 3 times so far, he is in excellent form coming into this fight and hasn’t had his clock cleaned in 3 years. In his last 3 fights, he has defeated Nikita Krylov by submission, Jamahal Hill by TKO and Shogun Rua by TKO. Craig is known in the division as an elite grappler and an always-dangerous submission artist. Just ask one of his 13 opponents whom he has submitted throughout his 16-fight career.

However, Volkan Oezedemir is no walk in the park either. A powerful striker with immense KO abilities, he’s made a career for himself out of putting people to sleep with his fists. 17 career wins, 12 by KO/TKO and 6 career losses. That said, he has fallen off a cliff in the last 4 years, amassing a record of just 2 wins and 5 losses. Since defeating Aleksandar Rakic in 2019 via split decision in late 2019, Oezdemir has lost to Jiri Prochazka by KO and to Magomed Ankalaev by unanimous decision.

As good and powerful a striker as Oezdemir is, he simply hasn’t been the same KO machine we’ve gotten used to seeing and he’s only fought twice in the last 2 years. He’ll be facing an elite grappler in paul Craig who is at the peak of his career, and if there is one thing we know about the UFC, elite grapplers tend to beat high-power strikers. Paul is looking like the much better value option at 2.25 odds.

  • Selection: Paul Craig to Win
  • Best Odds: 2.25 (Marathonbet)
  • Stakes: 6/10

More Paul Craig vs Volkan Oezdemir tips

Odds as at 3:00 pm July 22nd 2022. Odds may now differ.

Jack Hermansson vs Chris Curtis Preview & Pick

The second fight we are covering is also on the main card, and we have Jack Hermansson taking on Chris Curtis in the Middleweight division.

Jack Hermansson is currently the 8th-ranked fighter in the Middleweight division, having won just 2 of his last 5 fights, and coming off a decision loss to Sean Strickland. At 34 years old, Hermansson is running out of time to work toward a title shot, but a victory here could put him back in the race. Hermansson is primarily a grappling-oriented striker who tends to gas out when his takedowns are stuffed, and his striking has never been at an elite level. He is averaging 1.73 takedowns per 15 minutes with an accuracy rating of just 30%.

But Chris Curtis has been killing it recently and is looking to finally breach the top-15 rankings with a victory over a high-profile opponent. He is on an 8-fight winning streak, with 3 of those coming in the UFC, and coming off a unanimous decision victory over Rodolfo Vieira. In just 3 fights with the UFC, he has already earned himself 2 KO/TKO victories. He is a very powerful striker, with immense KO ability, but his grappling has also gotten much better recently, making him very difficult to take down.

I expect Curtis to have a significant advantage in the stand-up, and at some point in the first round, Hermansson will try to grapple. Unfortunately, Curtis is very difficult to take and hold down, so he won’t have very much success and will gas out. This is where Curtis will continue to dominate the fight and eventually get the finish. However, this is only his 4th UFC fight, which is why I advise a dose of caution. 2.00 odds on Curtis to win is more than enough value.

  • Selection: Curtis to Win
  • Best Odds: 2.00 (Coolbet)
  • Stakes: 3/10

More Jack Hermansson vs Chris Curtis tips

Odds as at 3:00 pm July 22nd 2022. Odds may now differ

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