Prior to each UFC card, Jay Primetown takes a close look at debuting fighters. In the latest installment, we look at Polish light heavyweight Michael Oleksiejczuk as he makes his UFC debut against Moldovan fighter Ion Cutelaba at UFC 217 in New York City.
Hometown: Barki, Poland
Weight Class: Light Heavyweight
Camp: GKS Gornik Leczna MMA
Career Record: 12-2
Key Wins: None
Key Losses: None
The 22-year-old Polish light heavyweight has already been fighting professionally for over three years. He enters his UFC debut on great form having knocked out his last three opponents. All three of those victories have been in the last 12 months.
- Good left hand
- Throws punches in combination
- Recovers well from being hit
- Subpar striking defense
- Too willing to stand in the pocket with longer, bigger fighters
- More suited for middleweight
- Footwork needs improvement
- Still very green for the sport
Offensive Striking: D+
Striking Defense: F
Knockout Power: D
Offensive Wrestling: N/A
Takedown Defense: D-
Overall Grade: D-
Matchup against Ion Cutelaba
In a matchup of young light heavyweights, Ion Cutelaba welcomes Michael Oleksiejczuk to the UFC. With a combined age of just 45, this is a rare matchup in this division between two young fighters. Even though both of these guys are young, they have each fought over 10 times professionally. However, there is certainly a major difference in their level of competition. The Polish fighter has never fought anyone that would be considered UFC caliber; meanwhile Cutelaba holds a 2-2 record in the UFC and has been competitive against quality competition. The biggest issue for the debutant is his striking defense. He’s very easily hit on the feet and has been knocked back and knocked down in previous fights against poor competition. Cutelaba is very physically strong for the weight class and throws punches with real venom. This is a tough fight for Oleksiejczuk and it’s hard to see him last 15 minutes with Cutelaba. The Moldovan fighter will press forward throughout the bout and will have Oleksiejczuk on the back foot. I expect Cutelaba to have success landing punches as he pushes forward and eventually drop his Polish opponent. Odds on this fight have not been released, but I’ll be looking at both the Cutelaba moneyline and Cutelaba by KO/TKO props.
Michael Oleksiejczuk is a young light heavyweight in a division that is in need of new blood. However, he’s undersized for this weight class and is very susceptible to getting hit clean by aggressive strikers. He’s going to struggle in the UFC as he’s forced to face bigger, more powerful strikers. Like most fighters his age, I expect him to continue to improve, but I think he’s made the jump to the UFC too early in his career to be able to stick in the UFC.
Check out Michael Oleksiejczuk in some of his most recent fights:
Michael Oleksiejczuk vs. Charles Andrade
Michael Oleksiejczuk vs. Riccardo Nosigilia