A pair of light heavyweight contenders are set to do battle at an upcoming fight card. That, plus another new UFC fight announcement in today’s edition of MMA odds and ends.
Volkan Oezdemir vs. Dominick Reyes, UFC on ESPN+ 5
An intriguing light heavyweight bout between top contenders Volkan Oezdemir and Dominick Reyes will take place at UFC on ESPN+, taking place March 16 at the O2 Arena in London, England. That’s according to a report from BJPenn.com reporter Tom Taylor. Oezdemir (15-3) has a 3-2 record in the Octagon and was stopped by Daniel Cormier and Anthony Smith in his last two fights. He displayed incredible knockout power against Jimi Manuwa and Misha Cirkunov, but his ground game was badly exposed by both Smith and Cormier, who each finished Oezdemir on the mat. He’s always dangerous on the feet as his 11 knockout wins would suggest, but overall may not be as good as we all initially believed. Reyes (10-0) is 4-0 so far in the Octagon and just beat Ovince Saint-Preux in convincing fashion in his last fight. As far as prospects go, he’s the best the 205lbs division has to offer right now. As solid of a fighter as Oezdemir is, Reyes has huge upside and I fully expect him to be the betting favorite in this fight.
Teruto Ishihara vs. Kyung Ho Kang, UFC 234
Bantamweights Teruto Ishihara and Kyung Ho Kang are set to clash at UFC 234, which takes place February 10 at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia. Ishihara (10-6-2) is a disappointing 3-4-1 in the UFC. After going undefeated in his first three UFC bouts including two knockout wins, Ishihara has really struggled since then as he’s just 1-4 and was brutally knocked out by Petr Yan in his last fight. His decision loss to a shot Gray Maynard was extremely concerning and exposed his lack of a wrestling game. That ugly loss plus his chin has looked shaky, and that’s not a good combination going forward. Kang (14-8, 1 NC) is 3-2, 1 NC in the UFC, although his MMA career was interrupted by a break from 2014 to 2018. Since he returned to the Octagon earlier this year, he’s gone 1-1 with a submission win over Guido Cannetti and a decision loss to Ricardo Ramos. He is very skilled on the mat and his only loss in the Octagon have been tight decisions. This should be a winnable fight for Kang, and I would peg him as the rightful favorite in this bout.
Ishii Signs With PFL
Heavyweight fighter Satoshi Ishii has confirmed he’s signed a deal with PFL, and one can assume he would be in the promotion’s next tournament. Ishii (18-8-1) is coming off of three submision wins on the European regional circuit. He has not had a great run in MMA after a career as a judoka, and was brutally knocked out a couple of times in Bellator and RIZIN. However, he has looked better as of late and makes an intriguing addition to PFL. You’d have to imagine a lot of fighters are interested in going there now after the million dollar tournament just finished.