PREVIEW: Daniel Cormier vs. Volkan Oezdemir
By: Bryce Featured Image Credit: TheMMA Dude / YouTube
In a continuation of our coverage leading up to UFC 220 this weekend in Boston, this is a more in-depth view of the Light Heavyweight title fight between Daniel Cormier and Volkan Oezdemir.
DC is suuuuuuuuper good at MMA. He, like I said, is very well rounded, not having any true faults. Of course, he is at a disadvantage against an elite striker or jiu-jitsu practitioner, but he can hold his own against both. What sets him apart is obviously his wrestling. His slam of Dan Henderson was jaw-dropping. He is one to "embrace the grind," as he says, and it has paid dividends for him. Yet, he gets boo'd often. I believe part of it has to do with the fact that he fought Jon Jones, who is one of the most popular and polarizing figures in the sport's short history. Everyone seems to love Jon when he is in the octagon, so any adversary of his is an enemy. Couple that with the fact he (unofficially) lost both fights to Jones, and I see where some of the booing comes from. He needs to distance himself from that part as quick as he can. Enter Volkan Oezdemir.
This fight against "No Time" is important for Cormier because it isn't one of the big 4 of 205 (Jones, Rumber, Gus, and him), so it's something new for the fans to see, and Volkan puts dudes out cold. Cormier needs to respect the power of Oezdemir and not take too many risks, yet he needs to look for a finish. It's a tight line to walk, but he's gonna have to do it if he hopes to get over with the fans.
Oezdemir is an odd case. Say what you want about the strength of the divison, but Oezdemir has only fought top 10 guys since entering the UFC last year. He has beaten OSP, Misha Cirkunov, and most recently Jimi Manuwa. He finished the latter two by KO in the first minute of the very first round. He's forced the UFC's hand to select him for this fight, and he has quickly gathered a following. Should he do the same to the current champion, expect fans to jump on the hype train quickly and in masses.
In order to get those fans and, most importantly, the belt, Volkan has to put on the performance of his life. Against Manuwa, he was able to hurt him in the clinch with short punches, and with DC being such a good grappler, I would assume an opportunity to use those weapons will come in the fight. Also, DC has been hurt, most recently KOd by Jon Jones, and although it doesn't hurt DC on his record, it does show his chin can give out. If anyone that's left in this division can land that knockout punch, it's Volkan "No Time" Oezdemir.
As for my pick for the fight (that you can see HERE), I have the champion. Volkan definitely has more than a puncher's chance in one, and he is a very dangerous guy, but I believe that Cormier will neutralize his attack with his wrestling and improved ground game. You go get some, Champ.
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