UFC Saudi Arabia Preview and Prediction: Johnny Walker – Volkan Oezdemir

Kicking off the main card of UFC Saudi Arabia tomorrow is a big time matchup between two top ten light heavyweights. Seventh ranked Johnny Walker (21-8, 1 NC) will look to get back on track as he takes on former title challenger Volkan Oezdemir (19-7).

Starting with Oezdemir, he’s coming off a big time win in his last fight. Not a lot of people were high on the former champion as he entered his last bout against promotional newcomer Bogan Guskov. Oezdemir was just 1-3 in his previous four fights with the lone win being a lackluster win against Paul Craig in London.

However, Oezdemir made a big time statement stopping Guskov in the first round. Guskov had entered the octagon having won four straight in the first round so this was a huge win for Oezdemir. With a win over Walker tomorrow at UFC Saudi Arabia, Oezdemir would find himself right back near the top five mix.

Johnny Walker has had such an interesting journey in the UFC. After winning a contract on The Contender Series, he ran through his first three opponents by first round knockout, but during a celebration of his third win, he really injured his shoulder. When he returned following the injury, he was stopped by Corey Anderson in the first round.

Starting with the Anderson fight, Walker would go just 1-4 in his next five. However, starting in September 2022, he turned it around. Walker won three straight fights which led him to Magomed Ankalaev and a potential title fight. However, Ankalaev stopped him in the second round. Now, he’ll look to get back on track against the former title challenger Oezdemir.

UFC Saudi Arabia Prediction

If this fight was a year ago, I’d 100% ride with Johnny Walker without much hesitation. I just hadn’t been impressed with Volkan Oezdemir in a very long time. However, he really opened my eyes with his last performance and I think he’s made this matchup so much more compelling.

I think these two are going to strike and I don’t think this fight is going the distance. Despite Oezdemir looking great in his last fight, I like Johnny Walker at UFC Saudi Arabia. I think the size, power, and unpredictability is really going to play here. He can’t be too reckless in this one because Oezdemir does have the power to put him out. However, if he stays composed and times the right shots, I think he gets Oezdemir out of there in the second.

Prediction: Johnny Walker by TKO

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