UFC Fight Night 145 - Czech Republic Breakdown & Predictions
When is UFC Fight Night 145? Saturday 23rd February, 2019 - 17:30 start (UK)
Where is UFC Fight Night 145? O2 Arena, Prague, Czech Republic
What channel is UFC Fight Night 145 on? BT Sport 2
Where can I stream UFC Fight Night 145? BT Sport subscribers can stream the fight online via the BT Sport website
Jan Blachowicz vs Thiago Santos
The UFC makes its first ever appearance in the Czech Republic with Prague playing the grateful host. UFC Fight Night 145 is headlined by two top light heavyweight contenders in the shape of Jan Blachowicz and Thiago Santos.
Blachowicz makes the short trip from Poland and will carry over a lot of home support who will have high hopes of seeing him notch his fifth win in a row. The Pole is in the form of his life, starting his winning streak with a ruthless bulldog choke on the feet against Devin Clark and then went on to earn well-earned decisions over Jared Cannonier and Jimi Manuwa and is coming off another brilliant submission over Nikita Krylov.
Santos flies over from Brazil but he has fans wherever he goes as the aggressive slugger is one of the most exciting fighters on the roster. The Brazilian has only lost once in his last eight fights and made the smart decision to move up to the less crowded 205 lb club. He announced himself in the division with a brutal battle against Eryk Anders who could not take any more punishment, collapsing between rounds. Santos then went on to slug it out with one of the hardest hitters in the division – Manuwa – and walked away with another knockout victory.
Blachowicz is a cerebral fighter and will have a plan to avoid getting into a brawl with Santos. The Brazilian is a violent man and would prefer the fight to take place in a phone booth. However, he will have to be careful in closing the distance as Blachowicz is likely to try and take the fight to the floor and wear Santos down and exhaust him to dilute the knockout threat.
Blachowicz is incredibly durable so if Santos can pull off another knockout, a title shot will have to be in question but Blachowicz is confident of spoiling the party by grinding out a decision.
Winner: Blachowicz via Decision
Stefan Struve vs Marcos Rogério de Lima
The Dutch Skycraper graces the first UFC event in the Czech Republic as Stefan Struve takes on Marcos Rogério de Lima.
Struve is riding an unsavoury three-fight losing streak with disappointing performances against Alexander Volkov, Andrei Arlovski and Marcin Tybura. These were against top contenders but if he loses against de Lima, he will be concerned for his UFC future.
A win is a must for Struve as De Lima may be perceived as a step down in competition compared to his recent opponents as the Brazilian is 4-3 in the UFC as a light heavyweight. However, he moved up to heavyweight for his last outing and won a decision on Adam Wieczorek, handing him his second ever loss.
Despite their ropey form, both men are very talented and destructive finishers with 39 between them. De Lima will look for the knockout as he is a devastating puncher but he will need to work hard to close the distance and find the chin of the towering Dutchman.
Although Struve does not use his reach nearly as well as he should, it will still make a significant difference in the fight. The former light heavyweight is only 6’2” and will be giving up ten inches in height, nine in arm reach and five in leg reach.
Struve is likely to utilise this, damaging De Lima with the jab and if he can get the fight to the floor you would bank on him leveraging his long limbs to wrap up a submission.
Winner: Struve via Submission
Gian Villante vs Michal Oleksiejczuk
UFC veteran, Gian Villante travels to the Czech Republic to take on the young prodigy from Poland – Michal Oleksiejczuk – in hope of handing him his first loss in 11 fights.
Oleksiejczuk is only 23 years old and looks a real prospect in the light heavyweight division. He has flown in under the radar but Polish fans know exactly who he is and after serving a his one-year ban for a failed drugs test, he is desperate to prove he doesn’t need any assistance in putting his opponents away.
An odd fight for Villante to take – overseas and against a lion with little to gain but that’s why fans appreciate the New Yorker. He is coming off a win against Ed Herman but despite his explosiveness and power, he has lost his knack of putting on exciting fights with his last four going to limp split decisions.
As we have seen in his last few fights, Villante is capable of causing a lot of damage on the feet but has been too hesitant and this will cost him against Oleksiejczuk. If Villante waits to counter-strike, he will risk taking too much damage.
Oleksiejczuk is also powerful and has the speed to give Villante real issues. The American is very durable but Oleksiejczuk has the youth and motivation of fighting in Europe with the fans behind him. As long as the former TFL light heavyweight champion keeps his hands up and respect the power of Villante, he should get the job done.
Winner: Oleksiejczuk via Decision
Liz Carmouche vs Lucie Pudilová
The only Czechoslovakian on the UFC Fight Night 145 card is Lucie Pudilová who steps back down to flyweight to take on the veteran Liz Carmouche.
Pudilová can’t wait to fight in front of home fans and showcase her skills on the first UFC event in the Czech Republic. She is coming off a loss to Irene Aldana which was a thrilling fight going to a split decision but she is fully expected to be a force down at flyweight.
However, she has a very tough match-up in the shape of Carmouche who made her professional debut all the way in 2010 and has racked up eight UFC fights. Although she has lost four of her UFC fights, she is also a natural bantamweight and was one of the strongest fighters competing in that division. She narrowly lost her flyweight debut to Alexis Davis but bounced back with a dominant decision over Jennifer Maia.
Pudilová is expected to be a real threat in this division as an exceptional striker with a tall frame and is only 24. However, this is a bad match-up for her as Carmouche has the strength and ability to take her down and keep her there.
If Pudilová can avoid the takedown she will pepper Carmouche on the feet but the veteran is a beast grappler and when she gets her hands on the youngster she will punish her in front of her home fans.
Winner: Carmouche via Decision
John Dodson vs Petr Yan
UFC veteran John Dodson takes on the highly touted Petr Yan. The Russian lives and breathes combat and has only one blemish on his MMA record. This was a title fight for ACB which he lost a very close decision to Magomed Magomedov who will surely be in the UFC soon. Since, Yan has won six in a row including three impressive UFC fights with knockouts over Teruto Ishihara and Douglas Silva de Andrade as well as a decision over Jin Soo Son.
Dodson is looking to call upon all his experience to derail the hype train. Since moving back up to bantamweight, ‘The Magician’ has struggled for consistency mainly due to fighting animals in the division. He has lost decisions to John Lineker, Marlon Moraes and Jimmie Rivera but going to decisions against these guys is an achievement in itself.
Dodson has lost four of his last seven but you have to take into account the calibre of fighters he has faced. They are all top contenders and Dodson will no doubt put on a performance of a top bantamweight so this will be a real test for Yan.
Dodson will have the speed advantage on the feet but he will need to work hard to break the defence of the Russian. Expect a lot of output and feints from both men who will take any opportunity to mix in takedowns and clinches.
They both have the power to finish the fight but they are so evenly-matched and judges may have a tough call to make. If Yan can get past Dodson the hype is real.
Winner: Yan via Decision
Magomed Ankalaev vs Klidson Abreu
The main card in Prague kicks-off with another demon from Dagestan in the shape of Magomed Ankalaev. As you would guess his grappling is savage - in particular his Sambo - but Ankalaev prefers to dish out the punishment with his fists.
The Russian was originally scheduled to fight Darko Stošić but he had to pull out, leaving the door open for Klidson Abreu to make his UFC debut. Hats off to the Brazilian who has stepped up to fly over to the Czech Republic and take on the prospect who’s only loss was a crazy triangle in the last second of his fight against Paul Craig.
Abreu deserves his shot with a healthy record and a six-fight winning streak. He has fought in a variety of promotions but has not faced anyone near the quality of Ankalaev.
On paper, this looks like a striker vs grappler match-up with ten of Abreu’s 14 wins coming via submission. Interestingly, Ankalaev’s sole loss as mentioned is a submission and Abreu’s two losses were via knockout.
So, you would think the Brazilian’s best chance of a win is to take the fight to the ground, look for a submission and avoid the striking of Anaklaev. However, Ankalaev is also a tremendous grappler and has the power to stifle any takedown attempts and is likely to have his success on the feet.
Winner: Ankalaev via KO/TKO
Striking and grappling stats sourced via FightMetric.