Volkan Oezdemir-Dominick Reyes, Gokhan Saki-Saparbek Safarov Booked for March

By Jay Pettry Jan 3, 2019
The gears in the light heavyweight division are turning once again, as two significant bouts in the weight class are slated for the Ultimate Fighting Championship's return to London in March.

According to a report from BJPenn.com, Volkan Oezdemir (15-3) will be facing off against the undefeated Dominick Reyes (10-0) at UFC Fight Night 147 in London.

A former light heavyweight title challenger, Oezdemir will be looking to bounce back after dropping consecutive bouts for the first time in his career. First knocked out in a title fight by Daniel Cormier in January, Oezdemir then fell short against Anthony Smith in October, losing that bout by third-round submission. A closer by trade, Oezdemir celebrates a finish rate of 77.8 percent, with all but one of those stoppages coming by knockout.

His opponent, the surging Reyes, has not suffered a defeat across his four-year career, finishing eight of 10 opponents with all eight finishes in the first round. He is coming off a victory against divisional stalwart Ovince St. Preux last October, and a win over Oezdemir may put him in title contention.

Also, the UFC announced on Thursday that light heavyweights Gokhan Saki (1-2) and Saparbek Safarov (8-2) will square off on the London card.

Kickboxing sensation Saki burst on to the mixed martial arts scene in his UFC debut with a thrilling first round knockout of Henrique da Silva in September 2017. His sophomore Octagon outing was far less successful, getting knocked out by Khalil Rountree in 96 seconds -- the quickest loss across his short MMA career as well as his 95-fight kickboxing career.

Undefeated at 8-0 coming into the UFC, Safarov has met serious opposition inside the promotion, first losing his own UFC debut by knockout to Gian Villante in 2016, and then tapping out to a kimura from Tyson Pedro in 2018. Safarov has never gone the distance in any of his 10 fights, and he has never even fought beyond the second round.

UFC Fight Night 147, also known as UFC on ESPN+ 5, will take place at the O2 Arena in London on March 16. No headliner has been announced for this event yet.

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