The UFC heads to the Czech Republic for the first time ever with UFC Fight Night 145 scheduled this coming Saturday, February 23, 2019 at the O2 Arena in Prague.

Headlining the event is a light heavyweight throwdown between Jan Blachowicz and Thiago Santos, two fighters who are on a winning streak right now. Let’s preview that fight and the other bouts in the main card as well.

“Fighting" Jan Blachowicz vs Thiago Santos

Jan Blachowicz is enjoying the longest winning streak since joining the UFC in 2014. Blachowicz has won four bouts in a row with two wins coming via submission and two wins by decision. Although he has not recorded a knockout win since stopping Ilir Latifi during his UFC debut, the native of Poland has serious power in his fists. He is coming off a win over Nikita Krylov.

Blachowicz has been knocked out only once and that was a long eight years ago. He has a deep background in kickboxing so he has plenty of weapons whether it’s in the standup or the clinch. He also has a decent ground game with two out of his last four wins coming via submission.

Jan Blachowicz vs Thiago Santos Odds

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Jan Blachowicz - MMA Fighter



Thiago Santos - MMA Fighter



Odds from as of 2/21/19

Thiago Santos is 11-3 in his last 14 bouts and has won nine of those via knockout. He has 14 overall knockout wins and eight of those KOs have come within the first round. Santos has won 70% of his fights by knockout and he’s won seven out of his last eight bouts with his last one a December win over Jimi Manuwa.

The Brazilian is a power hitter who throws each punch with 100% force. He also mixes his punches well with equally powerful kicks. However, Santos is known to be susceptible for the straight punch and two out of his three losses were by knockout.

This is a fight between a well-rounded fighter in Blachowicz ad an explosive striker in Santos. While Blachowicz doesn’t carry the same punching power as Santos, the Pole is effective on his feet with his dirty boxing and Muay Thai striking. On the ground, Blachowicz has the clear advantage and I expect him to shoot for takedowns not only to go for the finish but to wear down Santos. The Brazilian has a tendency to slow down as the fight goes on and when that happens, his power is neutralized and Blachowicz can stick to his striking and win rounds.

Prediction: Jan Blachowicz by decision

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“Fighting" Stefan Struve vs Marcos Rogerio De Lima

Stefan Struve is desperate for a win as he has not won since his submission victory over Daniel Omielanczuk in 2016. Overall, the Skyscraper has lost six out of his last nine fights and is currently on a three-fight losing streak. In his last fight, Struve lost to Marcin Tybura by decision.

Size is what makes Struve standout. He’s a seven footer with an 84 inch reach and that is always intimidating. And although he does possess decent punching power, Struve likes to take his opponents to the ground and go for the submission. The veteran from the Netherlands has 17 wins via submission.

Stefan Struve vs Rogerio De Lima Odds

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Stefan Struve - MMA Fighter



Marcos Rogerio De Lima - MMA Fighter

De Lima


Odds from as of 2/21/19

Rogerio de Lima has alternated wins and losses in each of his first seven UFC bouts. Lima is coming off a November 2018 win over Adam Wieczorek so he is looking for his first winning streak since coming over in 2014. Lima is back at heavyweight after six straight bouts at 205 pounds and he will be facing a literally tall order against Stefan Struve.

Lima has the skill set of a traditional heavyweight but not necessarily the size. He does have serious power and a vicious ground and pound game. He’s hard to stop once he gets his combinations going but he also has the tendency to wear down fast. Five out of Lima’s last seven wins have come via knockout.

Stefan Struve is nearly a foot taller than Rogerio de Lima and the Skyscraper also has a seven inch reach advantage over his opponent. That’s significant really but Struve never really uses his physical advantages really well and if he gets lured into wild exchanges here, there is a chance that he’s going to be in trouble. But if Struve gets into his element, he’s going to get this fight to the canvass where he is most comfortable. Lima hasn’t shown his willingness to go to the ground and if Struve takes him there, it should be easy money for the Skyscraper. Given his advantage in size and his edge on the ground, I like the plus money on Stefan Struve despite his three fight losing streak.

Prediction: Stefan Struve by submission

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“Fighting" Gian Villante vs Michal Oleksiejczuk

Gian Villante enters this fight looking to win back to back fights for the first time since beating Corey Anderson in 2015. Villante’s got mixed results since coming to the UFC but his last four bouts have been decided by a split decision, with him salvaging a split in those bouts.

10 of Villante’s 17 wins have come via knockout and four of his 10 losses have also come via stoppage because he likes to engage in a phone booth fight. Villante lands 4.25 significant strikes per minute but he also absorbs 5.31 significant strikes per minute in return.

Gian Villante vs Michal Oleksiejczuk Odds

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Gian Villante - MMA Fighter



Michael Oleksiejczuk - MMA Fighter



Odds from as of 2/21/19

Michael Oleksiejczuk is coming off a one-year suspension for a failed drug test and this will be his first bout since December 2017 when he defeated Khalil Rountree by unanimous decision. Prior to that bout, Oleksiejczuk won nine straight bouts, eight by stoppage including seven by way of knockout.

Oleksiejczuk lands 5.07 significant strikes per minutes as he is constantly moving forward and applying pressure on his opponent. He’s got good head movement that makes him hard to hit and he always keeps his hands high and chin low. No question about his striking skills as he is one of the most violent strikers around. It will be interesting to see how he does after the long layoff.

This fight has the potential to steal the thunder from the main event because we have two warriors who are willing to stand and trade with each other. Oleksiejczuk is the better and more skilled striker between the two and he also has the heavier hands. Villante has the advantage in size but his opponent is active and deadly with his hands. It only takes one mistake for Oleksiejczuk to take advantage of and finish the fight. Both men can hurt each other but the difference is that Oleksiejczuk can take the fight to the ground if he gets tagged. On the other hand, if Villante gets hurt, I think he gets finished.

Prediction: Michal Oleksiejczuk by knockout

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“Fighting" Liz Carmouche vs Lucie Pudilova

Veteran Liz Carmouche will be fighting her 9th bout inside the octagon and at age 35, she is enjoying some of the best success in her UFC career. She will be aiming for a fourth win in her last five bouts and she is coming off a win over Jennifer Maia last July 2018. Carmouche has gone the distance in her last six fights and has split those six bouts with three wins and three losses.

Known as “Girl-rilla” for being strong for her division, Carmouche likes to take the fight to the ground where she can use her strength to dominate her opponents. She averages 2.95 takedowns landed per 15 minutes and once she gets her foes down, her vicious ground and pound usually takes over.

Liz Carmouche vs Lucie Pudilova Odds

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Liz Carmouche - MMA Fighter



Lucie Pudilova - MMA Fighter



Odds from as of 2/21/19

Lucie Pudilova enters this fight with five victories in her last seven assignments but she is coming off a controversial split decision defeat to Irene Aldana in September 2018. She has gone the distance in all her four UFC fights and she’s split those with two wins and two losses. Pudilova has never lost two fights in a row and will be looking to avoid her first career losing streak.

The Czech Republic native is known for her movement. She likes to move around the octagon and is always looking to land strikes using her fast hands. Pudilova doesn’t have much power in her punches but she has a solid chin and is able to go toe to toe with her foes. She isn’t hard to hit but she is tough enough to go the distance too.

This one’s an interesting matchup because Carmouche is a patient fighter who likes to pick her spots. On the other hand, Pudilova is a ball of energy who just lets her hands go. Carmouche has the huge advantage in experience and grappling but Pudilova has the edge in size and speed. The latter is crucial because what Pudilova wants to happen here is avoid getting dragged to the ground by an experienced grappler like Carmouche. If her takedown defense holds, Pudilova stays unbeaten on home soil. If not, it’s going to be a long night for her. Carmouche is slower but her experience should be too much.

Prediction: Liz Carmouche by decision

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