Oezdemir, ranked No. 15 in the MMAA Fighjting Global Rankings, snapped a two-fight skid with scores of 30-27 for superior damage done on the feet and in half-guard, where he repeatedly found himself as Craig crashed into his legs.
Craig tried mightily to secure a leg in the early going of the fight. A blatant fence grab helped Oezdemir escape the worst of them, and a lack of drive on subsequent takedowns helped the one-time title challenger stay upright. Rather than push Oezdemir to the ground, Craig used his shots to tie up and pull guard. The problem was, Oezdemir refused to play for any length of time on the ground, and when he did, he scored points on top.
Forced to stand it out, Craig struck sloppily with Oezdemir, occasionally landing a fancy spinning back-kick, before back-flopping for the awkward ref standup.
The loss snapped a 5-0-1 streak for Craig, who’d previously pulled off two triangle chokes in the octagon before a London crowd, including a tap of Nikita Krylov in the promotion’s March trip to the city. After losses to Jiri Prochazka and Magomed Ankalaev, Oezdemir gets a much-needed win to resuscitate his career.