Cody Brundage is a 28-year-old middleweight fighting out of Factory X Gym. Brundage lost his Dana White Contender Series opportunity in 2020, then won another fight via submission at LFA 99, and earned a shot in the UFC. He dropped his debut via decision but has rattled off back to back 1st round finishes since. Michal “Hussar” Oleksiejczuk, 27, debuted in the UFC in 2017, where his fight was overturned to a no-contest. Since then, he’s ping-ponged between divisions and in the win/loss column. Overall, Oleksiejczuk is 5-3-1 in the UFC, with all but one win coming in the 1st round.
Oleksiejczuk opened just south of a -300 favorite but has slowly been closing that gap throughout the week.
- Oleksiejczuk: -280
- Brundage: +230
Brundage is stepping in on short notice to take on Oleksiejczuk. Brundage is a fun but flawed fighter who can be difficult to handicap; which, if you predict his outcome correctly, can be lucrative. Brundage is often scouted as a strong wrestler with minimal striking, however, that is overly simplistic. Looking deeper, Brundage is a strong defensive wrestler with a sneaky submission game, poor offensive wrestler, and a high-risk, high-reward striker. He tends to be overly confident on the feet, with is hands low, as he looks to land a big shot. Brundage takes liberties on the feet with big looping single shots because he can often defend takedown attempts even if he is off balance or find a submission if an opponent shoots a lazy takedown. His goal, as is with many wrestlers, is to stun or drop an opponent on the feet with a heavy over-hand; then, if the strike misses, follow the momentum into a takedown attempt. Interestingly, or, possibly, concerningly, Brundage rarely finds success using the momentum of his punch for a takedown. In fact, Brundage, despite being thought of as a strong wrestler, only has a 30% takedown success rate. So, while his strategy of powershot into a power takedown is sound, his execution is not. Defensively, his inability to follow the powershot gets him into trouble. Because his striking technique is lower level and he throws with such all-out power, he can often be caught off-balance. Again, Brundage is a strong defensive wrestler, even when off balance, so a counter takedown attempt is rarely a concern. What is more concerning is if Brundage swings and misses, is off-balance, and has to try to evade or absorb a heavy counter shot. He’s only been knocked out once but Brundage’s hyper aggression, off-balance striking, and inability to get to the hips if he misses with his powershot all create a really dangerous environment that a sound counter-puncher can thrive in.
Oleksiejczuk is a hyper-aggressive power puncher who knows what he does well in the octagon-knockouts-and hunts that path to victory pathologically. Like Brundage, Oleksiejczuk is flawed as well. Despite having a legitimate path to victory-blitz and bang-Oleksiejczuk struggles with cardio, grappling defense, and a second layer or path to victory for himself. “Hussar” has real power, he has fought at 205 and has found success with his hands there, despite often being undersized. At 185, Oleksiejczuk is often the larger fighter and his power is even more pronounced. Once the fight begins, Oleksiejczuk looks to take the center of the canvas, kickbox with aggression and power, and back his opponent into the cage. Because he has poor cardio, after a :60 burst brawl, Oleksiejczuk can often be temporarily tired. Clinching against the cage gives him an opportunity for a breather. But, he has to be careful because his grappling is defensively inept and an experienced grappler can suddenly find his neck, even if Oleksiejczuk is in an advantageous position. If he can survive the clinch without getting reversed or submitted, Oleksiejczuk is dangerous on the break. He has a killer hook and loves to unload it after pushing away from the cage following a clinch exchange. If it lands, it’s often lights out for his opponent. In fights where an opponent can survive Oleksiejczuk’s hyper-aggressive first round, he struggles to find success in rounds 2 and 3 because, outside of his brawl and clinch style of fighting, Oleksiejczuk does not have a reliable second path to victory.
In a fight where both men are flawed, limited, and not deserving of being nearly a 3:1 favorite over anyone on the roster, I wouldn’t fault anyone for going with Brundage strictly for the value. As a +230 underdog, Vegas is giving Brundage a 30% chance of winning. I think that is too low. That being said, I’m here to advise what should happen, not what could happen. What should happen is Oleksiejczuk finishes this fight early. Brundage is defensively porous and Oleksiejczuk his hyper-aggressive with power. I’ll take Oleksiejczuk to end it quick. Though, if Brundage survives round 1, even if he losses, taking him in a live bet would be sharp.
Pick: Oleksiejczuk RD1 KO/TKO
Michael Pounders is a high school English Teacher, a boxer himself, and is a fan who loves, gambles on, and nerds out about all things MMA.