European Sambo champion Ion Cutelaba and NJCAA All-American wrestler Devin Clark will meet in the UFC octagon this Saturday for UFC Fight Night 192. The two light heavyweights will fight for a potential three rounds and promise an exciting bout for the fans.
With 14 finishes in his 15 wins, Ion Cutelaba is always looking to end the fight before the bell. With power in his hands, and a background in championship-winning Sambo, he is dangerous anywhere the fight goes, and has the tenacity to back his skills. An odd set of circumstances has left him at a strange point in his career. In 2020, he would attempt to draw in his opponent Magomed Ankalaev by faking stunned, at which point the ref stepped in for a controversial finish, however, the two would rematch and Ankalaev would win without any doubt. Afterward, Cutelaba would go to another controversial decision via a draw with Dustin Jacoby after dominating the first round 10-8 and arguably edging the second. Although now 0-2-1 in his last three, Cutelaba has not looked any less the fighter fans expect, so watch as he returns to the cage with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove Saturday.
Devin Clark likewise will be looking to rebound from a loss. After impressive outings against DeQuan Townsend and Alonzo Menifield, Clark would fall to his most high-profile opponent yet, Anthony Smith who will headline above Clark on Saturday’s card. Coming up short in his biggest fight to date may be a setback to the All-American but his co-main event slot on Saturday could put him right back on track if he can find a way to victory.
Cutelaba vs. Clark betting odds
Clark will come in just barely the underdog at +110 against Ion Cutelaba.
Cutelaba vs. Clark breakdown
Cutelaba is a bit more well-rounded, although probably more of a striker at this point, he will happily strike with grapplers and takedown strikers in order to find his route to victory. Clark, regardless of his opponent, will pretty much always attempt to force the wrestling match.
Both men are very good at being the hammer and are extremely uncomfortable being the nail. Cutelaba comes out strong and historically the first is his best round by far. He will plod forward, circle away from his opponent’s power side, and push the action with slick jabs, hooks, and crosses. Look for him to circle and pick his moment to explode forward as well.
With his Sambo background, power grappling is also always a possibility for the Moldovan, but he often leans on his strength when working the bodylock, takedown, and mat returns. When he is working his opponent against the fence, he strings together good elbows in the grappling positions but on the ground he gives up a bit of room while posturing which experienced grapplers like Clark can exploit and look for a way back to their feet.
His explosive striking and strength-driven grappling style often leave Cutelaba tired starting about mid-fight. At which point his strikes become labored, he still shows good fluid takedown entries but can lack the final commitment to complete them. Most importantly, when he begins to fatigue, he will visibly shift from pressing the fight to fighting off the back foot. He has still shown an ability to work good head movement moving backward but considerably slows down and offers a lower output.
Clark by comparison is much less comfortable on the feet, and much more predictable. More than often a jab, overhand or hook overhand combination is his go to move if he chooses to strike. In certain moments, we have seen him let his hands go and he has looked impressive doing so, but a lack of confidence in his striking usually sees him shoot if his opponents don’t go down quick enough as they are stunned.
On the feet is either in total offense or defense mode- he will throw heavy and move forward but if he is the one getting hit, look for him to cover up and try to shield himself from the storm rather than counter. Afterward he will reset and look to strike on his terms again or shoot for the takedown.
He is by far primarily a wrestler, he will shoot from distance and rarely feint beforehand, however, it is important to note that he bites on feints often, which is a habit Cutelaba should exploit. Clark’s wrestling pressure will do well to sap Cutelaba’s energy if he can establish it early, however, he has shown in the past that he is quick to tap to submission. Ultimately if he can force a wrestling match for the most part, his technical ability and conditioning are difficult to rival, but he falters when finding himself engaging in a striking heavy bout or a submission battle.
Cutelaba vs. Clark Prediction
Cutelaba vs. Clark prediction
It is no secret that Cutelaba will have the advantage early, where he is most dangerous and Clark will likely get the better by the third round. It is also no secret that Cutebala should want it on his feet and Clark will be looking to take him down.
However, I think that Cutelaba can hold his own better in the wrestling exchanges early than Clark can trade with Cutelaba and because of this Cutelaba can keep the fight in the areas he wants early. By doing so he will either find an early finish or get ahead on the scorecards enough that Clark will be playing catch up in round three.
Prediction: Ion Cutelaba wins via stoppage
Braeden Arbour is an aspiring journalist out of Ontario, Canada. He is a recent graduate of Trent University, with a black belt in Karate and a blue belt in Judo. He has also been an avid fan of MMA for the last decade.