Velickovic Meets Michailidis in OKTAGON 51 Main Event Friday
New Year’s weekend is just about here. Every year around this time, the closure of the old year is celebrated with parties, Hors D’oeuvres, champagne toasts, and the like, punctuated by a ball drop at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve to bring in the next 12 months of this journey called life.
This year, the party gets started early. On Friday, the MMA world watches a dynamite show to close out 2023.
O2 Arena in Prague is the setting for OKTAGON MMA‘s finale this year, OKTAGON 51. While the broadcast designation for this event varies from region to region worldwide, it can be seen in America on DAZN. Live coverage begins at noon ET/ 9 am PT so you can watch the fights during lunch on Friday.
Tipsport Gamechanger Welterweight Tournament Final in OKTAGON 51 Main Event
Barring any late cancellations between now and Friday, OKTAGON 51 is currently scheduled to feature 10 MMA fights. Highlighting the night is the final of the Tipsport Gamechanger Welterweight Tournament in the OKTAGON 51 main event.
PFL and UFC alum Bojan Velickovic (24-12-2 MMA, 6-2 OKTAGON) squares off against fellow UFC alumnus Andreas Michailidis (16-6 MMA, 3-0 OKTAGON). With no championship belt at stake, this main event will be an advertised maximum of three rounds at five minutes per round to close the show and the year’s activities.
💰 Tipsport Gamechanger 💰
Sixteen of the best welterweights in Europe have been whittled down to only two.
On Friday at OKTAGON 51, Bojan Veličković 🇷🇸 will clash with Andreas Michailidis 🇬🇷 to win the bracket and claim €300,000.
📺 https://t.co/TVP7NaEp1x | DAZN | Channel 4 pic.twitter.com/21LhxUxfbf
— OKTAGON MMA (@OktagonOfficial) December 27, 2023
At stake: A 300,000-Euro cash prize. According to the exchange rate, 300,000 Euros is equal to more than $333,000 in US currency.
OKTAGON 51 Main Event Fighter Comparison and Betting Odds
Heading into the OKTAGON 51 main event on Friday night, both of these men stand level at six feet even. Bojan Velickovic owns a one-inch reach advantage (76 inches to 75 inches) over Michalidis.
As of Wednesday evening, the oddsmakers have Andreas Michalidis installed as a -138 betting favorite on the money line, with Bojan Velickovic countering as a +105 underdog. For the final time in 2023, if you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening this weekend, please wager responsibly.
Bojan Velickovic Looking for Career-Defining Win in OKTAGON 51 Main Event
Bojan Velickovic enters the OKTAGON 51 main event, having posted a record of 3-2 in his last five fights. Currently, he’s on a three-fight winning streak since dating back to the tournament’s opening round on March 4 in OKTAGON 40.
Last time out, he scored a first-round knockout (ground and pound shots) during the semifinal against David Kozma (32-13 MMA, 6-2 OKTAGON) in OKTAGON 46 on September 16. Before the beginning of the welterweight tournament, Velickovic didn’t know what he would do regarding his MMA career, which he told Cageside Press.
“I don’t put too much thought into it,” Velickovic began. “I think it’s the same for everyone. I just take it one fight at a time. I can’t predict what the future holds and all that. It’s important to win this fight that’s ahead of me, and then the next one, and then the next one.”
That “one fight at a time” mentality has worked out to the letter for Bojan Velickovic. He’s been in the UFC and the PFL.
Will Michalidis Continue the Upswing?
In the other corner, Andreas Michalidis also enters the OKTAGON 51 main event on a 3-2 record over his last five fights. He’s won three consecutive contests since joining the OKTAGON promotional banner from the UFC in March of this year.
Most recently, he needed just 33 seconds to stop Louis Glismann (11-3 MMA, 2-1 OKTAGON) on Sept. 16. Much like his opponent, Andreas Michalidis also spent time in the UFC earlier in his fighting career, but he fell on hard times while in Dana White’s promotion.
During his UFC tenure, he only went 1-3 between July 2020 on Fight Island and June 2022. The lone victory in that stretch came in his second promotional appearance, a unanimous decision win over KB Bhullar on May 1, 2021.
Since getting his walking papers from MMA’s top promotion, it’s been nothing but wins for Andreas Michalidis. Perhaps a change of scenery was what he needed to get his career back on track.
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
Stylistically, the OKTAGON 51 main event looks to be a toss-up. Both of these men are skilled in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Watch for a Thunderous Knockout from Velickovic
Bojan Velickovic can bring the fireworks whenever he goes to the cage. David Kozma found it out firsthand back in September.
During the first round of a scheduled three, Kozma and Velickovic found themselves in the clinch, with the latter trying to drag the former down to the mat to finish the contest on the ground. While Kozma broke free, it would be immaterial in the long run.
Velickovic peppered Kozma with kicks to the head and caught a kick attempt from his opponent to take him down, finishing the job with a barrage of ground-and-pound strikes inside four minutes. If Bojan Velickovic can snatch the momentum from Andreas Michalidis early, this could be most beneficial to him.
Andreas Michalidis Can End Things Quickly
Fight fans are advised not to look away from your laptop screen, TV, or mobile device when Andreas Michalidis is in the cage. You might miss the end of the OKTAGON 51 main event.
Right from the command to fight against Louis Glismann, Michalidis was a man on a mission. He quickly and smartly attacked Glismann with kicks to the leg before moving upstairs with punches to the head.
About 30 seconds into the round, Glismann’s body crumpled, leading to a final flurry of head shots and a knockout victory. Look for Michalidis to get a fast start in the main event on Friday.
He’ll take the money home if he comes out of the gates running on all cylinders.
With big money on the line in the OKTAGON 51 main event, expect both of these fighters to be on their A-game. This will be a fun one to watch.
Prediction: Andreas Michalidis by First-Round TKO.