Light Heavyweight Bout
This is an exciting matchup between two up-and-coming light heavyweights, each relative UFC newcomers with eleven career wins. Crute had a bounce-back win in February, with a round one Kimura submission on Michael Oleksiejczuk. His prior fight was the only loss of his career, by Peruvian necktie in round one to Misha Cirkunov.
Crute has finished eight of his eleven wins, evenly split between submissions and knockouts. Bukauskas comes in following his UFC debut, in which he forced a stoppage between rounds against Andreas Michailidis. He has ten finishes of his eleven wins, with nine knockouts and two submissions. The Baltic Gladiator is now riding a seven-fight win streak, he’s finished all seven, and five of those finishes were in the first round.
Bukauskas is a long and quick striker with great footwork and pace. He’ll enjoy a four-inch reach advantage in this fight. He’s patient and attacks in bursts, fighting behind his jab and his low kicks. He uses two and three-strike combinations inside, punctuated with his right hook, then looks to get back out to his kicking range. He has scary head kicks and some creative spinning kicks. His takedown defense isn’t great but he has finished his last three fights by striking his opponents in the sides of their heads while they shoot in for double legs. When he has found himself on his back, he has struggled to get back to his feet and has given up his neck a concerning amount of times. He isn’t going to survive for long if he allows Jimmy Crute to do that.
Crute is a jiu jitsu black belt under Jean-Jacques Machado with excellent single leg takedowns, great control skills and mean ground and pound. He’s very strong and routinely has no problem executing slam takedowns. He attacks on the ground transitioning from arm triangles to kimuras, and one of those submissions is likely what finishes this fight. On his feet, Crute is a positional-pressure striker looking to back his opponents up. He throws a lot of kicks, both high and low. He does work his jabs and straights but he usually looks to throw one punch and get out of the pocket. He has shown one-shot knockout power with his right hook. He generally looks to stay on the outside until he has an opportunity to shoot in for a takedown, but he has no problem standing and swinging. He likely won’t have to in this fight, but if the fight stays standing he’ll likely still have the advantage, backing Bukauskas down and counter-punching.
That being said, this is a dangerous fight to pick. Crute should be able to get Bukauskas to the canvas, control him there, and work for a submission, but, in almost all of Bukauskas’ career wins, he’s been taken down and dominated before finding the knockout. The under seems like an obvious bet, but both of these fighters are patient on their feet and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see this surpass the 7:30 mark.
There’s nothing here we really love, so we’ve recommended a low-unit Confident Play, and some interested value plays, but don’t touch this one if you don’t have room to work with.