Modestas Bukauskas vs. Khalil Rountree Jr – UFC Vegas 36 Preview
The second fight on the Main card of UFC Fight Night: Brunson v Till brings fans a great match-up in the light-heavyweight division. Former Cage Warrior’s light-heavyweight champion Modestas Bukauskas is set to take on the ever-dangerous UFC veteran Khalil Rountree Jr in a fight that depending on the result will provide many answers for what comes of the next stage in their UFC career.
Modestas Bauskauskas (11 – 4 – 0)
Once tipped to be a big prospect in the UFC following an impressive run in European-based promotion Cage Warriors, the Lithuanian-British four-time kickboxing champion has struggled to find a consistent form and has only managed to win one out of three of his bouts so far in the organization. His most recent win came in his promotional debut in July of 2020, by TKO against Andreas Michailidis, and since then two back-to-back losses by Contenders, Jimmy Crute and Michal Oleksiejczuk have added some additional pressure to make some much-needed changes and secure a win this Saturday. But, let’s not forget, despite the ‘The Baltic Gladiators’ recent slump, the career prior to his UFC tenure was successful and demonstrates an ability to turn things around, and being only 27 years of age, a win against a tough veteran like Khalil Rountree Jr could set up a new chapter and provide some extra motivation as he edges closer toward his fighting prime.
Khalil Rountree Jr (8 – 5 – 1)
Khalil Rountree Jr’s UFC tenure has been an up and down affair, for every impressive win he has achieved, a loss has followed, now going into this next one, it could perhaps be the most important of his UFC career. Rountree first burst onto the UFC scene in 2017, coming off a loss in his debut, he followed with two impressive back-to-back KO wins against tough contenders, particularly Scotland’s Paul Craig, and looked untouchable until suffering defeat to light-heavyweight Johnny Walker. Since then, The TUF fighter flirted with retirement before returning to Fight Island and suffering yet another defeat. There is, however, a great chance that Rountree Jr can return and re-ignite that fire and drive, much like his opponent, he is young, experienced but not done. He has a style of fighting that can either keep a fight going until the end or grab an early finish with one punch, so let that be a thought going into this exciting bout.
Fight fans should expect an exciting fight from start to finish, as both these competitors are known for the willingness to stand up and trade. Both fighters carry a combined effort of 13 knockouts across their career, and in a fight that is a must-win for both, expect little caution and a more risk-heavy style of fighting. Rountree Jr is known for his explosive speed, and power as witnessed when he defeated kickboxing legend Gokhan Saki by KO and earning rewards for his efforts by the company. Also, his style of fighting allows for quick movement, a loose stance that provides ideal space to pick shots and find his target with ease, whereas Bukauskas despite bringing his own power will likely mix it up with some takedowns, kicks to the body, and look to take it to the ground to set up a dominance that will overwhelm Rountree Jr and aim to get himself a TKO.
The outcome will be determined by who controls the stand-up, Rountree Jr only needs to find an opening and land a clean shot, Buskauskas has more tools in his arsenal, and whilst attempting to mix it up could leave himself open to adversity, and that is where Rountree Jr thrives, an opening, and some space followed by a devastating power shot to end the fight. PREDICTION: KHALIL ROUNTREE JR: KO 2ND ROUND
BAUSKAUSKAS: MARTHIN HAMLET, ANDREAS MICHAILIDIS
ROUNTREE JR: PAUL CRAIG, GOKHAN SAKI,