Opetaia vs. Briedis II: A Rematch for Cruiserweight Supremacy

By Robbie Bannatyne - 05/13/2024 - Comments

Jai Opetaia and Mairis Briedis will be fighting for the vacant IBF cruiserweight title this Saturday night, May 18th in a rematch on the undercard on DAZN PPV in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The Rematch That Outshines the Main Event?

Opetaia vs. Briedis II is by far the best fight on the undercard of Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk at the Kingdom Arena. This fight might even be better than the main event, Fury-Usyk is expected to be a chess match.

Two years ago, Opetaia (24-0, 19 KOs) beat IBF cruiserweight champion Briedis (28-2, 20 KOs) by a 12-round unanimous decision in July 2022 in a grueling fight that saw both fighters suffer injuries.

Briedis has been out of commission ever since, whereas Opetaia, 28, suffered a jaw injury, but has come back to win two fights.

Opetaia vacated his IBF title last December after the sanctioning body wanted him to face the still-injured Briedis. Jai then fought Ellis Zorro and stopped him in the first round in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Briedis’ two years of inactivity mean he probably won’t be in the best form for the match with Opetaia. Also, the 39-year-old Briedis isn’t young, so it’s not likely he’ll be able to turn in a vintage performance on Saturday. If the two years of inactivity has rejuvenated Briedis, this will be a real war with him Opetaia firing bombs back and forth.

Still, this fight is a lot better than the other matches on the undercard, which are not great ones.

Undercard Highlights: A British Invasion

Hardcore fans from the UK are excited about this undercard because it has Joe Cordina, Isaac Lowe, and Mark Chamberlain.

Other notable undercard fights on Saturday:

– Frank Sanchez vs. Agit Kabayel
– Joe Cordina vs. Anthony Cacace
– Sergey Kovalev vs. Robin Sirwan Safar
– Mark Chamberlain vs. Joshua Oluwaseun Wahab
– Isaac Lowe vs. Hasibullah Ahmadi
– Moses Itauma vs. Ilja Mezencev
– Daniel Lapin vs. Octavio Pudivitr