UFC light-heavyweight competitor Ovince St. Preux will headline his first UFC event tonight (Saturday, August 16, 2014), as he squares off against TUF 8 winner Ryan Bader in the main event of UFC Fight Night 47. The fight itself has huge implications for both men, at opposing ends of the scale.
Both fighters are aged 31, with 21 pro fights to their credit, and they were both collegiate athletes; OSP a linebacker, and “Darth” an All-American wrestler. It would appear though that both men are at different stages in their respective MMA careers. Although having only started fighting a year later than Bader, in 2008, I feel that St, Preux is on the edge of breaking through as a legitimate contender.
“Darth”, on the other hand, has been a very formidable foe in the past, but has often fallen to the stronger talents in the division. Currently riding a five-fight winning streak (four UFC), OSP could well find himself being talked about for a title shot with a win. That being said, a loss could prove just as costly for St. Preux in this situation.
Wins over Vladdy Matyushenko, Keith Jardine, Lil Nog and Anthony Perosh have shown that “Darth” can certainly hang with toughened pro fighters. Rather oppositely though, losses to Jon Jones, Lyoto Machida, Glover Teixeira and Tito Ortiz have shown Bader to be a touch below the required level to become a big name.
A loss to OSP now could well end Bader’s future title hopes, and would mark the beginning of a new dawn for the Tennessee native. A win over someone like Bader, as part of a five-fight streak, would be a great bartering tool for a huge fight. Currently ranked in the number 10 spot, St. Preux would likely find himself near the top five with a win tonight.
Having built up winning records in Strikeforce and XFC, and only lost once in four years and 14 fights, St. Preux’s intimidating style and octagon presence make him a daunting task at the moment. The former football star also has some serious submission skills, as we saw with his von flue choke against Nikita Krylov, and uses very technical striking on the feet.
Bader certainly has some power, but has been to the decision during both his recent wins, which were forgettable at best. There is plenty at risk for both men, and also a ton of momentum to be gained. For OSP though, this is truly his breakthrough fight, should he win convincingly.