THE UFC returns to the South of America for Fight Night 73 with a battle between two of the top-10 ranked light-heavyweight competitors in the division – Glover Teixeira and Ovince Saint Preux.
Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena in Tennessee will play host to two of the best in their weight class, with home town fighter Saint Preux expecting a huge reception as the UFC returns to the music city for the first time in three years.
UFC Fight Night Light-heavyweight headline match up
Glover Teixeira (22-4 MMA, 5-2 UFC) vs. Ovince Saint Preux (18-6 MMA, 6-1 UFC)
Glover Teixeira – $1.75
Ovince Saint Preux – $2.10
The road to Memphis Tennessee
It has been two contrasting build ups for the fighters heading into UFC Fight Night 73.
Glover Teixeira is coming off the back of two consecutive losses in the division; including a loss to the light-heavyweight champion Jon ‘bones’ Jones.
Despite having five wins in a row leading up to the fight inside the octagon – which included four finishes – the 35-year old Brazilian Texeira could not mount an offense to trouble the champ, with a shoulder injury affecting his ability to match it with Jones.
“I can’t move it for now. I did the MRI and I will hopefully do the surgery next week to start my recovery.” Texeira said in the aftermath of his loss to Jones.
Teixeira, who was clearly hampered by the injury was reluctant to attribute the loss to the shoulder complaint.
“Some things I thought would be harder to do, like blocking his kicks and closing the distance, but it was easier than I thought. I can’t say ‘oh, if I had the chance to close the distance and hit him.’ I had that chance.”
Upon his return to the octagon, Teixeira again tasted defeat, losing out to former UFC fighter Phil Davis in a fight that he struggled in due to a less than precise weight cut.
His opponent, 32-year old American Ovince Saint Preux is one of the rising stars in the division, winning his seven of his last eight fights, including the last two via knockout.
Saint Preux had a strange build up to his slated fight in November of 2014, with his opponent Rafael Cavalcante pulling out a month before the fight, only to be replaced by Francimar Barroso.
Another spanner was thrown in the works for the 32-year old American when he was called up at late notice to step into the main event when Jimi Manuwa withdrew citing injury.
Despite the short notice and hostile environment Saint Preux went on to beat Maurcio Rua in his native Brazil, with a knockout in just 34 seconds into the opening round and stamp himself as a genuine player in the division.
His next fight, Saint Pruex knocked out Patrick Cummins in another first round knockout, displaying to the division that his main event knock out was no accident.
What the fighters are saying
Glover Teixeira has used the disappointment of losing two consecutive fights to get himself in prime condition to surge back up the light-heavyweight ranks to earn another shot at the champion, Jon Jones.
“I really lost that fight. Truth be told, I was feeling ill during my weight recovery. But I’m not interested in looking for excuses. I’m already prepared for my next fight. But sometimes, right before a fight, something goes wrong.” Teixeira said.
A greater emphasis on weight management means the Brazilian is more confident going into the fight.
“I cut too much weight for that fight. But now I’m more focused. I’m walking around lighter, and I’m working on my speed. After the Davis fight, I never got heavier than 230 pounds, not once.”
Despite taking an air of confidence into the match up, the 35-year old is wary of what Ovince Saint Preux brings to the Octagon.
“Saint Preux moves very well. He has great punching power.” Teixeira said of his 32-year old opponent.
“I’d rather strike with him. But he’s a guy who also likes takedowns … He has good jiu-jitsu. He’s pretty complete. But so am I.
We’ll separate the men from the boys.”
The 32-year old Ovince Saint Preux is one of the hottest properties in the light-heavyweight division right now.
The American attributes his rapid rise up the ranks to his unpredictability in the octagon.
“You don’t know what to expect from me” Saint Preux said of his prowess within the octagon.
“If I’m not throwing punches at you I’m looking at something that’s unorthodox”
The man they call OSP believes his lightning fast hands give him the advantage over most fighters in the division.
“My last fight Dana (White) was like, ‘this is freaking unbelievable’.” Saint Preux said.
“I tell people all the time ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ … I have the most knockout power in the 205 weight class.
Who will win and why
Winner: Glover Teixeira ($1.74)
Total rounds: Over 1.5 ($1.65)
Will the fight go the distance? Yes ($4.00)
UFC Fight Night 73 is set for an electric main event with two fighters pitted against each other that possess huge knock out weapons and a strong inclination to use them.
While Glover Teixeira has lost two of his last fights, they were against two of the most dangerous men to fight in the weight class, Jon Jones and Phil Davis.
Teixeira is without question one of the best fighters at 205.
His opponent, Ovince Saint Preux has had a great build up to the fight, winning his last two bouts via knock out, and another victory here will sky rocket the Tennessee native up the light-heavyweight ranks.
OSP does not possess great grappling strengthens but has proven in his last fight against Patrick Cummins that his defensive wresting has improved dramatically since we first saw him in the UFC.
The fight is a true toss of the coin, but with experience on his side as well as the time to recover after his shoulder surgery the nod goes to Teixeira.
Other fights on the card:
Anthony Christodoulou ($6.05) vs. Scott Holtzman ($1.13)
Marlon Vera ($1.81) vs. Roman Salazar ($2.00)
Chris Dempsey ($2.44) vs. Jonathan Wilson ($1.54)
Frankie Saenz ($1.74) vs. Sirwan Kakai ($2.08)
Dustin Ortiz ($1.20) vs. Willie Gates ($4.60)
Sara McMann ($1.41) vs. Amanda Nunes ($2.93)
Uriah Hall ($1.27) vs. Oluwale Bamgbose ($3.82)
Ray Borg ($1.19) vs. Geane Herrera ($4.75)
Chris Camozzai ($1.64) vs. Tom Watson ($2.27)
Jared Rosholt ($1.41) vs. Timothy Johnson ($2.93)
Derek Brunson ($1.26) vs. Sam Alvey ($3.90)
Michael Johnson ($1.61) vs. Beneil Darriush ($2.33)