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UFC Fight Night 82 fight card: Ovince St-Preux vs Rafael Cavalcante full fight preview

Ovince St-Preux and Rafael Cavalcante will battle this Saturday (Feb. 6, 2016) at UFC Fight Night 82 inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. In a match up of knockout artists, what adjustments must be made for either man to claim victory? Find out below!

Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight scrappers Ovince St-Preux and Rafael Cavalcante will brawl this Saturday (Feb. 6, 2016) at UFC Fight Night 82 inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"OSP" has proven himself to be one of the best 205-pound talents in the world, but he's also struggled against the division's elite. Since he came up short in his last bout, this is an important rebound fight for St-Preux.

On the other hand, Cavalcante's UFC career may be on its last legs. In the last four years, he's gone an abysmal 1-3 (1), failing a drug test in that time as well. If "Feijao" doesn't perform here, the former Strikeforce champion may find himself looking for a new promotion.

Let's take a look at the keys to victory for both men:

Ovince St. Preux
Record: 18-7
Key Wins: Mauricio Rua (UFC Fight Night 56), Patrick Cummins (UFC on FOX 15), Ryan Jimmo (UFC 174)
Key Losses: Glover Teixeira (UFC Fight Night 73), Ryan Bader (UFC Fight Night 47), Gegard Mousasi (Strikeforce: Melendez vs Masvidal)
Keys to Victory: One of the most athletic men in the division, St-Preux has refined his game greatly in recent years. Though there are still some technical holes, "OSP" has covered most of them up fairly well and is now quick to exploit any of his opponents' weaknesses.

In this bout, St-Preux is faced with a largely one dimensional fighter. At this point in his career, Cavalcante is a brawler with a tiny gas tank, as he's shown little else in the last few years.

Therefore, "OSP" may want to switch it up and rely on his wrestling ability. St-Preux possesses a solid wrestling background and great deal of physical strength, which should be enough to drag his opponent down to the mat.

From top position, it's not like St-Preux has to stall. He's still lanky and powerful from top position, as evidenced by prior ground and pound stoppages. Besides, even if "OSP" doesn't manage to do serious damage after landing the takedown, it will tire his opponent out and make him more susceptible to a later knockout blow.


Rafael Cavalcante
Record: 12-6 (1)
Key Wins: Igor Pokrajac (UFC Fight Night 32), Yoel Romero (Strikeforce: Barnett vs Kharitonov), Muhammed Lawal (Strikeforce: Houston)
Key Losses: Patrick Cummins (UFC 190), Ryan Bader (UFC 174), Thiago Silva (UFC on Fuel TV 10)
Keys to Victory: On paper, Cavalcante is a brutal knockout artist with vicious Muay Thai and a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. More recently, "Feijao" looks more like a sloppy head-hunter without any sort of ground game, and that's largely because of his shallow gas tank.

If Cavalcante comes into this bout in shape, it's a very intriguing match up that could genuinely go either way. If not, he's offering up his opponent an easy victory unless one of his wild haymakers happens to connect.

For the sake of keeping this interesting, let's assume that Cavalcante has taken this bout seriously and will show up in condition to fight hard on Saturday night. In that case, Cavalcante's strategy is clear.

At one point, Cavalcante ran through the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight division, and he did it with aggressive Muay Thai. For all of his improvements, St. Preux is still fairly hittable. If Cavalcante brings the fight to his opponent, works his violent clinch game, and has put in the grappling work, he's actually in pretty strong position to derail his opponent and return to the win column.

Bottom Line: This is a pivotal fight for both men, as neither can really afford the loss.

St-Preux needs to win this fight to remain a potential contender. If he loses to Cavalcante -- who has looked truly dreadful in recent years -- then it's a massive step back, one that he may not be able to recover from.

The more likely situation is that St-Preux scores a violent finish at some point and is back in the mix. Whether he can eventually overcome the hump and beat a truly elite fighter remains to be seen, but a win here will grant him the opportunity to do so.

This is a must-win fight for Cavalcante. Light Heavyweight may be quite thin, but it's hard to see him being kept around if he comes in out of shape and losses once more.

At the very least, Cavalcante needs a decent showing.

If Cavalcante shows up motivated and pulls off the victory, that would be a major switch up for the division. Light Heavyweight desperately needs new fighters in the title mix, and a win here would earn "Feijao" that status.

At UFC Fight Night 82, Ovince St. Preux and Rafael Cavalcante will battle. Which man will earn the victory?

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