Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight brawlers Steve Bosse and Sean O’Connell will throw down this Saturday (June 18, 2016) at TD Place Arena in Ottawa, Canada.
Bosse's career has certainly been interesting. Though he’s only competed twice inside the Octagon, he’s already retired, returned from retirement, and switched weight classes. Oh, and he played semi-professional hockey in Canada prior to his fight career.
Meanwhile, O’Connell has had some ups-and-downs in his UFC career, but a pair of factors have remained consistent. First and foremost, O’Connell comes out and swings for the fences. More than that, his fights have always been exciting, win or lose.
Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for both athletes:
Key Wins: James Te Huna (UFC Fight Night 85), Houston Alexander (Instinct MMA 1)
Key Losses: Thiago Santos (UFC Fight Night 70)
Keys to Victory: Bosse may be 34 years old, but his biggest advantage over most of the men he faces is that he's the superior athlete. His game may not be super deep, but Bosse can punch with the best of them and has solid instincts for finding the opportunity to land.
Both of these men follow the same game plan each time out. They walk forward, find their range, and do their best to beat the tar out of the opponent standing across from them.
In this bout, I'd like to see Bosse steal Ilir Latifi's strategy. Latifi was patient early on and allowed O'Connell to take the center of the Octagon. It was only a matter of time before "The Real OC" got too aggressive in his attempts to force the fight, and Latifi simply let him walk into a massive punch.
"The Boss" has the skills necessary to make a similar strategy work here. O'Connell throws at an extraordinarily high volume, but he eats a similar amount of punches. If Bosse waits for his moment to really commit to a knockout blow, there's a very good chance it will land.
Key Wins: Anthony Perosh (UFC Fight Night 65), Matt Van Buren (UFC Fight Night 59), Marvin Eastman (Showdown Fights 12)
Key Losses: Ilir Latifi (UFC Fight Night 81), Ryan Jimmo (TUF: Nations Finale), Gian Villante (UFC Fight Night 43)
Keys to Victory: Like his opponent, O'Connell is very much an offense-first brawler. A decent athlete in his own right, O'Connell is less about the one punch finish and more about overwhelming his opponent with a high volume of hard shots.
In this bout, I'd like to see O'Connell take advantage of his size and work from the outside, at least early on. If O'Connell can pump out a high volume of range attacks without over-committing, he should be able to make his opponent work without leaving his chin wide open.
Bosse is very much a finish-or-be-finished athlete. He throws hard and fast early, and that ends most of his fights in the first round. If O'Connell can force his opponent to spend energy without taking major damage, it sets him up wonderfully to take over later in the fight.
Bottom Line: Somebody is getting knocked out.
Bosse’s last victory was the biggest of his career. Te Huna may have been on his way out, but he was a long-time UFC veteran and Bosse absolutely flattened him. If he can follow that victory up with another knockout here, Bosse will likely take a step up in competition next.
Should Bosse come up short, he's not in a great position. His style should buy him another opportunity to compete, but that’s far from a guarantee nowadays.
Similarly, O’Connell needs this win. He’s coming off a big knockout loss, and while he’s a very entertaining fighter, that may not save him if his record dips to 2-4 opposite "The Boss."
On the other hand, O’Connell is the type of fighter the UFC loves to have around to fill up cards. So long as he can the fighter who hands out the knockout just a bit more often than he's on the receiving end, he should have a place in the Light Heavyweight division.
At UFC Fight Night 89, Steve Bosse and Sean O’Connell will face off. Which fighter will remain standing when the dust settles?