Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight bruisers Ovince Saint Preux and Tyson Pedro will collide this Saturday (June 23, 2018) at UFC Fight Night 132 inside Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore.
Saint Preux’s career has seen its share of ups-and-downs, but an excellent three-fight win streak in 2017 seemed to reinvigorate his status as a potential title contender. Unfortunately, “OSP’s” historic inconsistency came back to crumble his run when Ilir Latifi quickly flattened him a few months back.
Luckily, Saint Preux is insanely active compared to most 205-pound fighters, allowing him to jump right back into the mix.
Alternatively, Pedro is still a very new and promising face at Light Heavyweight. The 26-year-old has won three of four inside the Octagon — scoring three stoppages in the process — and even his loss was a reasonably competitive fight with a far more experienced foe in the aforementioned Latifi.
Let’s take a closer look at their keys to victory:
Ovince Saint Preux
Key Wins: Mauricio Rua (UFC Fight Night 56), Corey Anderson (UFC 217), Patrick Cummins (UFC on FOX 15), Ryan Jimmo (UFC 174)
Key Losses: Ilir Latifi (UFC on FOX 28), Jimi Manuwa (UFC 204), Volkan Oezdemir (UFC Fight Night 104), Glover Teixeira (UFC Fight Night 73)
Keys to Victory: “OSP” has long been an extremely talented athlete with an oddly put together mixed martial arts (MMA) game. He’s dangerous in all areas and definitely not incompetent anywhere, but sometimes things just fall apart.
Interestingly, Pedro is somewhat similar, although he has the excuse of being much earlier in his professional career.
In this bout, Saint Preux has two concrete advantages: His brutal left kicks and a wrestling background. Between the two, it seems Saint Preux’s best bet is to maintain distance by slamming kicks into Pedro’s open side. Pedro likes to kickbox from distance as well, but he has no devastating weapon like Saint Preux’s power kick.
Could “OSP” wrestle? Sure, and in a pinch, it could be a game-changer. At the same time, Saint Preux has been out-grappled on the mat, and so far Pedro has shown some legitimately nasty counter wrestling, so it might be best to avoid the shot if possible.
Key Wins: Khalil Rountree (UFC Fight Night 101), Paul Craig (UFC 209), Saparbek Safarov (UFC 221)
Key Losses: Ilir Latifi (UFC 215)
Keys to Victory: Pedro is an interesting mix of skills. A lanky Light Heavyweight, Pedro tends to like working from all the way out with a long jab and tricky kicks or inside the clinch, where his height makes devastating knees easier to land. On the mat, he’s opportunistic, able to throw an opponent to the mat and jump on the neck or counter a takedown with a submission.
On the feet, this bout has the potential to be very close. Both men really like to throw single shots or short combinations from range and have similar reach and height. There’s every chance they’ll end up in a tit-for-tat type of kickboxing battle, but the man who can break through that flow and make something big happens should see his hand raised.
In Pedro’s case, I’d like to see him push into the boxing range and try to find Saint Preux’s chin. “OSP” has some tricky counters, but that’s about the extent of his boxing game; he rarely wins extended exchanges in the pocket. Pedro doesn’t have to constantly push forward and frequently leave himself vulnerable to those counters, but if he can capitalize on the occasional moment where “OSP” backs into the fence or is generally out of position, those few big combinations could be the difference.
Bottom Line: Light Heavyweight is pretty abysmal right now, so the winner is sort of in the title mix.
For Saint Preux, his big issue is that he’s lost to most of the top contenders before. At the same time, he’s never faced Alexander Gustafsson before, so it’s not impossible that a win sets him up for a title eliminator even if he did lose his last bout. Alternatively, a second loss — one to a younger prospect rather than fellow athlete in his prime — would force “OSP” to string together another win streak before such an opportunity could emerge.
As for Pedro, this is a big step up in competition. Frankly, it’s probably a bit too soon, but not because Pedro doesn’t have a fair shot at winning. He does, but it would really benefit the Aussie to get more fights against mid-level opponents considering he’s just eight fights deep in his pro career. Nevertheless, if he takes out Saint Preux, Pedro will rise into the Top 5 and have no choice but to face the division’s best.
At UFC Fight Night 132, Ovince Saint Preux and Tyson Pedro will meet in the Octagon. Which man will leave with a victory?