Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight hitters Ovince Saint Preux and Alonzo Menifield will collide this weekend (Sat., Sept. 5, 2020) at UFC Vegas 9 inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.
So, uhh, Deja vu anyone?
“OSP” and Menifield were set to battle in the co-main event of UFC on ESPN 15, but a positive COVID-19 test forced Saint Preux out of the match up. Clearly, UFC has learned nothing from the recent Ion Cutelaba vs. Magomed Ankalaev debacle, as it waited a mere 14 days to attempt to re-book the bout. Assuming the fight actually happens, it’s a smart match up. “OSP” has settled into the role of “entertaining gatekeeper,” whereas Menifield is a dangerous (but flawed) up-and-comer who throws bricks. It’s guaranteed fun!
Fair warning, the rest of this article is the same as last time, because ... it’s the same fight under basically the same circumstances. At any rate, let’s again take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Ovince Saint Preux
Key Wins: Mauricio Rua (UFC Fight Night 56), Corey Anderson (UFC 217), Tyson Pedro (UFC Fight Night 132), Michal Oleksiejczuk (UFC Fight Night 160), Patrick Cummins (UFC on FOX 15)
Key Losses: Ilir Latifi (UFC on FOX 28), Nikita Krylov (UFC 236), Jimi Manuwa (UFC 204), Volkan Oezdemir (UFC Fight Night 104), Glover Teixeira (UFC Fight Night 73)
Keys to Victory: Saint Preux is a weird mix of very dangerous skills. He can kick tremendously hard and put anyone down with his left hand, but his boxing technique can be a bit wonky, and he’s been growing easier to hit as of late. On the mat, “OSP” is really nasty with his submissions, most notably the Von Flue choke.
I’ll be honest, this fight feels like a recipe for another strange submission.
Saint Preux does not want to strike with Menifield, who is too aggressive and too powerful. The odds of “OSP” getting blasted are simply too high. Instead, Saint Preux has to use his experience and wrestling skill to extend the fight and tire his opponent out. If he can get this bout to the ground or into the second round, he’s likely to land yet another tapout over a solid prospect.
One other factor worth-noting: in both of Saint Preux’s recent wins over young prospects, “OSP” was dropped or rocked before dragging his foe down. He really cannot afford to get blasted by Menifield, so it would be really wise for him to initiate the grappling as soon as possible, rather than wait until he gets clipped.
Key Wins: Paul Craig (UFC on ESPN 3), Vinicius Moreira (UFC Fight Night 143)
Key Losses: Devin Clark (UFC 250)
Keys to Victory: When Menifield and his huge muscles came from “Contender Series” to immediately dust a pair of opponents inside the first round, the same thought popped into the collective minds of experienced MMA fans: those knockouts are cool, but what happens if he has to fight into the second round?
As we last learned opposite Clark just a couple months ago, nothing good! Menifield punched himself out quickly, and the rest of the fight was pretty sloppy as a result. Against Saint Preux, Menifield cannot afford a similar mistake, as Saint Preux is a much more dangerous finisher.
Fortunately, Saint Preux is now 37 years old, and the effects of age are becoming apparent. He’s become a bit easier to hit and more likely to be wobbled by those blows. Given Menifield’s clearly monstrous power, that’s a big advantage for the up-and-comer.
To give himself the best chance at stopping Saint Preux, Menifield should patiently stalk his foe. Punching to the body wouldn’t be a bad idea, as it would deter takedown attempts. Whenever Saint Preux’s back hits the fence or he exposes himself with his own offense, it’s time for Menifield to release a big combination.
Someone is getting finished.
Saint Preux is no longer a title threat, but he serves a very valuable role in testing the division’s up-and-comers. Plus, “OSP” is especially helpful because he’s willing and able to fight so often. There are not a ton of bodies at Light Heavyweight, but Saint Preux remains a divisional stalwart for a reason.
His position is unlikely to change unless he loses a bunch of fights or retires.
As for Menifield, the Clark loss was definitely disappointing. However, he’s still just 10 professional fights into his career, so there’s reason to hope that it was an eye-opening loss. If he enters this bout better prepared for 15 hard minutes and more able to pace himself, that defeat will have been worthwhile.
Victory over Saint Preux would be pretty major, likely setting up Menifield for a ranked opponent next. A pair of defeats in a row, however, would see Menifield back in the Octagon with fellow prospects and “Contender Series” products.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 9 fight card this weekend right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+ 8 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 9: “Overeem vs. Sakai” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.
At UFC Vegas 9, Ovince Saint Preux and Alonzo Menifield will finally throw down. Which man remains standing when the dust settles?