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Shogun Rua vs. Ovince Saint Preux 2 full fight preview | UFC 274

UFC Fight Night Uberlandia - Shogun v Saint Preux Photo by Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight finishers Mauricio Rua and Ovince Saint Preux will rematch this weekend (Sat., May 7, 2022) at UFC 274 inside Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

This is really the rematch that nobody has been demanding, but it kind of makes sense? Back when “OSP” knocked out Rua in 2014, it was likely the biggest win of his career and seen as a considerable upset. Typically, when an up-and-comer knocks out a veteran, there’s no need for a rematch. However, eight years later, Rua has actually fared better recently. He’s 2-1-1 in his last four, though it’s been a couple years since his last walk to the Octagon. Saint Preux has been more active, but he’s lost three of his last four and has been looking rather flat.

Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:

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Mauricio Rua

Record: 27-12-1
Key Wins: Corey Anderson (UFC 198), Tyson Pedro (UFC Fight Night 142), Gian Villante (UFC Fight Night 106), Lyoto Machida (UFC 113), Forrest Griffin (UFC 134)
Key Losses: Ovince St. Preux (UFC Fight Night 56), Jon Jones (UFC 128), Paul Craig (UFC 255), Anthony Smith (UFC Fight Night 134), Dan Henderson (UFC 139, UFC Fight Night 38)
Keys to Victory: Rua is a legend of Muay Thai. As he’s aged, Rua has become less of a kicker — with occasional throwback performances — but he’s retained the huge amounts of knockout power in his hands.

For the last five years, I’ve wrote nearly the same main idea in this section of “Shogun” articles: throw kicks! Rua is a much better fighter when he’s mixing it up and giving his opponent lots of weapons to think about rather than just punches. Of course, his knees are likely the main deciding factor in whether or not Rua is letting his kicks rip.

In this match up, however, it’s especially important. In their first fight, Rua was clipped early chasing the rangier man down. If he tries to take off Saint Preux’s head early, he’s likely to run into a similar shot, because that’s one of Saint Preux’s best skills.

Rua has to show patience (which kicks would make easier). He cannot rush to close range and expose himself to Saint Preux’s counters. If he can instead chip away at distance and enter his punching range in a more methodical manner, he stands a real chance at earning revenge.

Ovince Saint Preux

Record: 25-16
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), Alonzo Menifield (UFC Vegas 9)
Key Losses: Jon Jones (UFC 197), 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), Jamahal Hill (UFC Vegas 16)
Keys to Victory: Saint Preux has always been an interesting fighter. He’s got some excellent weapons — his power left kicks, intercepting counters and brutal submissions — but he doesn’t always put that together into a compete MMA game.

Saint Preux wins fights when his kicks are landing. If he’s being backed up too much and cannot get off his kicks, he’s left to rely on his boxing, which isn’t great outside of those sneaky counters. Against Rua, it’s especially important that he batters the Brazilian with power kicks, that way he can convince Rua to give him an opening for the counter shot.

That’s the great thing about being the bigger, taller Southpaw: “OSP” doesn’t need to set up his left kick. He can fire his round kick with impunity, because it’s such a powerful shot that even blocking it hurts. If Saint Preux wants to mix it up a bit, a feint or two and switching to an occasional front kick will help keep Rua back.

If “OSP” can slam his shin into Rua’s thighs, stomach and forearms a few times, the fight gets a whole lot easier.

Bottom Line

Both men need a win to keep the ball rolling.

There were actually reports that Rua retired prior to this booking, which wasn’t a shock given his 20-year professional career. It seems that the Brazilian is back for at least one more dance, which can accomplish a couple things. For one, it could afford him the opportunity to avenge an earlier loss and retire on a victory. Alternatively, a win here allows Rua to keep getting UFC fight offers.

Meanwhile, a loss may be the end ... one way or another.

If “OSP” can get his groove back a bit at 205-pounds, he’s still a valuable member of the roster, an active athlete who can test up-and-comers. That’s the position he’s fighting for this weekend, because a third-consecutive loss could send the 39-year-old veteran to a different promotion. It’s important to note that most of his recent losses were at Heavyweight, so this is a chance to really reestablish himself.

At UFC 274, Mauricio Rua and Ovince Saint Preux will go to war. Which fighter will earn victory in their second meeting?

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 274 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 274: “Oliveira vs. Gaethje” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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