Ovince Saint-Preux is flying over the Lightheavyweight division, under the radar.
The 34-year-old will make an astounding fifth Octagon appearance just over 12 months when he fights Ilir Latifi at UFC Charlotte on Jan. 27. Ovince Saint-Preux, “OSP”, and Latifi both expressed interest in the bout over social media, and the UFC made the official announcement this Monday.
2016 was a rough patch for OSP, (22-10), who at one point was 1-4, though two of those losses were decisions. One decision loss was in a fight for the interim belt against returning great Jon “Bones” Jones. However, OSP has bounced back in surprising but quiet fashion with a three finish wins in a row over Marcos De Lima, Yushin Okami, and Corey Anderson. The most recent against Anderson, was an thrilling performance at UFC 217. OSP accepted the fight on short notice and delivered a head-kick KO in the third round against his world class opponent. The previous two finishes were accomplished with OSP’s signature technique, the ‘Von Flue’ choke (now commonly called the ‘Von Preux choke).
OSP’s upcoming opponent, Latifi (13-5, 1 NC), only competed once in 2017, beating Tyson Pedro soundly by unanimous decision at UFC 215. The 34-year-old Swede has come out ahead in four of his past five bouts, and has four first-round finishes inside the Octagon since joining the UFC in April 2013. He is an accomplished grappler, but usually wins by decision or KO.
This match up is sure to be an excellent show. OSP’s game, while well rounded, is finish oriented, and he is very skilled at not allowing grinders to control him as demonstrated recently against Corey Anderson. On the feet, his natural athleticism always serves him well. OSP is currently ranked 5th in the UFC Lightheavyweight division. The division’s belt will be contested around the turn of the year by champion Daniel Cormier and challenger Volkan Oezdemir. This fight could very well determine a number one contender, or at least a member of a number one contender fight.
UFC on FOX 27 takes place at the Spectrum Arena on Jan. 27 in Charlotte, N.C.
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