UFC on FOX 28: Ovince Saint Preux quietly sneaks back into title contention

Ovince Saint Preux will fight for the third time in six months this Saturday night. He will take on Ilir Latifi in a light heavyweight bout on the main card.

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(Photo Credit: Sgt. Michael V. Walters)

Ovince Saint Preux (22-10) fought for an interim title in 2016. He became one of the many men to fall to John Jones in a valiant effort that ended in a unanimous decision loss. That loss sparked the first three-fight losing streak of Saint Preux’s career. He has since bounced back tremendously to win three fights in a row with three finishes. 

Saint Preux will enter the cage once more this Saturday night at UFC on FOX 28 in Orlando, Florida to take on eighth ranked light heavyweight, Ilir Latifi (13-5, 1 NC). If he wins, Saint Preux, who is ranked fifth, could see a title shot soon.

The Von Preux choke 

After his loss to John Jones and two consecutive losses following it, it looked like Ovince Saint Preux might have already taken his only shot at a world title. A spectacular win by Von Flue choke over Marcos Rogerio de Lima turned things around. Just five months later, Saint Preux followed it up with yet another Von Flue choke in the first round of a main event over Yushin Okami. Saint Preux accounts for three of the five successful Von Flue chokes in UFC history so if his fight with Latifi goes to the mat, be sure to watch closely. 

Sain Preux built on the excitement of his spectacular win over Okami by signing up to fight Corey Anderson at UFC 217 just over a month later. This decision proved to be a good one as Saint Preux scored a head kick knockout in the third round to end a close fight. Yet another spectacular finish earned the Florida native a second consecutive Performance of the Night bonus. Saint Preux looks to build on his momentum once again. His fight against Latifi comes under four months after the knockout of Anderson.

Road to the belt

Before “OSP” even thinks about a title shot he will have to get through Ilir Latifi and likely one more contender. Latifi is no joke and can end anyone’s day with a single punch. Latifi was also a Swedish National Team wrestler so he will not be as easy to submit should the fight end up on the mat. Because Latifi is short for a light heavyweight, the kicks of Saint Preux will be a huge factor. He will be able to throw kicks with his left hand behind it with little fear of a counterpunch or takedown.

Saint Preux looks like he matches up great against Latifi and if he earns the win, he will likely earn a number one contender fight. At the moment, he is ranked behind, Alexander Gustafsson, Glover Teixeira, Volkan Oezdemir, and Jimi Manuwa. Oezdemir obviously just fought for the title and lost while Manuwa has an upcoming fight scheduled against Jan Blachowicz. Teixeira also has a recent loss to Gustafsson who has fought for the belt and lost twice. It is not at all clear who deserves the next crack at the belt so if Saint Preux can pull off another win, he could put himself in the middle of that conversation. 

Will “OSP” get a shot at the title by 2019? Leave a comment below

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