After Ryan Bader and Ovince St. Preux recorded victories at UFC 174, the top-10 light heavyweights are ready for a quick turnaround. They are set to meet in the main event of Fight Night 47 on Aug. 16 in Bangor, ME.
“Darth” made it back-to-back wins for the first time since 2012 with a dominant unanimous decision victory over Rafael Cavalcante in Vancouver, while “OSP” maintained his perfect Octagon record by stopping Ryan Jimmo after he was forced to verbally submit due to a broken arm.
Bader is growing in confidence and looks like he has finally put his entire game together. The former Ultimate Fighter winner is currently ranked No. 8 in the organization and is on the verge of entering top-five territory if he can continue this successful run. He’s compiled a 10-4 record inside the Octagon and has faced the division’s elite, including current light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
The TUF Season 8 winner has been a consistent top-10 performer during his time with the promotion, but has never been able to take his career to the next level to earn a title opportunity. Bader poses a dangerous threat to most 205-pound fighters because of his wrestling background and formidable punching power. He has recorded 10 finishes by knockout or submission in 17 career victories.
St. Preux has been quick to develop into a major player in the UFC light heavyweight ranks and is currently riding a 5-fight win streak. His Octagon tenure has been a highly productive one thanks to victories over Jimmo, Nikita Krylov, Cody Donovan and Gian Villante. He’s clearly made an impression with top brass in getting a main event slot. St. Preux has produced 12 finishes in 16 career wins and has netted one Performance of the Night bonus.
The former football player has proven to be a quick study in transitioning to the world of mixed martial arts. After a rough 3-4 start to his career, he’s been victorious in 13 of his last 14 contests. The No. 10 ranked St. Preux is a tremendously athletic 205-pound competitor and has showcased power and a dangerous ground game during his UFC tenure. A win against Bader would have him getting closer to his next goal of reaching top-five status.
This shapes up as a meaningful affair within the light heavyweight ranks. It should be an intriguing matchup as both fighters have their games clicking on all cylinders. The winner will be in line for further high-profile fights, while the loser will have their current momentum stalled.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports