A pivotal light heavyweight main event clash at UFC Fight Night 47 in Bangor, Maine will go a long way towards determining the future career paths of Ovince St. Preux and Ryan Bader. Both men registered wins at UFC 174 in June and were quick to agree to face one another. OSP has reeled off four straight Octagon victories to move into the organization’s top-10 rankings, while Bader has been a contender for several years since arriving on the scene as the Season 8 winner of The Ultimate Fighter.
St. Preux is on a serious roll after a difficult start to his professional career. The former college football player was a mediocre 3-4 at one point, but has developed into an elite performer by producing 13 wins in his last 14 fights. The lone loss during that tremendous stretch was by unanimous decision in 2011 against former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi.
OSP has netted UFC wins over Ryan Jimmo, Nikita Krylov, Cody Donovan, and Gian Villante. He’s showcased superior athleticism and is developing a solid all-around game. His rare Von Flue choke submission win over Krylov at UFC 171 netted him a Performance of the Night bonus. He has produced 12 finishes by knockout or submission and has only been stopped one time in his career via strikes. St. Preux has been quick to work his way up the UFC rankings, and a fifth straight Octagon triumph against Bader would rank as the biggest of his career.
Bader is on his first two-fight win streak since 2012. “Darth” went back to his impressive wrestling roots against the dangerous Rafael Cavalcante in his last fight to grind out a lopsided unanimous decision verdict. He’s traditionally held a place in top-10 territory during his UFC tenure but has never been able to nail down a title shot. He’s defeated the likes of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in producing a 10-4 Octagon record. However, he has faltered in major tests against current champion Jon Jones, Tito Ortiz, Lyoto Machida and Glover Teixeira.
The standout former collegiate wrestler packs plenty of power and it seems as though everything is finally coming together at this stage of his career. It would appear to be now-or-never for the No. 8-ranked Bader to make a significant run in the 205-pound division. Ten of his seventeen career triumphs have come by knockout or submission.
Both competitors will be out to impress in this main event opportunity. It’s an important contest for both men as they look to continue their successful ways. The winner could be looking at a top-five opponent in their next fight, while the loser will take a tumble down the light heavyweight ladder.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports