The light heavyweight division looks to have a resurgence in 2019 as yet another high profile bout between rated contenders will take place in the forthcoming months. That, plus the UFC has released another fighter, and you can read my thoughts about each of the news below in today’s MMA odds and ends.
Ovince Saint-Preux vs. Misha Cirkunov, UFC 235
The UFC declared an intriguing light heavyweight bout between top-15 rated contenders Ovince Saint-Preux and Misha Cirkunov will take place at UFC 235, going down March 2 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Saint-Preux (23-12) is 11-7 overall in the UFC and has settled in to the role of gatekeeper in the light heavyweight division. OSP lost a clear decision to Dominick Reyes his last time out, but he filed Tyson Pedro in impressive fashion his fight before that. He is not much removed from a three-fight win streak that included a KO over Corey Anderson and Von Flue chokes against Yushin Okami and Marcos Rogerio de Lima, although that run might prove to be the high point of his MMA career. The Reyes battle was clearly a step backward, however, as was a entry defeat to Ilir Latifi who preceeded that the Pedro win. OSP is a very solid gatekeeper, but his days as a title contender seem to be over.
Cirkunov (14-4) is 5-2 in the UFC and in his final expedition filed Patrick Cummins. He had been knocked out by Volkan Oezdemir and Glover Teixeira his two fights before that, but the win over Cummins place him back on track and reminded us all why the Latvian-Canadian was such an impressive prospect. Now that he is living in Las Vegas, this will be a hometown fight of sorts for him. Although I am worried about Cirkunov’s chin letting him down , I still think he has what it takes to beat OSP. I just find OSP such a bothersome fighter to predict how he’s going to do, while I believe Cirkunov is somewhat more steady. I’d expect a competitive line, but with a slight lean towards the fighter in Cirkunov.
Craig White Cut, Signs With Cage Warriors
Former UFC welterweight Craig White has signed back with Cage Warriors, the advertising announced. Obviously, this means the UFC lately cut him. White (14-9) had a rough go at the UFC after leaving Cage Warriors among its best welterweight contenders. He left his Octagon debut on quite short notice and was finished by top-10 ranked Neil Magny, cutting upwards of 30lbs to create weight. The UFC gave him a favorable matchup from Diego Sanchez in his second battle, but it did not go his way. Despite entering that bout as a substantial favorite, White was dominated by an aging Sanchez also it was the type of loss that created the UFC want to cut ties with White. But he does have one saving grace here, and it is that Cage Warriors is on Fight Pass this season. A few finishes for White and that he could very well be signed back into the UFC, though he can fare much better as a middleweight going forward. White’s competition for his return to Cage Warriors hasn’t been announced yet, but he will struggle at Cage Warriors 102, which such as UFC 235 also occurs March.
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