MMA ODDS AND ENDS FOR FRIDAY: OVINCE SAINT-PREUX VS. MISHA CIRKUNOV ADDED TO UFC 235
The light heavyweight division seems 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 introduced an additional fighter, and you can read my thoughts on all the news below in today’s MMA odds and ends.
Ovince Saint-Preux vs. Misha Cirkunov, UFC 235
The UFC declared an interesting 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 into the role of gatekeeper in the light heavyweight division. OSP lost a clear decision to Dominick Reyes his last time out, but he submitted Tyson Pedro in remarkable fashion his fight before that. He’s not far 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, though that streak may prove to be the high point of his MMA career. The Reyes fight was clearly a step backwards, though, as was a submission defeat to Ilir Latifi that preceeded 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 last expedition filed Patrick Cummins. He had been knocked out by Volkan Oezdemir and Glover Teixeira his two fights before that, but the triumph over Cummins place him back on track and reminded us why the Latvian-Canadian was such an impressive prospect. Now that he’s living in Las Vegas, this will be a hometown fight of sorts for him. Although I’m worried about Cirkunov’s chin allowing him down , I think he has what it takes to beat OSP. I just find OSP such a frustrating fighter to predict how he is going to perform, while I believe Cirkunov is a bit more steady. I’d anticipate a competitive lineup, but with a little lean towards the younger fighter in Cirkunov.
Craig White Cut, Signs With Cage Warriors
Former UFC welterweight Craig White has signed back with Cage Warriors, the promotion announced. Obviously, this means the UFC lately cut him. White (14-9) had a tough go in the UFC after departing Cage Warriors among its top welterweight contenders. He made his Octagon introduction on very short notice and has been finished by top-10 ranked Neil Magny, cutting upwards of 30lbs to make weight. The UFC gave him a favorable matchup from Diego Sanchez in his next battle, but it didn’t go his way. Despite entering this bout as a substantial favored, White was dominated by an aging Sanchez also it was the type of loss that made the UFC want to cut ties with White. However, he does have one saving grace here, and it is that Cage Warriors is about Fight Pass this year. A couple of finishes for White and he could well be signed back into the UFC, however he can fare better as a middleweight heading forward. White’s opponent because of his return to Cage Warriors hasn’t been declared yet, but he will fight at Cage Warriors 102, which like UFC 235 additionally occurs March.
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