MMA ODDS AND ENDS FOR FRIDAY: OVINCE SAINT-PREUX VS. MISHA CIRKUNOV ADDED TO UFC 235
The light heavyweight division looks to have a resurgence in 2019 as yet another high profile bout involving rated contenders will take place in the coming months. That, plus the UFC has released an additional fighter, and you can read my thoughts on each the news below in the current 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, heading 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 crystal clear decision to Dominick Reyes his last time out, but he submitted Tyson Pedro in impressive fashion his struggle 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, though that run may end up being the high point of his MMA career. The Reyes battle was certainly a step backward, though, as was a submission defeat to Ilir Latifi who preceeded the Pedro win. OSP is a really good gatekeeper, but his days as a title contender appear to be over.
Cirkunov (14-4) is 5-2 in the UFC and in his last expedition filed Patrick Cummins. He had been pumped 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 allowing him down again, I think he has what it takes to beat OSP. I simply find OSP such a bothersome fighter to forecast how he is going to perform, while I think Cirkunov is a bit more steady. I’d anticipate a competitive lineup, but with a slight lean towards the younger fighter in Cirkunov.
Craig White Cut, Signs With Cage Warriors
Former UFC welterweight Craig White has signed with Cage Warriors, the promotion announced. Of course, this means the UFC lately cut him. White (14-9) had a tough go at the UFC after leaving Cage Warriors among its top welterweight contenders. He made his Octagon introduction on quite short notice and was 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 did not go his way. Despite entering this bout as a substantial favorite, White was dominated by an aging Sanchez also it was the kind of reduction that made the UFC wish to decrease ties with White. But he does have one saving grace here, and it is that Cage Warriors is about Fight Pass this season. A couple of endings for White and that he could very well be signed back to the UFC, however he can fare better as a middleweight going forward. White’s opponent for his return to Cage Warriors has not been announced yet, but he’ll fight at Cage Warriors 102, which such as UFC 235 additionally takes place March.
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