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 between rated contenders will occur in the coming months. That, and the UFC has introduced an additional fighter, and you can read my thoughts on each of the news below in the current MMA odds and ends.
Ovince Saint-Preux vs. Misha Cirkunov, UFC 235
The UFC announced an interesting light heavyweight bout between top-15 rated contenders Ovince Saint-Preux and Misha Cirkunov will happen 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 into the role of gatekeeper in the light heavyweight division. OSP lost a clear choice to Dominick Reyes his out his time, but he filed Tyson Pedro in impressive fashion his struggle before that. He is 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 might end up being the high point of his MMA career. The Reyes fight was clearly a step backwards, however, as was a entry defeat to Ilir Latifi that preceeded the Pedro win. OSP is a very good gatekeeper, but his days as a title contender seem to be over.
Cirkunov (14-4) is 5-2 at the UFC and in his last expedition filed Patrick Cummins. He was pumped out by Volkan Oezdemir and Glover Teixeira his two fights before that, but the triumph over Cummins put him back on track and reminded us all why the Latvian-Canadian was this 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 again, I still think he has what it takes to beat OSP. I simply find OSP such a bothersome fighter to forecast how he’s going to do, while I think Cirkunov is a bit more steady. I would expect a competitive lineup, but with a little lean towards the fighter in Cirkunov.
Craig White Cut, Evidence With Cage Warriors
Former UFC welterweight Craig White has signed with Cage Warriors, the promotion announced. Of course, this usually means the UFC lately cut on him. White (14-9) had a tough go in the UFC after leaving Cage Warriors as one of its best welterweight contenders. He left his Octagon debut on quite short notice and was completed by top-10 ranked Neil Magny, cutting upwards of 30lbs to make weight. The UFC gave him a favorable matchup against Diego Sanchez in his second fight, but it didn’t go his way. Despite entering this bout as a substantial favorite, White was dominated by an aging Sanchez and it was the kind of loss that created the UFC wish to decrease ties with White. However, he does have one saving grace here, and it’s that Cage Warriors is on Fight Pass this past year. A couple of endings for White and that he could well be signed back into the UFC, though he can fare much better as a middleweight heading forward. White’s opponent because of his return to Cage Warriors has not been declared yet, but he will struggle at Cage Warriors 102, which like UFC 235 additionally takes place March.
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