Although Ovince St. Preux has scored some highlight reel wins and has finished five of his last six opponents, “Shogun” Rua believes the light-heavyweight may try to go the lay-and-pray route Saturday night.
The two are set to square off in the headliner for UFC Fight Night 56, after Rua’s original opponent, Jimi Manuwa, dropped out due to a broken foot. “OSP” had been booked to fight Francimar Barroso at the November 8th event, but when Manuwa withdrew, the promotion moved St. Preux into the main event slot.
Recently Rua spoke with the media about St. Preux, and he offered this prediction on what the latter will look to do tomorrow night (quotes via MMA Fighting.com):
“He always tries to go for the ground and pound, but I trained for every situation,” Rua said. “He may try to lay and pray, hold me on the ground, but I have trained this with my team.”
Of course, no one will be terribly surprised if St. Preux looks to take the fight down, as Rua has demonstrated time and time again that he has a knack for knocking dudes unconscious. That said, St. Preux has a tricky stand-up game, and further, he has showcased some pretty nasty finishing skills on the ground. So, one would think St. Preux would look for the stoppage if takes the bout down. Since Rua is no slouch on the ground, however, he may not be able to bring the punishment.
Since OSP is better known for his top game, than his stand-up, most people view this fight rather differently than Rua-Manuwa. When asked about the opponent change, and the adjustments that are required, “Shogun” relayed:
“We have a lot of great fighters at the gym, I had a sparring who fights exactly like St. Preux,” Rua said. “I don’t believe anyone will be in advantage on Saturday night because of the opponent’s change, since he also had his opponent changed twice. I had one week to adapt.”
It should make for an interesting fight, and Rua fans will likely be on the edge of their seat the entire night. Rua has dropped three of his last four bouts, and another loss, to a lower ranked 205’er, would be a massive setback.
UFC FN 56 will go down in Uberlandia, Brazil and will be broadcast via Fight Pass.