UFC light heavyweight Ovince Saint Preux has his eyes on an MMA first when it comes to defeating fellow veteran Maurício Rua.
On the main card of tonight’s UFC 274 pay-per-view, Rua and Saint Preux will run it back. The pair first shared the Octagon in the main event of UFC Fight Night 56, held in Uberlândia, Brazil, back in 2014. On that night, “OSP” made short work of the former champion, knocking him out in just 34 seconds.
Now, with both men reaching the back-end of their careers, they’ll collide again in one of two veteran bouts set for Saturday’s main slate, the other being Donald Cerrone vs. Joe Lauzon.
At the age of 40, and given the way he was beaten by Paul Craig last time out, it seems another convincing defeat could mark the end of “Shogun” Rua’s in-cage career.
During his appearance at UFC 274 media day on Wednesday, Saint Preux drew laughter by dismissing any notion that potentially being Rua’s final opponent adds any emotion or feeling to the bout, on his side at least…
“I guess it sucks for him?”
If “OSP” gets the kind of victory he’s targeting on Saturday in Arizona, it will indeed “suck” for the UFC legend.
Saint Preux Envisions Another Emphatic Finish
Throughout “Shogun” Rua’s 40-fight professional MMA career, only one man has been able to record two victories over him, former middleweight and light heavyweight title challenger Dan Henderson.
But while the rematch ended in a TKO win for “Hendo,” their first bout went to the judges’ scorecards. With that in mind, Saint Preux is looking to become the first man to make two emphatic statements against Rua.
“I mean, I understand. You want to go out on top or whatnot. But at the end of the day, it’s just like, I’m trying to make another statement,” asserted Saint Preux. “And I don’t think anybody that ever fought Shogun made a statement back to back like that, and that’s what I’m trying to do. That’s what I’m gonna do.”
While it’s widely believed that a defeat could put an end to Rua’s Octagon career, the bout is also an important one for the status of Saint Preux. The 39-year-old is riding a two-fight losing skid, having suffered back-to-back KO defeats at the hands of Jamahal Hill and Tanner Boser.
Should Rua exact revenge on him tonight, the future of “OSP” will also be called into question. Either way, the stakes will be high in Phoenix in a matter of hours.
Who do you think will have their hand raised at UFC 274, Ovince Saint Preux or Maurício Rua?