As the UFC heads back to the Apex in Las Vegas for a fourth straight weekend, the co-main event throws up an intriguing clash of styles as UFC veteran Ovince Saint Preux collides with a highly touted prospect, Alonzo Menifield.
OSP heads into his second consecutive co-main event with a professional record of 24-14 after suffering a split decision loss to Ben Rothwell on his heavyweight debut at UFC Fight Night: Smith vs Teixeira.
The 15-minute bout was fought at a slow pace throughout which saw both guys landing ferocious shots. However, due to Rothwell controlling the octagon, OSP found it difficult to evade the punches and knees inside the clinch of Rothwell. OSP had to fight on the back foot and against the cage which seemingly caused OSP issues to get started.
Despite knocking down UFC veteran Ben Rothwell with a beautiful counter left hand, the judges scored the contest in favor of Rothwell via split decision.
The 37-year-old has accumulated almost 4 times the amount of fights that his opponent on Saturday night has and believes that experience will play a factor in the bout.
“Experience does play a big advantage, he’s still so young in the game, he took an opportunity to step up, but I’ve been around, so I know what to expect. [The] experience will play a lot”
After two failed attempts at becoming a professional football player, OSP turned his attention to Mixed Martial Arts. He worked up a record of 5-1 at Strikeforce before being bought by the UFC due to the Strikeforce organization being closed down by its parent company, Zuffa.
On his UFC debut at UFC 159, OSP beat fellow newcomer, Gian Villante via majority technical decision. OSP was then awarded his first title shot at UFC 197 in 2016 when replacing Daniel Cormier to fight UFC legend and pound for pound best Jon Jones. OSP lost the fight via unanimous decision but revealed after that he broke his arm in the second round.
OSP has gained notability and notoriety for having won 4 fights using the rare Von Flue choke submission. This shows just how dangerous OSP can be on his feet and then on the ground.
Meanwhile, Alonzo Menifield also comes into this bout with a 9-1 professional record and looking to bounce back from a decision loss. At UFC 250, Menifield lost the first fight of his career to Devin Clark in the ultimate barn burner.
It was a cagey affair with both guys looking to clinch up against the cage and look for the killer blow. However, this style of fight seemingly wore Menifield out before the second round even began. This allowed Clark to take control of the fight and pick Menifield apart. Although Menifield made it to the judges’ scorecard, his cardio was a massive disappointment for the young prospect. (30-27, 29-28 X2)
Menifield made his heavyweight debut against Zach Rosol in November 2015 at Bellator 146 and exploded onto the fighting scene by winning via TKO in the first round.
After winning his next two fights via TKO and KO, Menifield was called into Dana White’s Contender Series. The Texas native was faced up against UFC veteran Daniel Jolly. He won the fight via TKO in the first round due to an eye injury but was unable to secure the UFC contract.
However, the 32-year-old was given a second chance by Dana White and fought against Dashawn Boatwright. Menifield needed only 8 seconds to knockout Boatwright which obviously led to earning his first UFC contract.
His highly anticipated UFC debut at UFC Fight Night: Cejudo vs Dillashaw, did not let up as he finished Vinicius Moreira in the first round via TKO. Menifield continued to keep the hype train rolling with a gigantic KO win in the first round over Scottish born fighter, Paul Craig in June 2019.
In this fight, I expect to see both guys trading on the feet but using different approaches. OSP will look to keep distance between his opponent by landing his jab, body kicks, and leg kicks. By doing this, it will allow the fight to go into the later rounds which benefits OSP due to Menifield’s suspect cardio that he has shown in his last outing against Devin Clark.
Menifield will look to land that one-shot KO in the early outgoings to get OSP out of the octagon as quicky as possible. A first-round KO for Menifield could be a considerable possibility due to OSP’s slow starts in recent fights.
I believe that with OSPs proven durability, movement, and massive experience advantage, he can grind Menifield out to a decision and get the nod of the judges.
Fight Prediction: Ovince Saint Preux via Decision.