The UFC has seen a lot of bets pay off as of late. Conor McGregor became the biggest star to ever be a star, bringing in roughly
2 million I mean, oops, uh, a lot less than that, PPV buys. Then Honda Housey became the living embodiment of Wonder Woman and an even bigger star. Ovince Saint Preux is the next guy on that list.
They booked the fight in Nashville, which is close to Knoxville, his adopted hometown and the same place where he played college football. So: close enough for him to be the local boy (as close as it can be for a guy born of Haitian immigrants and who grew up in Florida). The normal rule about winners only fighting winners and losers fighting losers has been put aside so that they could match up OSP with Glover Teixeira. And while nothing is do or die for the UFC at this time, because they are Scrooge McDuck levels rich, a win by OSP on Saturday would certainly add an exciting, somewhat charismatic, and most importantly new face to the legitimate light heavyweight contender list.
A Teixeira win is a win that would simply exist in the ether. It is neither good nor bad. It is just there. The Brazilian enters Saturday with two losses in a row and while he personally needs a win to desperately stay relevant, the UFC ultimately (HA!) doesn’t care. He has been to the mountaintop. He fought for the title. He had his run. Whatever money could be made off of him has been made. That is not the same for St. Preux.
The temporary absence of Jon Jones from the division has left a void. If you remember your basics of high school physics, nature abhors a vacuum. And a vacuum is a void – or a void is a vacuum… You know where I’m going with this. And so while I’m sure the UFC is sad that one of their bigger stars is unavailable due to his love of drugs and running people over with his car, from this fan’s perspective (that’s how you get to sound like the most pretentious prick of all time) it is more entertaining when the division is wider open. The same thing happened in the past 18 months when GSP left the welterweight division. Just one guy did it because of aliens haunting him and one guy did it because …
Now, let’s not go crazy. A win by OSP does not make him a giant star. He still someone that lost a five round fight to Ryan Bader. And that is an unforgivable sin – mostly because the fight was so damn boring (and because Bader lost to Tito Ortiz and is thus forever a loser). Still, a win over Teixeira would give him high-profile victories over two former legitimate either champions or title challengers. Not too shabby.
The real champion will return. And when he does it is likely that Jones will easily and with little difficulty (that is what easily means) step into the octagon and reclaim his title. And so in a sense it is a race against time for the rest of the division: the quicker you finish the more likely you are to become a champion – even if for just a bit. Cormier was first to get to the finish line. Gustafsson will try to be second in a few months.
Teixeira is never crossing that line. OSP might. Tomorrow is a big step.
UFC FIGHT NIGHT 73 CARD
Extra Early Prelims on Fight Pass which is better than stupid FS2 – seriously, FS2?? 6:30/5:30/4:30/3:30
- Anthony Christodoulou vs. Scott Holtzman
- Roman Salazar vs. Marlon Vera
- Jonathan Wilson vs. Chris Dempsey
Prelims on Fox Sports 2 … wait, TWO?! DAMMIT! 8/7/6/5
- Sirwan Kakai vs. Frankie Saenz
- Willie Gates vs. Dustin Ortiz
- Sara McMann vs. Amanda Nunes
- Oluwale Bamgbose vs. Uriah Hall
MAIN CARD THAT IS IMPORTANT – FOX Sports 1, 10 p.m. ET/9/8/7
- Ray Borg vs. Geane Herrera
- Chris Camozzi vs. Tom Watson
- Timothy Johnson vs. Jared Rosholt
- Timothy Johnson vs. Jared Rosholt
- Sam Alvey vs. Derek Brunson
- Beneil Dariush vs. Michael Johnson
- Ovince Saint Preux vs. Glover Teixeira