Facing a UFC veteran with double-digit wins in the Octagon would make some fighters restless, but OSP is not one of those fighters. “I feel no added pressure at all,” Saint Preux explained to UFC Tonight. “To be honest, I feel Ryan has more pressure on him than me just because I’m a newcomer and he’s been around for a minute. I feel like he has more pressure than I do.”
Don’t worry, Saint Preux isn’t completely looking past the toughest challenge in his UFC tenure. Without a win over Bader, talking about any kind of title eliminator or title fight is just that…talk. As he told Tennessee ABC-affiliate WATE, “[Bader] definitely has a good right hand, [he’s a] very strong wrestler,” said Saint Preux. “An established wrestler. He wrestled at the University of Arizona. But, everybody knows him as a wrestler within the UFC.” OSP knows that Bader will do anything he can to take the fight to the ground. After all it’s exactly what his game plan was in his last fight against knockout specialist Rafael Cavalcante. In that fight, Bader landed 7 takedowns and totally outclassed Cavalcante on the ground, earning him a unanimous decision victory. During Saint Preux’s professional MMA career, he’s achieved an impressive record of 16-5. Of his 16 victories, he has stopped his opponent in 12 of them. Although his last 2 fights have been submission wins, Saint Preux is most dangerous on the feet. He’s won 7 fights in his career by TKO/KO and holds the Strikeforce record for best significant striking accuracy among fighters with a daunting 57.1%. OSP knows the standup game is where he’s got the biggest advantage and he’s certainly not one to buy into an opponent’s hype.
Saint Preux told UFC Tonight, “Ya I think he’s overrated. He is just one of them guys. I was at home watching television and I was like ‘man, you’ve got to be kidding me.’ With that type of stand-up I’d put him to sleep.”
When Bader has decided to stand and trade recently it hasn’t worked out well for him. The last two times Bader kept the fight on the feet, he was knocked out by Glover Teixeira and Lyoto Machida. Perhaps Saint Preux’s words are a way to “poke the bear” in an act of mental warfare, trying to lure Bader to stand and strike with him.
Betting odds currently have Bader as a slight favorite at (-175) and OSP as an underdog at (+145). Being against the odds is nothing new for Saint Preux. “It’s cool. I’m used to playing the underdog roll. I’ve played that all my life so, you know I think all the added pressure goes against him. He knows what I’m capable of, I know what he’s capable of. But all the pressure is falling on him too.”
Make sure to catch this fight Saturday in the main event of UFC: Fight Night 47 live from Bangor, Maine, on Fox Sports 1 at 10 p.m. EST (7 p.m. PST)!
Written by Mike Solano