The field of legitimate contenders has grown sparse in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s light heavyweight division, which means the door of opportunity could soon swing wide open for either Glover Teixeira or Ovince St. Preux.
Teixeira will collide with St. Preux in the UFC Fight Night “Teixeira vs. St. Preux” main event on Saturday at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. The stakes could not be higher for the 205-pound mainstays, as they scramble for position behind divisional thoroughbreds Daniel Cormier and Alexander Gustafsson.
The well-traveled Teixeira will enter the cage on a two-fight losing streak. The 35-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt last appeared at UFC 179 in October, when he wound up on the wrong side of a unanimous decision against Phil Davis at Maracanazinho Gymnasium in Rio de Janeiro. The uninspiring performance followed his five-round loss to former champion Jon Jones and left some to question whether or not time had begun to catch up with him. Teixeira owns a 5-2 record in the UFC and has secured 19 of his 22 career victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission.
A former college football player at the University of Tennessee, St. Preux carries with him momentum from back-to-back first-round finishes against Mauricio Rua and Patrick Cummins. The Miami native has rattled off 13 wins over his past 15 outings, decision defeats to former Strikeforce champion Gegard Mousasi and “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 8 winner Ryan Bader the lone blemishes. St. Preux, 32, has compiled a 6-1 mark since arriving in the UFC in April 2013.
With their light heavyweight clash on the marquee, here are 10 facts surrounding the UFC Fight Night “Teixeira vs. St. Preux” card:
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FACT 1: Teixeira, a longtime training partner of UFC hall of famer Chuck Liddell, once went 3,318 days between losses.
FACT 2: St. Preux features 12 first-round finishes on his resume, including stoppages of eight, 34, 46, 47, 72, 75 and 89 seconds.
FACT 3: Blackzilians export Michael Johnson ranks second on the UFC’s all-time list among lightweights in knockdowns landed with eight, per FightMetric. That number ties him with Edson Barboza, Donald Cerrone and Yves Edwards and trails only Melvin Guillard (13).
FACT 4: Kings MMA rep Beneil Dariush holds the rank of black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Romulo Barral, a 2013 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist and four-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion.
FACT 5: Jared Rosholt has connected on 151 significant strikes across his five UFC appearances, landing 107 of them either from the clinch or on the ground.
FACT 6: A three-time All-American wrestler at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Derek Brunson has completed just 11 of the 40 takedowns he has attempted inside the Octagon.
FACT 7: The six fighters to whom former Maximum Fighting Championship titleholder Sam Alvey has lost -- Tom Watson, Elvis Mutapcic, Brandon Ropati, Vitor Vianna, Gerald Meerschaert and Caleb Nelson -- own a cumulative record of 84-25-1.
FACT 8: The sixth youngest fighter on the UFC roster, 22-year-old flyweight prospect Ray Borg has delivered five of his eight pro victories by rear-naked choke submission.
FACT 9: Willie Gates has held titles inside the Gladiator Challenge and Tachi Palace Fights organizations.
FACT 10: Chris Dempsey wrestled collegiately at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, a Division II school in Johnstown, Pa., where he twice earned All-America honors.