Preview: UFC Fight Night 190 ‘Gane vs. Volkov’

Boser vs. St. Preux

By Tom Feely Jun 25, 2021

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Heavyweights

NR | Tanner Boser (19-8-1, 3-3 UFC) vs. NR | Ovince St. Preux (25-15, 13-10 UFC)

ODDS: Boser (-165), St. Preux (+145)

Some late changes have resulted in this absolutely strange matchup, but to be fair, most of St. Preux’s fights have some level of strangeness. A former linebacker at the University of Tennessee, St. Preux came into MMA as a high-level athlete for the sport and never really developed a coherent approach. Instead, St. Preux mostly built out a grab bag of different skills, turning him into an unorthodox and dangerous fighter whose game was held together by his athleticism. That made “OSP” a viable Top 10 light heavyweight for years, though that success has started to flag a bit now that St. Preux is in his late 30s. A bit slower and without much technical depth, St. Preux’s performances have been much less consistent, even as he has been able to turn away most prospects at 205 pounds. His most recent fight, a stoppage loss to Jamahal Hill in December, raises some concern about St. Preux’s future. He always figured to be a fighter who would eventually fall off a cliff as his athleticism and durability waned, and this marked a rare TKO loss for the Haitian-American. St. Preux initially looked to rebound against Maxim Grishin, but with Grishin out, St. Preux now faces Canada’s Boser and moves up to heavyweight to do so. St. Preux still figures to be the larger and stronger fighter, as Boser has found his success as a small but mobile heavyweight.

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Boser’s regional career saw him mostly peck at opponents with range strikes and leg kicks to outlast older and slower foes. That was the book on Boser heading into the UFC, but a clear decision loss to Ciryl Gane—who could essentially match the Canadian’s speed with a much larger frame—saw the “Bulldozer” lean on a bit more aggression and put together two straight knockout wins to kick off 2020. That got Boser some notice as a prospect to watch, but it wound up giving way to two frustrating losses in a slow-paced striking bout against Andrei Arlovski and a decision that saw judges favor Ilir Latifi’s wrestling control. That Latifi fight basically lays out things for Boser going forward. He will typically be able to win a battle of striking volume, but he will run the risk that stronger and larger opponents can outweigh that success with either power or control. That is the proposition here. While St. Preux figures to hit the harder shots, he does not pursue wrestling nearly as much as the current version of Latifi, and in general, most of his late career has been defined by an unwillingness to force any sort of issue. This could be an ugly fight and Boser never really gives himself a huge margin for error, but the pick is that he has enough foot speed and avoids enough trouble to take the decision win.

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