Almost three years after his UFC debut, Ovince Saint Preux will get his shot at the light heavyweight crown and arguably the greatest fighter of all time when he faces former champion Jon Jones. Saint Preux replaces Daniel Cormier in the main event at UFC 197, which will take place on April 27 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
On April 2, an announcement revealed that Cormier was going to be unable to defend his title against Jon Jones due to an undisclosed injury. Later that afternoon, Dana White announced that Saint Preux would face Jones for the interim title.
The former Tennessee linebacker is coming off of an impressive unanimous decision win over the thirteenth-ranked light heavyweight contender Rafael Calvalcante. That moved Saint Preux’s UFC record to 7-2, and made him a winner of three of his last four fights.
His opponent, Jones, is a former champion and the number one fighter in the UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings. Jones is regarded as one of the greatest fighters to step into the octagon. He became the youngest UFC champion in history when he won the belt at the age of 23. The only loss on the 28 year old’s record is a disqualification that was wrongly classified as a defeat.
Despite his accomplishments inside the cage, Jones was stripped of his belt by the UFC following his involvement in a hit-and-run incident last spring. Jones’ legal troubles have not entirely gone away. He recently escaped jail time for violating his probation the week before Cormier’s injury.
Saint Preux was not the first choice to replace Cormier at the main event in Vegas. The first choice was second-ranked contender, Anthony Johnson. Jones was supposed to fight Johnson last year before Jones was arrested for the hit-and-run incident in Albuquerque. However, Johnson just had surgery on his mouth, and is unable to even wear a mouth guard for three to four weeks. With all other serious contenders booked, that left the Tennessee alum as the best option to square off with Jones for UFC gold.
Featured image courtesy of THQ Insider
Edited by Nathan Odom