Benoit Saint Denis (Zuffa LLC)

The New Yorker dubbed “Steam Rolla,” Matt Frevola makes another walk to the UFC octagon this weekend when he takes on the French phenom Benoit Saint-Denis. Frevola, who is a veteran of 9 UFC appearances seems to have now hit the stride he needed for his career. After going 2-3-1 in his first six he has most recently rattled off three straight first-round KO/TKOs.

However, his toughest opponent to date stands in front of him next. A former soldier in the French Army, Saint-Denis has undeniable toughness and heart. However, it’s this, plus his top-notch grappling skills and powerful striking that make him such a threat. Currently riding a winning streak of four, Saint-Denis has lost only once in his entire pro career.

Frevola vs Saint-Denis Betting Odds

Matt Frevola will come into the bout as a +190 underdog against the fighter from France.

  • Matt Frevola: +190 (BetUS)
  • Benoit Saint Denis: -230 (BetUS)

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Frevola vs Saint-Denis Fight Breakdown

Matt Frevola is on a first-round finish streak in his last three fights. Surprisingly, at one point he was believed to be a slow starter at times but with the new belief in his KO power we will likely see an aggressive Frevola early. This is also likely because the gameplan going in is probably to shut down the takedowns of Saint-Denis and force him to trade. Frevola is a tough, conventional stance fighter with a big overhand a hard kicks from both sides. Opposite the southpaw Saint-Denis, he will be looking to paw with the left hand and lead his combinations with his right cross and overhand and follow up in combination with the left afterwards.

Frevola tends to be the one moving forward, however he is arguably most dangerous when he is put on the fence as he has a unique ability to be pushed back and then explode out. In his recent streak, he was pressured and then lunged back out with a big superman punch for the knockdown, and also was being backed up before countering a body shot with his back to the cage again for another knockdown. Frevola should never be counted out because at the times where he is being pressed is when he can land the bombs unexpected.

That being said, there are some tells that Frevola offers which Saint-Denis can capitalize on. First, Frevola is very fast but he bites on a lot of feints with his go-to overhand right to roll out on his right side. He also often has difficulty finding his range for his big punches early on in the fight, if Saint Denis can bait out that overhand, he can count on Frevola missing and rolling away towards that side and setup what he throws to that reaction. Saint Denis has a great left kick of his own, standing southpaw himself so if he can time the right hand of Frevola he could catch him rolling onto his power kick side.

Yet, Saint-Denis’ clearest way to victory is to mix everything together and get Frevola to the canvas as often as he can. Frevola is a solid scrambler and wrestler but will give up his back in the process. Saint-Denis has a tremendous blast double, and even better control once he gets it there. He will duck under shoot, which could be done on the overhand read, and he also likes to set up his level change with a left kick, step through left hook. Once on the mat, Saint-Denis immediately gets to lacing the legs beneath him in a triangle of sorts, forcing his opponents to turn away and expose the back. Frevola does so anyway, so expect Saint-Denis to have success finding the opportunities for this transition. One of Saint-Denis’ most seamless grappling techniques is to reach around for far wrist control and whip his legs from the leg lace to the body triangle on the back in a single beat.

Frevola vs Saint-Denis Prediction

Matt Frevola’s keys to victory are stuffing the takedowns, and turning those sequences into scrambles where he can get back to the feet and push the pace. He wants to force Saint-Denis to trade with him at boxing range where he can lead, and counter with the right overhand and left hook.

For Saint-Denis it’s about using his kicks and finding the shot to the hips. Best case scenario would be taking Frevola down in space where he cannot use the cage, however it’s likely he will have to deal with that.

Ultimately I think that Frevola needs to depend on a potential KO to win, whereas Saint Denis has just as likely a chance to stop Frevola, but also out score him with precise striking and grappling control en route.

Pick: Benoit Saint-Denis to win (-230)

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