Ovince Saint Preux vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu prediction | UFC Fight Night 239 1

Perennial light heavyweight gatekeeper Ovince Saint Preux returns this Saturday against Kennedy Nzechukwu in his first bout in over two years.

The two are both coming off devastating knockout losses and long layoffs, leading to many questions about how they can hang with such a talented decision. Regardless, they’re both heavy-hitting and bring lots to the table in terms of technical ability, despite the spottiness of their records.

Betting Odds

Given his age, time off, and inconsistency in the octagon, OSP comes into this fight as the biggest betting underdog on the card.

  • Ovince Saint Preux: +490 (BetUS)
  • Kennedy Nzechukwu: -675 (BetUS)

Fight Breakdown

OSP’s career has been spotty, to say the least. The former Tennessee defensive end started his career in rocky fashion, going 3-2 before losing in his only title bout against Jon Jones. Since then, his career has been much of the same, frequently scoring streaks of both wins and losses over the past decade. He’s undoubtedly past his prime at 40 years old, but could still score takedowns and win rounds so long as he doesn’t get hurt or gas out, which is easier said than done. He also has a fair bit of punching power, frequently stunning his opponents and shutting down their momentum as they close in, but it has rarely led to a finish via strikes in recent bouts.

Kennedy Nzechukwu is the opposite. He has a fairly consistent record, amassing a few win streaks and never losing more than two in a row. He’s not particularly quick but has incredible accuracy and power for a light heavyweight, which has led to several knockouts impressive on his résumé. On the ground, he’s devastating from mount and in back control, unleashing a barrage of ground and pound that few opponents have had an answer for. However, his defense still needs work, both on the feet and on the canvas, with his octagon control and overall pace wavering into the later rounds.

I’d say the only real hole in either man’s game (as well as what’s held them back through most of their careers) is their gas tank. Both come out strong and aggressive in the first round but seldom look fresh in the third, frequently leading to them getting finished or losing via decision. If I had to guess, I’d say that Nzechukwu has the edge, just because of youth, but really, it’s anybody’s game.

Prediction and Betting Guide

Although I love picking underdogs, I can’t, in any good conscience, find a way to bet on Ovince Saint Preux. He’s consistently been one of the mid-level names of the division, testing several strong contenders to see if they could hang with the rest at 205.

The sad reality is, though, that he’s 40 years old, which is far too long to take a year-long layoff in this sport. On top of that, Nzechuwu has the same tools and skillset but with youth and a wider arsenal of techniques.

I’m going with Nzechukwu via knockout at -225, simply because 3 of OSP’s last 5 have ended that way, and taking the money line at -675 would be unprofitable, to say the least.

Pick: Nzechukwu via KO/TKO/DQ (-225 at BetUS)

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