The UFC’s May lineup is starting to take shape.
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reported a few days ago that a heavyweight matchup between Ben Rothwell and longtime light heavyweight Ovince Saint Preux is lined up for the promotion’s Fight Night card on May 13th card in Jacksonville, FL. Outside of a 210 lbs catchweight with Marcos Rogerio de Lima, this will be OSP’s formal heavyweight debut.
Rothwell (37-12) last fought in December, snapping a three-fight losing skid with a second-round TKO finish of Stefan Struve. That win was admittedly marred by groin shots thrown by Rothwell, which cost him a point. One of the high marks of Rothwell’s career was a shocking choke finish vs. Josh Barnett, who’d previously never been submitted in his MMA career.
Saint Preux (24-13) was also victorious in his last outing, beating Michael Oleksiejczuk by — you guessed it — Von Flue choke. He’d previously suffered defeats against Nikita Krylov and Dominick Reyes, but the former interim title challenger is now ready to move on from 205 lbs and get off to a good start at heavyweight.
Before the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the UFC’s fight schedule, OSP was supposed to fight Shamil Gamzatov and then later Ion Cutelaba, while Rothwell was set to welcome Gian Villante to the heavyweight ranks.
While not official, it is expected that a light heavyweight bout between Glover Teixeira and Anthony Smith will headline the card. Broadcast details have not yet been announced, but it’s a Fight Night event so it’s destined for ESPN+ and/or ESPN.