By: Patrick Courtois

Jimi Manuwa (14-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC), recently suffered a broken foot precluding him from fighting in next month’s UFC Fight Night 56, Shogun vs. Manua headlining card.
Rest assured, the show will go on but recast as Shogun vs. OSP. Ovince “OSP” St. Preux (16-6-0 MMA, 4-1-0 UFC), was bumped up from co-main, to main event opposite BJJ Black belt, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (22-9-0 MMA, 6-7-0 UFC).

Ironically, OSP’s MMA and UFC record is virtually identical to Jimi Manuwa’s. What that says for his odds against– # 9 ranked Light Heavyweight—Shogun, is anyone’s guess. Suffice to say that both fighters need to bring it in order to stay relevant in the game.

Shogun’s last few sorties have been spotty and inconsistent at best. To be fair, since 2011 he’s gone down to the highest caliber and upper echelon of the sport, Jones, Gustafsson, Sonnen, Henderson. UFC Fight Night Shogun vs. Henderson 2 ended the possibility of a trilogy, when 44 year old veteran Henderson, dispatched shogun with a battery of punches, culminating in a TKO loss for Rua. Of course Shogun is no stranger to KO’s and TKO’s. He’s made a career of handing them out like cupcakes. His tenure in Pride—from 2003 to 2007 and 13 bouts– highlighted specifically the ease, ruthlessness and penchant he embodied for giving fighters an alternative to their Ambien addictions. An incredible 10 of those 13 fights came by way of KO/TKO. Shogun has proven that he is more than capable of handling business. But time marches on and two factors become increasingly and irrefutably conclusive. You either improve or begin the slide into obscurity. 13 fights into his UFC career—from 2007 to the present—has seen an inconsistent, yet always engaged Shogun give it his all, even when the tank was half full. 7 losses and it’s time for a little redemption.

There are those who’ve defied the laws of aging as evidenced by Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, Anderson Silva and Dan Henderson. Couture in particular, came out of retirement in 2007 at age 43 to deliver destruction Tim Sylvia’s way, thereby grabbing the Heavyweight title. These fighters were able to keep time at bay and fight on, very successfully into their forties. So to write off a 33 year old shogun would be premature and foolhardy. The man still possesses the hunger, drive, skill and the KO power that made him a dangerous force of nature. This coming bout could make things crystal clear for him.

Haitian-American–#10 ranked Light Heavyweight– Ovince St. Preux’s star shone brightly whilst in Strikeforce, winning 5 of 6 bouts. Though dominant in that promotion, OSP left a lot to the judges. Four of his six wins were adjudicated and won by decision. The fifth– a loss to the technical Gegard Mousasi—also went to the judges. His last fight for the promotion, a KO over T.J. Cook offset and put the brakes on his “leave it to the judges” streak. In 2013 OSP made the jump to UFC. Five fights in and he’s made his mark as a consistent, strong fighter. His only loss, to Ryan Bader– UFC Fight Night Bader vs. St. Preux– also went the judges. OSP rolls in with a strong wrestling background, which he’ll no doubt showcase if this thing hits the ground.

Leading up to the main event is BJJ Purple belt, Ian “uncle creepy” McCall (11-2-0 MMA, 2-2-1 UFC). A former Flyweight champion with Tachi Palace Fights, Creepy possesses an above average wrestling game, which he’ll undoubtedly let loose against BJJ Blue belt and # 6 ranked Flyweight Brazilian, John Lineker (19-5-0 MMA, 5-2-0 UFC).

But here’s the problem, Lineker has heavy hands and with those hands come ridiculous power. Out of a total 24 career wins, half of those came by way of KO. If creepy intends to dog Lineker in the cage, he’s going to have to be wary of those fists. Trading with Lineker wouldn’t make much strategic sense.

Welterweight Warlley Alves (6-0-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) takes on Alan Jouban (9-2-0 MMA, 1-0-0 UFC). Brazilian national Alves, comes in to the picture via The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 (TUF Brazil: 3). He ended up winning the tournament and thus, a coveted contract with the promotion. A submission fiend, Alves will be at home if the fight hits the ground. Further, he’s quite capable of trading with anyone in the division and packs a wallop with his punches.

US native, BJJ Brown belt & Muay Thai practitioner Alan Jouban, has won ten of his career twelve fights and finished eight of those, via KO or TKO. He takes very seriously, finishing his fights and leaving zero guess work to the judges. Look to his use of deadly knees and kicks. Jouban’s debut with UFC came during– UFC Fight Night 47—in August of this year, where he promptly KO’d Seth Baczynski in 4:23 of round one. The man is brute force.

Middleweights Claudio Henrique da Silva (9-1-0 MMA, 1-0-0 UFC) and Brit Leon Edwards (8-1-0 MMA, 0-0-0 UFC), will clash making this, Newbie Leon’s, first time in the Octagon. No better reason to bring it and prove that you belong and deserve to be there, first time jitters and all. Edwards will have his work cut out for himself on this one. By virtue of his age—32—Silva has more experience, though both fighters have similar short career stats.

Strawweight Nina “the strina” Ansaroff (6-3-0 MMA, 0-0-0 UFC) takes on Juliana de Lima Carneiro (7-1-0 MMA, 0-1-0 UFC). Coming off a win at Invicta FC 7 last year, Ansaroff will hopefully stride in with confidence going into the biggest promotion on the planet. First timers are sometimes thrown for a loop. De Lima Carneiro cannot say that she’s fared too well at her first crack in UFC. Her first bout with the promotion—UFC on FOX 12 Lawler vs. Brown, ended with a loss, though she did make it to the 3rd round. She fought valiantly but lost by decision.

The intro fights on this card feature strong talent which should be great warm ups for the lead dogs.

UFC Fight Night 56:
Mauricio “shogun Rua vs. Ovince “OSP” St. Preux

Light Heavyweight: Mauricio Rua vs Ovince St. Preux
Flyweight: Ian McCall vs. john Lineker
Welterweight: Warlley Alves vs. Alan Jouban
Welterweight: Cláudio Silva vs. Leon Edwards
Women’s Strawweight: Juliana Lima vs. Nina Ansaroff

Preliminary card (Fox Sports 2)

Featherweight: Diego Rivas vs. Rodolfo Rubio
Middleweight: Caio Magalhães vs. Trevor Smith
Welterweight: Dhiego Lima vs. Jorge Oliveira
Lightweight: Leandro Silva vs. Charlie Brenneman
Bantamweight: Thomas Almeida vs. Tim Gorman

Preliminary card (UFC Fight Pass)
Welterweight: Wagner Silva vs. Colby Covington


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