UFC Light Heavyweight Marcos Rogerio de Lima will walk through the curtain towards the biggest fight of his seven-year career this weekend when he faces Ovince Saint Preux on the main card of UFC’s Fight Night event from Nashville.
A product of the third season of “Ultimate Fighter: Brazil,” de Lima made it to the semi-finals of the heavyweight tournament under the tutelage of “Bad Guy” coach Chael Sonnen. He lost to eventual winner Antonio Carlos Junior, but still found a spot on the UFC roster as a light heavyweight.
De Lima has won four of six fights in his three years under the UFC banner, most recently a first-round TKO of Jeremy Kimball this past January from Denver, Colorado. De Lima may have been in a rush to finish the fight as he had a difficult weight cut in the thin Denver air.
“We had a problem with altitude on that occasion,” de Lima told MMATorch last week. “This time will be different.” He said he prefers the early morning weigh-ins, as many fighters have gone on the record to support, despite statistics that suggest fighters are having a more difficult time making weight at the early morning weigh-ins. Most recently, the UFC 210 Light Heavyweight Championship main event was very close to being lost when champion Daniel Cormier tipped the scales more than a pound heavy. Cormier returned a few minutes later and miraculously made 205 on the nose. Many thought Cormier leaned on a towel to fool the scale and the commission, including de Lima.
“Cormier cheated and the commission would have to take action in this case,” he said. “This is not good for the sport nor for him, who is a nice guy, but does not have much fan support.”
As for his opponent this weekend, de Lima is taking on Saint Preux, who went the distance with Jon Jones for an interim championship just one year ago. He is taking this fight very seriously. “He is a very tough guy, a hard hitter,” de Lima said. “My goal for this fight is dominate the distance and don’t let him breathe. I hope to get in the cage and give my best and I know how I can do this.”
While Saint Preux is on a three-fight losing skid, he is still in the top ten of UFC’s official rankings and carries a good deal of name recognition, something that is not lost on de Lima.
“It’s my goal to be in the ranking, but I have no idea how [high] this fight can get me,” he said. “Since my kickboxing days, I’ve always said that we need to face big names of the sport to evolve as martial artists. And my time has come.”
De Lima’s time may have come, and he’ll have the chance to show the world on Saturday night. When asked how he plans to do it, he kept his answer short and literal. “With my fists, feet, knees, [and] elbows,” de Lima said. “And my heart.”
Hiscoe’s Analysis: This de Lima vs. Saint Preux fight could prove to be a crossroads fight for both fighters. OSP has had a tough time ever since the Jones fight while de Lima has been trading wins and losses in prelim fights but looked great in his last outing. De Lima will have a tough outing against a very well seasoned Saint Preux, but if he has a good weight cut and brings the level of aggression he did to the Jeremy Kimball fight, de Lima could score the upset win on Saturday.
MONDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-Georges St-Pierre told RT Sport that he isn’t worried about facing a bigger man in Michael Bisping when they meet later this year. “Of course Michael Bisping will be bigger than me, but I believe that will be the only advantage that he will have – his size. Technically, tactically, athletically, I have all the edges on him. It doesn’t matter if he’s taller and bigger than me. The only difference that it’s gonna make is [that] when he hits the floor, it’s gonna make a bigger boom.”
-Viviane Pereira vs. Jamie Moyle has been announced for UFC 212 on June 3 from Rio de Janeiro.
-Retired UFC fighter Tim Kennedy has re-enlisted with the U.S. Army Special Forces. Kennedy told TMZ Sports that he is “pumped” and decided to re-enlist when Donald Trump was elected President back in November.
(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)