If you were anticipating more than a presentation on exhaustion in a fight between Ben Rothwell and heavyweight Ovince Saint Preux at UFC Jacksonville, your expectations were simply too high.
In his inaugural foray up to heavyweight in the UFC, Ovince Saint Preux was going up against a monster. “Big” Ben Rothwell hit the scales at 265lbs on Tuesday when he weighed in for UFC Jacksonville. Normally a light heavyweight, OSP clocked in around 240 — big for a light heavyweight, middle of the road for the promotion’s largest weight class.
This fight was not pretty. Ovince Saint Preux’s athleticism was not as prominent at 240 pounds and succumbed to Ben Rothwell’s lumbering style. Right hands landed for Rothwell early on and the fight primarily took place with Rothwell keeping OSP close to the fence with overhand rights as OSP circled out with big resets at times. Rothwell came close to the guillotine that he submitted Josh Barnett with in the first round, but Saint Preux survived. A warning was given for inactivity as Rothwell leaned on OSP near the end of the round.
Rothwell pursued OSP at the start of the second round and just absorbed whatever OSP threw at him, including a head kick. A big right hand and some uppercuts find their way to OSP’s chin. There was a Thai clinch and some knees for Rothwell followed by a failed takedown attempt, but he was the one dictating pace. However, OSP managed to drop Rothwell with a left hand in the waning seconds of the round.
Rothwell got to OSP in the final round, hurting him with a shot to the body and a barrage of punches. OSP survived and began exchanging with Rothwell, who went to the clinch to regain some energy. He held OSP there for a while, but with a minute to go, Saint Preux broke out and went for it. He emptied whatever was left in the gas tank and hurt Rothwell on two separate occasions, but the big man survived to the final bell.
Ben Rothwell def. Ovince Saint Preux by Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)