UFC Vegas 88: Ovince St. Preux Upsets Seven-to-One Favorite Kennedy Nzechukwu

Ovince St. Preux and Kennedy Nzechukwu, UFC Vegas 88
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 16: (L-R) Ovince Saint Preux punches Kennedy Nzechukwu of Nigeria in their light heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on March 16, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Becoming the longest tenured fighter in UFC light heavyweight history when he stepped into the cage at UFC Vegas 88 was a great achievement for Ovince St. Preux, and he backed it up with an impressive veteran win over Kennedy Nzechukwu.

Given his age and his having lost four of his last five fights, St. Preux came into the fight as a five-to-one underdog against the favored Kennedy Nzechukwu. Nzechukwu, from Nigeria, came in with a 6-4 UFC record but dropped to 6-5 as St. Preux got his first win from 2022 in a shock upset.

The fight started slowly as the pair figured out the open stance matchup, with St. Preux being the southpaw. Nzechuwku slowly got a lead with straight shots, including his teep to the midsection of OSP. Ovince responded with a flurry of punches in combination but his punches seemed to have less pop on them than his foe’s. The first round passed with little happening in general.

The second round did not heat up. Neither man separated from the other during the striking, unloaded big combinations, or really put all their power into any of their shots. In search of a technical fight, Nzechukwu could not take over the fight from the older, slower, less athletic opponent. So a fight like this worked well in the favor of OSP.

The third round got more interesting though, as OSP hurt Nzechukwu with a right uppercut in the first minute of the round. Nzechuwku appeared to be slowing down and St. Preux looked genuinely great for his age. After being on the back foot for most of the round, Kennedy found a second wind deep from within him, turned up the aggression, and stunned OSP right back. OSP countered with an increase in intensity himself, but then began to appear the more tired fighter. Ovince St Preux had more variety in his punches but the kicks and power of Nczeckuwu may have given him the lead. However, St. Preux found his own second wind in the final seconds and finished the fight stronger.

No round was truly clear for either man, meaning the scorecards could have been all over the place when the decision was read. Each judge had it 29-28, but two of them gave the 29 for OSP, pushing him to being tied for third-most wins in light-heavyweight history.

Official Result: Ovince St. Preux def. Kennedy Nzechukwu by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)