When the UFC visits Bangor, Maine, on Saturday, there will be a handful of fights on the card with strong Fight of the Night potential.
The headline bout is a key light heavyweight matchup pitting two top-10 ranked fighters in the 205-pound division against each other. No. 8 Ryan "Darth" Bader will face the fast-rising Ovince Saint Preux, who is currently ranked No. 10.
Bader is a longtime contender at 205 pounds who has already had his shot at Jon Jones just before Bones won the title. He's dropped a few high-profile scraps with Glover Teixeira, Lyoto Machida and Tito Ortiz since, and he's beaten some lesser-regarded opponents.
At 31 years old, Bader needs to prove he has what it takes to beat a big-time opponent.
Is OSP big time? We may just find out against Bader. The 31-year-old from Knoxville, Tennessee, has won five fights in a row since losing by decision to Gegard Mousasi in Strikeforce. OSP is known as a dangerous striker, but he has been showing diversity in his game of late.
His last two wins have come by submission. Most recently, OSP forced Ryan Jimmo to verbally submit after a slam and kimura broke the Canadian's arm. OSP is a vicious and hungry contender looking to continue his climb up the light heavyweight rankings.
Here's the viewing information needed to watch the featured bout and the rest of UFC Fight Night 47, as well as a look at the entire card and predictions for each fight.
|Fox Sports 2 Prelims at 8 p.m. ET|
|Nolan Ticman vs. Frankie Saenz||Bantamweight||Ticman by KO|
|Tom Watson vs. Sam Alvey||Middleweight||Watson by KO|
|Sara McMann vs. Lauren Murphy||Bantamweight||McMann by TKO|
|Jussier Formiga vs. Zach Makovsky||Flyweight||Makovsky by decision|
|Fox Sports 1 Main Card at 10 p.m. ET|
|Thiago Tavares vs. Robbie Peralta||Featherweight||Peralta by decision|
|Shawn Jordan vs. Jack May||Heavyweight||May by TKO|
|Seth Baczynski vs. Alan Jouban||Welterweight||Jouban by decision|
|Tim Boetsch vs. Brad Tavares||Middleweight||Tavares by decision|
|Gray Maynard vs. Ross Pearson||Lightweight||Pearson by TKO|
|Ryan Bader vs. Ovince Saint Preux||Light Heavyweight||Saint Preux by TKO|
Card per UFC.com, predictions per Mazique
Tavares Will Outlast The Barbarian
Tim "The Barbarian" Boetsch always fights with a sense of urgency, but considering he's lost three of his last four fights, he should really bring some desperation into the Octagon on Saturday.
He was just dominated by Luke Rockhold in April. Rockhold finished the bout with an inverted triangle kimura.
Boetsch is a battler who isn't terribly athletic, but he has used his toughness, resolve and second wind to outwork opponents in the past. That combination of somewhat intangible qualities hasn't been getting the job done lately.
Brad Tavares is just as tough as Boetsch, if not more rugged. He's never been stopped, and his beard was certified stone after enduring a full scrap with the ridiculously strong Yoel Romero in his last bout. Though Tavares lost by decision, he proved his chin was the real deal.
If Boetsch can't hurt Tavares, he won't slow him down during stand-up exchanges. Thus, the speed and dexterity advantages the 26-year-old from Hawaii holds will be more evident.
In what figures to be an entertaining scrap, Tavares will hold his own on the ground and land more significant strikes to earn the decision.
The Real Deal Will Finish The Bully
Coming off a bout where he was the victim of one of the worst decisions in UFC history, Ross Pearson should be hungry for an official victory.
Prepping fighter cards for Maine. Can't bring the pen to write Ross Pearson's fight w/ Diego Sanchez as an L. pic.twitter.com/FBXOIDheyG— Jon Anik (@Jon_Anik) August 10, 2014
Pearson appeared to easily outpoint Diego Sanchez in June, but the latter got the nod from the judges. In this bout, Pearson faces another tough and respected legend in Gray Maynard, but I wouldn't count on the judges coming into play in this one.
Per Damon Martin of Fox Sports, Pearson said:
It feels like a little bit of a risk factor leaving it to the judges. It's definitely a little bit sketchy. Coming out of that last fight with Diego, I was so confident that I won that fight and I felt 100 percent in my mind that nobody could believe I lost that fight. It was laughable.
I'm here to look for finishes. I look to finish fights and it's definitely lit a spark under my ass to finish fights. To be a little bit more hungry to chase and press a little bit more.
Maynard has lost three of his last four fights, all by way of stoppage. The only win he's had in this span came over the equally washed-up Clay Guida.
A motivated and slightly irritated Pearson will finish Maynard on Saturday and quite possibly punctuate The Bully's career.
OSP Will Defeat the Gatekeeper
Yes, I used the word gatekeeper in association with Bader. At this point, it's hard to call him anything else. He's beaten up on guys who hope to be contenders or are past their prime, yet he's failed to grab the big win over the division's elite.
OSP is showing himself to be one of the most dangerous men at light heavyweight. This bout represents yet another opportunity for Bader to make a statement.
The concept of this fight is going to be simple. If Bader, the consummate wrestler, can take OSP down, he'll have a shot to win. If he can't, he'll get picked apart in the stand-up and likely finished within two rounds.
It seems OSP understands what to expect, and he sounds confident in his abilities. He told Bleacher Report's Duane Finley:
I think this is a great matchup. He has power in his hands, and I do too. I also have power in my feet, and I know the things he's eventually going to go for. With me, you don't know what I'm going to go for or when I'm going to go for them. If I want to go for the takedown, I think I can take him down if I want to. But at the same time, I think he's going to have a hard time taking me down.
While OSP is an explosive striker, he doesn't get enough credit for his grappling and takedown defense.
Per Fight Metric, he has a 71 percent takedown defense rating. What's more relevant is that he's stuffed the last eight takedowns attempted against him. In fact, no opponent has successfully taken OSP down since the Mousasi fight.
Because of this, OSP is going to destroy Bader's Death Star.
Follow Brian Mazique, the Sports and Video Game Journalist, on Twitter.