Alberta heavyweight Tanner (The Bulldozer) Boser is stepping in on short notice to take on Ovince Saint Preux in the co-main event of a June 26 UFC Fight Night card in Las Vegas.
Saint Preux (25-15-0) was slated to fight Maxim Grishin on the same show. But the Russian is unable to compete due to visa issues, according to the UFC.
Saint Preux agreed to move up to heavyweight to face Boser (19-8-1) who had requested a quick return to action after a June 5 loss to Sweden’s Ilir (The Sledgehammer) Latifi.
The 38-year-old Saint Preux, who is coming off a December loss to light-heavyweight Jamahal (Sweet Dreams) Hill, fought as a heavyweight in May 2020 when, after weighing in at 240.5 pounds, he lost a split decision to Ben Rothwell.
Saint Preux, a former University of Tennessee football player, has missed the 206-pound light-heavyweight non-title limit in the past.
He made his UFC debut in April 2013 at UFC 159 and is 13-10-0 in the promotion. He fought for the interim light-heavyweight championship in April 2016, losing to Jon (Bones) Jones at UFC 197.
Boser weighed in at 242 pounds for Latifi.
The main event at the UFC Apex production facility sees France’s Cyril (Bon Gamin) Gane, ranked third among heavyweight contenders, facing No. 5 Alexander (Drago) Volkov of Russia.
Boser, a 29-year-old from Bonnyville, Alta., who now calls Edmonton home, is coming off two head-scratching losses.
On June 5, he was at the wrong end of a 28-29, 29-27, 28-29 split decision with two of the three judges ruling for Latifi despite the fact that Boser had a 45-10 edge in significant strikes, according to UFC Stats. Latifi did score takedowns in the first and third rounds, compiling six minute 38 seconds of control time (compared to 42 seconds for Boser) but did little damage on the ground.
When the decision was announced, Boser mouthed a curse word and turned away in disgust.
After the bout, Tanner put out a social media post asking for a fight in July. “I’m not hurt and I’m pissed off,” he wrote.
“I meant what I said. The sooner the better. I’m good to go,” he wrote in a new post Wednesday.
Boser saw his two-fight win streak snapped in a loss to former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei (The Pit Bull) Arlovski in November. Boser landed 68 of 119 significant strike attempts while Arlovski was good on 34 of 82 attempts. But Arlovski showed more power.
While all three judges scored the fight 29-28 for Arlovski, each awarded Boser a different round.
Boser blamed himself afterwards, saying he had been too complacent. He said he thought he was ahead on the scorecards and that Arlovski would have to come at him, giving him a chance to punish the former champ if he made a mistake.
Boser, who is 3-3-0 in the UFC, in no stranger to short-notice assignments.
In 2019, he beat Daniel Spitz on Oct. 18 and lost to Gane on Dec. 21. And last year he posted wins over Philipe (Monstro) Lins and Raphael (Bebezoa) Pessoa on June 27 and July 25, respectively.
© 2021 The Canadian Press
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