Ben Rothwell doesn’t think Ovince Saint Preux is going to be able to finish him with his trademark submission at UFC on ESPN+ 29, but he welcomes him to try.

Saint Preux (24-13 MMA, 12-8 UFC) has carved out a bit of a legacy for himself in the octagon by locking in the Von Flue (or Von Preux) choke on four different opponents for wins. Pulling it off against Rothwell (37-12 MMA, 7-6 UFC), who arguably has superior grappling to the previous victims, would be a tall task, though.

If Saint Preux wants to go for it, though, Rothwell encourages him to try.

“It’s effective,” Rothwell said during Monday’s UFC on ESPN+ 29 virtual media day. “If he locks it up, it’s like a lot of submissions. If they’re locked up you’re going to be in trouble. I like to believe there’s a way out of everything. It will be a welcomed challenge. He’s got to do a lot of work to get to there.”

UFC on ESPN+ 29 takes place Wednesday at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla. The entire card streams on ESPN+.

The matchup between Rothwell and Saint Preux was a bit of a surprise. Rothwell was originally supposed to fight Gian Villante on the April 18 version of the UFC 249 card, but then the coronavirus pandemic hit and the scheduled got shuffled.

Villante was unavailable to fight on the new date and that’s when Saint Preux came into the fold. “OSP” has never fought at heavyweight in more than 20 fights under the UFC banner, so he wasn’t exactly someone on the radar.

Rothwell hypothesized that Saint Preux is moving up because he thinks it will be an easier time fighting bigger and “slower” opponent, but he intends to prove that wrong on fight night.

It’s an important fight for Rothwell, who in December snapped a three-fight losing skid over nearly three years when he beat Stefan Struve at UFC on ESPN 7. It was a crucial win for Rothwell, and he said one that served a building block to his main career focus going into UFC on ESPN+ 29.

“Goals are just to get in the best shape I can and be the best martial artist I can. That’s the goal every fight, every step. Take each fight one step at a time and try not to look too far ahead because that doesn’t seem to work out well. It’s about focusing on the here and now. With my body there’s a lot of room for improvement and that’s what I’m working on right now.”