NEW YORK (Dec. 14, 2010) – There will be no Holiday Season for streaking light heavyweight Ovince Saint Preux, who’ll try to make it seven wins in a row when he fights for the third time since Nov. 19 on a STRIKEFORCE Challengers Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight card presented by Rockstar Energy Drink on Friday, Jan. 7, 2011, at Nashville Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn., live on SHOWTIME® at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).
A former University of Tennessee linebacker, Saint Preux (9-4) will be opposed by fellow quickster Ron “Abongo” Humphrey (7-2) of Atlanta. The first STRIKEFORCE event of the year will be highlighted by an eagerly awaited confrontation between two of the promotion’s premier, up-and-coming welterweight (170 pounds) stars, unbeaten Tyron Woodley (7-0), of St. Louis, and hard-hitting Belgian, Tarec Saffiedine (10-2).
Originally scheduled to take place on the card, the middleweight (185 pounds) matchup between Yancy “Frisson” Medeiros (9-0) of Waianae, Hawaii and John Salter (5-2) of Nashville has been scrapped due to a knee injury sustained by Medeiros.
The 6-foot-3, 27-year-old Saint Preux, of Knoxville, Tenn., will be the first fighter ever to compete on three consecutive STRIKEFORCE events. He is coming off a career-best, thoroughly dominant three-round unanimous decision over UFC veteran, Benji Radach, on Dec. 4, in St. Louis on SHOWTIME. Saint Preux registered a unanimous three-round decision over Antwain Britt during a STRIKEFORCE Challengers event on Nov. 19 in Jackson, Miss.
“I always thought I was fighting Jan. 7, but when I had a chance to take the fight (with Radach), I took it,” said Saint Preux, a member of Knoxville Martial Arts Academy who passed what most expected to be his toughest test in impressive fashion. “That was a good fight and a hard fight that we both took on short notice but there was no way I could turn down fighting in Tennessee.
“I like to stay busy and I’m in the gym training, working out and trying to improve all the time anyway. So why not fight again? Besides, this is like a home game for me.”
Saint Preux, who won his STRIKEFORCE debut with a 0:47, first-round TKO (punches) over Chris Hawk last April 17 in Nashville, played for the Vols from 2001-2004.
After graduating with a degree in Sociology in ’04, he became heavily involved in MMA, utilizing his impressive wrestling skills and natural athletic abilities. He made history on Feb. 20, 2009, by not only competing in Tennessee’s first sanctioned MMA event, but also by recording the first knockout in the state.
One of six children, Saint Preux has one sister and five brothers. Four of his brothers are twins; one set is older and one set is younger. He has a couple of brands on his body. One is for his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi.
Humphrey, a military son who was born on a base in Vacaville, Calif., will be making his fourth appearance for STRIKEFORCE and third in a row on STRIKEFORCE Challengers on SHOWTIME. In his most recent outing, he was submitted (rear naked choke) in the second round by a red-hot Mike “Mak” Kyle at a Challengers event last July 23 at Everett, Wash.
In his outing before last, the previous March 26, Humphrey made George Bush tap (guillotine choke) at 1:44 of the first round on a Challengers card in Fresno, Calif.
The birth name of the 5-foot-11, 33-year-old is “Ronald,” but he prefers to be addressed as “Abongo,” the name of an African warrior spirit believed to protect a village located in The Republic of Ghana. The moniker was bestowed upon him a few years ago after he endured a series of mentally and physically grueling tasks during a rites of passage trip to Africa.
Humphrey’s experience there inspired him to establish a non-profit organization that allows him to introduce other African-Americans to their heritage by bringing them to Africa.
“There are certain things that are lacking in the black community here and one of them has to do with cultural identity,” said Humphrey. “Fighting and doing the community work in Africa is something that really drives and motivates me in life.”
Humphrey was introduced to a national audience as a contestant on BET’s MMA reality series “Iron Ring” where he was a member of a fight team coached by MMA star, “Mr. International” Shonie Carter, and managed by hip-hop artist and producer Lil’ Jon.
Among those Humphrey defeated during his stint on “Iron Ring” were former K-1 USA contender, Jeff “Big Diesel” Ford, and Carlos Moreno, whom Humphrey knocked out with a head kick.
Tickets for the STRIKEFORCE Challengers event are on sale at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium ticket office, all Ticketmaster locations (800) 745-3000 including Kroger and FYE, Ticketmaster online (www.ticketmaster.com <http://www.ticketmaster.com/> ) and STRIKEFORCE’s official website (www.strikeforce.com <http://www.strikeforce.com/> ). The first non-televised, undercard fight on Jan. 7 will begin at 7:30 CT. Doors will open at 7.
Other televised fights: Undefeated up-and-coming heavyweight prospect and former U.S. Olympic wrestling star Daniel Cormier (6-0) of San Jose faces Devin Cole (18-8-1) of Medford, Ore., and promising Julia “The Jewel” Budd (1-0) of British Columbia, Canada, faces Amanda “Lioness Of The Ring” Nunes (5-1), of Salvador, Brazil, in a women’s middleweight (145 pounds) match. A fifth televised bout will be announced soon.