Photo by Jack Bratcher/

WASHINGTON, D.C. – One of pro MMA’s top rising light heavyweight prospects, Ovince St. Preux, returns to action this weekend at Washington Combat. St. Preux, who currently resides in Knoxville and is a former University of Tennessee linebacker, will be facing tough Brazilian veteran Claudio Godoi.

Fighting out of Sao Paulo, Godoi has spent most of his career competing in Brazilian organizations such as Jungle Fight, Fury Fighting Championship, and ShowFight. In 2003, in just his second pro bout, Godoi knocked out Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos. He has also been in the cage with such fighters as Fabio Silva and twice with current UFC light heavyweight Thiago Silva.

St. Preux, who made his pro MMA debut in 2008, is coming off a very impressive performance at “Strikeforce: Nashville” in April where he knocked out Memphis stand-out Chris Hawk just 47 seconds into the first round.

HDNet’s Inside MMA nominated St. Preux for “2009 Submission of the Year” for his calf-slicer submission of Ombey Mobley at “XFC 8: Regional Conflict” in April of last year. However, the rising star has proven his striking is just as dangerous as his submissions.

Following the “Strikeforce: Nashville” event last month, asked Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker if there was any fighter on the preliminary card that impressed him and that he may want to ask back to fight again in the organization. Out of the 15 fighters Strikeforce picked up as regional talent for the card, St. Preux was the only fighter Coker mentioned as someone he would be interested in.

If St. Preux is able to get past Godoi this weekend, look for him to possibly return to Strikeforce in the near future. He would make a perfect fit for their Challenger Series. The former football player has his foot in the door. If  he can continue tackling the competition like he did in his last fight, the sky is the limit for Ovince St. Preux.

Washington Combat takes place at the DC Armory this Saturday night. Headlining the card is a heavyweight bout between MMA legends Gary “Big Daddy” Goodridge and Pedro Rizzo. The co-main event features Jordan Smith vs. Gustavo Machado. Visit for more details.

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