Ovince St. Preux shows continual improvement with “Strikeforce Challengers 12” co-main event victory

Photo by Jack Bratcher / ProMMAnow.com

Former University of Tennessee Vols linebacker Ovince St. Preux (8-4) picked up his fifth straight win Friday night live on Showtime at “Strikeforce Challengers 12“, which took place at the Jackson Convention Complex in Jackson, Miss.

St. Preux, who had knocked out his four previous opponents in the first round, including an eight-second-KO of UFC veteran Jason “Dooms” Day, was put to the test by his toughest competition to date, Strikeforce light heavyweight veteran Antwain Britt (11-5).

St. Preux looked great in the first round and came close to finishing the bout when he dropped Britt with a body kick (liver kick). Britt went to the ground and turtled up as St. Preux attacked with a barrage of punches.

Britt covered up to shield the blows and when St. Preux realized he was not going to be able to finish him with punches, and as the end of the round was coming quick, he went for his patented calf slicer submission, the same submission that got him nominated for Inside MMA’s “Submission of the Year” in 2009 when he tapped out Ombey Mobley at XFC 8 in Knoxville.

The calf slicer did not work this time and the experienced Britt held on until the end of the round. St. Preux had expended a lot of energy trying to finish the fight in round one. He was used to finishing his opponents quickly, and up until this point in his career, had never won a fight that went past the first round.

Britt rebounded in round two by putting St. Preux on his back and keeping the fight there for most of the five minutes. He laid on some decent ground and pound and dominated the round. However, St. Preux survived and used it to get a much-needed second wind for round three.

By the third round both men had slowed down a bit. Britt put St. Preux on his back early and we looked to be headed for a repeat of round two which would ultimately give Britt the decision victory. But out of nowhere St. Preux got a reversal and ended up on top of Britt in full mount. Britt eventually got St. Preux in his full guard and the ref stood them back up.

St. Preux landed another devastating kick to the body that dropped Britt and St. Preux finished out the round in top control. In the end, the judges gave St. Preux the first and third rounds for a unanimous decision victory. More importantly, St. Preux showed he is improving and can go the distance.

In the post-fight interview, Showtime commentator Mauro Ranallo asked St. Preux if he was ready for Strikeforce’s main show or if he needed another fight or two in their Challengers Series. St. Preux responded like any true champion would, by saying he was ready for the big stage now and was willing to take on anyone Strikeforce put in front of him.

St. Preux, who turned 27-years-old in April,  has barely been fighting for two years now. His continual progression has been impressive to watch, especially within the last year. His athleticism, strength and power, combined with his improving grappling and skillful striking is going to make him a formidable opponent for anyone.

St. Preux lives in Knoxville, Tenn., and trains out of Knoxville MMA. With rumors of Strikeforce planning to return to Nashville early in 2011, look for St. Preux’s next bout to possibly be on that card. He last fought in the state’s capital city in April of this year at “Strikeforce: Nashville” when he knocked out Memphis fighter Chris Hawk in just 47 seconds… from inside his full guard.

For a complete play-by-play of the St. Preux vs. Britt fight as well as full results of “Strikeforce Challengers 12”, check out: “Strikeforce Challengers 12” live results, play-by-play.

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