Ovince St. Preux and Ryan Bader both came up with big wins in the undercard of UFC 174. Four days later, they agreed to face each other in the main event of UFC’s Fight Night card on August 16 in Bangor, Maine USA.
St. Preux has been red hot. The Knoxville Tennessee native has an MMA record of 16-5 with 7 KOs and 5 submissions. But he has won 13 of his last 14 bouts, including 4-0 in the UFC. That lone loss was dealt by Gegard Mousasi on December 17, 2011 when both men were still fighting for the Strikeforce promotion.
St. Preux is coming off a second round submission of Ryan Jimmo in UFC 174. Jimmo was forced to a verbal tap out after suffering a broken arm against the very physical St. Preux.
Going into the August 16 fight, St. Preux carries a five fight winning streak which is the longest in the light heavyweight division oustide of champion Jon Jones.
Bader is best known as the winner of The Ultimate Fighter Season 8: Team Noguiera vs Team Mir in 2008. The 31 year old Reno, Nevada native went undefeated in three fights before squaring off against Brazilian Jiu- Jitsu black belt Vinicius Magalhaes. Bader dropped Magalhaes with an overhand right a few seconds into the bout, and finished him off with ground strikes at the 2:18 mark of the very first round to earn the traditional “six-figure UFC contract.”
Bader has gone 9-4 since his arrival in the UFC, holding unanimous decision victories over Antonio Rogiero ” Little Nog” Noguiera and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. His four losses were all to big name fighters: Jon Jones, Tito Ortiz, Lyoto Machida and Glover Texiera. Although Bader had the reputation of losing his big fights, he changed that in UFC 174.
Bader faced former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight champion Rafael “Feijao” Calvacante in a three rounder. Bader dominated he Brazilian for fifteen minutes and shut him down in all the judges scorecards at 30-27. Bader set the tone and avoided Calvacante’s striking by taking him down to the ground early in the fight. Bader worked from the top position with a heavy ground and pound and solid knees to the body. It was perhaps the best-all around effort of Bader’s career and it proved that he has evolved into a more mature fighter. The Ryan Bader of old would have recklessly went in for a shoot-out against his opponent. Against Calvacante, that would have been a disaster.
Bader is on a two fight winning streak. His overall record is 17-4 with 6 KOs and 4 submissions.
The Maine Event
UFC president Dana White said that he “loves this great fight” because St. Preux is a guy “who looks better each time he fights.” White believes that Bader is a good test of how good St. Preux really is. He added that both Top 10 guys have a chance to break into the elite Top 5 rankings and inch closer to a shot at the UFC light heavyweight title.
St. Preux carries the longer winning streak and much of the hype this time around, but Bader has another shot at getting back to the top. Let’s see whose