The Film Room: Ovince St. Preux vs. Tyson Pedro

By Kevin Wilson Jun 19, 2018
Longtime Ultimate Fighting Championship staple Ovince St. Preux will take on rising light heavyweight contender Tyson Pedro in the UFC Fight Night 132 co-main event on Saturday in Kallang, Singapore. St. Preux has run hot and cold since joining the promotion in 2013, as he has compiled a 10-6 record inside the Octagon. Pedro, meanwhile, owns a 3-1 mark in the UFC and believes a victory over St. Preux could thrust him into the Top 10 at 205 pounds.

The latest installment in The Film Room series examines their pivotal matchup.

Finishing Maestro

A former college linebacker at the University of Tennessee, St. Preux ranks as one of the best pure athletes to ever step inside the Octagon. Standing 6-foot-3 and pairing an 80-inch reach with the speed of a much smaller man, St. Preux is the definition of a freak physical specimen. Though he got a late start in martial arts, his athleticism, power and finishing ability on the ground have allowed him to compete at the highest levels of MMA.

St. Preux is perhaps best known for his three successful Von Flue choke submissions in the UFC. Although a rare maneuver, the choke is rather easy to secure if your opponent is unaware. Opponents keep a single arm around St. Preux’s head in hopes of getting to their feet or securing a guillotine. Instead, St. Preux passes to side control, clasps his hands behind the head and shoulder and posts on his feet to drive his shoulder into the opponent’s neck. The ill-advised guillotine applies additional pressure, essentially resulting in a self-submission.

If St. Preux fails to secure a submission on the ground, he is not opposed to posturing up and letting loose with ground-and-pound. Despite being known for his striking and the occasional submission, he arguably does his best work on the canvas and has some of the most underrated grappling skills in the division. While he may lack the grappling accolades of some of his contemporaries, his athleticism and size aid him tremendously and have allowed him to beat superior grapplers on the mat.

St. Preux is a proven finisher, with 17 of his 22 career victories coming by knockout, technical knockout or submission. He possesses the kind of true one-strike knockout power that is rare at the highest levels of the sport. He might not be as technically clean as the rest of the Top 10 at 205 pounds, but few can match his power and overall finishing ability.

‘Kangaroo Paws’

Do not let Pedro’s unique nickname distract you from the fact that the UFC has a legitimate young contender on its hands in a division desperate for new blood. Named after Mike Tyson and the son of the man credited for bringing mixed martial arts to Australia, Pedro was literally born to fight. He began training in traditional Japanese jiu-jitsu at age 4 and slowly progressed to boxing, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and eventually MMA. He began his professional MMA career in 2013 and has since amassed a 7-1 record, with all seven of his wins coming by knockout or submission.

In his most recent appearance against Saparbek Safarov, Pedro secured one of the most spectacular kimuras we have ever seen inside a UFC cage. This kimura is often used to defend takedowns against the cage, but it is rarely executed as a submission and used almost exclusively as a defensive tactic. Instead, Pedro went all-in on the kimura, flipped Safarov to his back and swung his leg behind his head to complete the arm lock.

Although known as a linear submission threat, Pedro, much like St. Preux, is not afraid of posturing up and throwing some ground-and-pound. Since opponents are often concerned with his submissions on the ground, it allows Pedro to pass their guard and catch them by surprise with ground-and-pound. Against Paul Craig, Pedro advanced to a mounted crucifix and landed uncontested elbows to earn the finish.

Pedro has some serious work to do in the striking department, but he does have a surprising clinch game and uses the threat of his submissions to achieve desired outcomes. When Pedro grabs the clinch, opponents are focused on defending a takedown and not expecting any strikes. This allows Pedro to again use the art of deception and land knees from the clinch before going for the takedown. Although he has a long way to go to become an elite or even an above-average striker, he can use the threat of his grappling and submissions to find success on the feet.


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