Ovince Saint Preux
In terms of build, Ovince Saint Preux (20-10) is unfair.
At 6’3″ with a gargantuan 80″ reach, he can punch and kick from a distance where opponents can’t respond with anything but hurtful words and a dirty look. As a southpaw, his roundhouse kick naturally targets the liver which poses immense problems for opponents as a body kick isn’t easily countered. He throws it with such force that, in his fight with Ryan Bader, he was literally lifting the 215 lb+ man off the ground with the hits.
But the scary thing is that OSP’s base is grappling.
He was a high school wrestler and a collegiate football player, excelling at both due to his monstrous athleticism. As result, he can bully his opponents to the ground even if he doesn’t have a proper grip. As we’ve often said before, there’s no compensating for size in the top game and “OSP” is about as big as light heavyweights come. His enormous limbs can snake over his opponents’ necks and limbs to produce submissions from positions you wouldn’t think; half of his twenty wins are by submission.
But everything we’ve just written only applies in the first two rounds because OSP’s gas tank is horrendous.
Past two rounds, the limited discipline “OSP” has with his striking goes out the window. His long punches wing pathetically, and he can’t throw out kicks with enough frequency to make a difference. There are times during fights where it seems like he can throw a punch or move, but doesn’t have the energy to do both. Glover Texeira wore out “OSP” by allowing him to beat on him (not intentionally, mind you) and then going for takedowns.
If you can make it past two rounds with “OSP”, all you’ll be left with a very intimidating punching bag.
At 36 years old, Yushin “Thunder” Okami (34-10) is one of the oldest veterans to return to the UFC. But Okami seems to be forgotten by the vast majority of fans, which is a shame because he was the best Japanese fighter in UFC history. He amassed a respectable 13-5 record and was a perennial top-five middleweight in the world back before the useless UFC rankings existed.
Okami did it by being the exact opposite of most Japanese imports to the UFC.
Many Japanese fighters aren’t as dedicated to weight cutting as their American counterparts and frequently give up size in the octagon. The problem isn’t as bad today, but before the UFC’s mainstream explosion the Japanese fighters were problematically smaller than their opposition. As a result, much of their trademark aggression was nullified by the sheer power imbalance and they couldn’t live up to the hype as the losses piled up.
At 6’2″, Okami is built well even for today’s middleweight division and back in the day he was monstrous. Over his UFC career, no one could physically bully him except Chael Sonnen which is saying something. He could be grounded with an explosive takedown attempt, but attempting to grapple with him against the fence was a guaranteed stalemate. Okami didn’t possess any of the dynamic moves off the fence that today’s grapplers do, but he had great balance and fought for underhooks like his life depended on it.
But Okami was the opposite of his brethren for the worse as well; he was human Tylenol PM.
Okami’s boxing was limited to a simple 1-2, and despite being well-built, he wasn’t an explosive athlete. He could submit fighters if he had a dominant enough position, but didn’t have the pedigree needed to intelligently build towards them. He had some power in his hands but didn’t understand how to set up his combinations. As a result, Okami built his record on dragging opponents down and keeping them there which drove the UFC batty and led them to ditch him at the first opportunity.
He has developed a few tricks since then. He has a solid liver kick which he refuses to use as often as he should, and he’ll sometimes delay the “2” in his 1-2 to make sure his opponent is coming at him to maximize damage. And if he’s confident (and that’s a big if) he’ll throw a few power shots. But Okami didn’t have a terrific chin in his prime and time hasn’t helped; he’s gotten better with head movement but goes down too easy in an exchange.
Okay so let’s get this out of the way; OSP is a behemoth of a light heavyweight while Okami is a fair sized middleweight.
The question is can Okami walk OSP to the fence without getting caught in a clinch, and can he do it for two rounds? Because he won’t win any striking exchanges in the middle of the octagon, and if OSP gets a hold of him early then he will be thrown down and beaten. Okami is decent at fending off submissions, but his chin won’t stand up to the full power ground and pound from a man who will have a 15-20 lbs weight advantage on him.
Unless Okami has a game plan that transcends time and space, OSP is going to get on the highlight reel.
Ovince Saint Preux by KO
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