UFC 159 fight card primer: Ovince St. Preux vs. Gian Villante

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The Bloody Elbow team previews all 11 fights from tonight's UFC 159 PPV in Newark, New Jersey, including this light-heavyweight bout between former Strikeforce fighters Ovince St. Preux and Gian Villante.

The 3rd of 4 preliminary card fights on FX is a battle between two Strikeforce light-heavyweights making their UFC debuts, as Ovince St. Preux (12-5 MMA, 0-0 UFC) faces Gian Villante (10-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) at UFC 159 in Newark, New Jersey.

It's a return to the Garden State for Villante, who was a Ring of Combat fighter in Atlantic City for his first 8 fights. Coverage of the UFC 159 preliminaries on FX will air at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT; the PPV broadcast will soon follow at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT.

How do these two stack up?

St. Preux: 30 years old | 6'3" | 79" reach
Villante: 27 years old | 6'2"| 75" reach

What have these two done recently?

St. Preux: W - T.J. Cook (KO) | L - Gegard Mousasi (UD) | W - Joe Cason (SUB. STRIKES)
Villante: W - Derrick Mehmen (UD) | W - Trevor Smith (TKO) | W - Keith Berry (UD)

How did these two get here?

"OSP" is a former college football player out of the University of Tennessee (2001-2004). He never played professionally but soon took up kickboxing and grappling. OSP's pro MMA career started in 2008, but he had a rough go of it with just a 3-4 record in his first 7 fights. In 2010 he turned the proverbial corner and rattled off 7 straight wins, including a knockout win over Jason Day. His streak was snapped by Gegard Mousasi in Strikeforce, but he performed quite well against a top 15 caliber LHW. OSP ended his Strikeforce career by wiping out TJ Cook by KO, and now he makes his UFC debut with victories in 8 of his last 9 bouts.

As mentioned earlier, Villante fought under the Ring of Combat promotion, which has housed talents such as Chris Weidman, Uriah Hall, Frankie Edgar, and Costa Philippou. He started out as heavyweight, going 6-0 with a 100% stoppage record. Strikeforce signed him up as a reserve for their HW Grand Prix, but Villante suffered a TKO loss to Chad Griggs and made a permanent switch to 205 lbs. Villante lost by unanimous decision to Lorenz Larkin, but has strung together 3 consecutive victories and will need to pull off a minor upset if he wants to make it 4 in a row tonight.

Why should you care?

If I'm being very honest, this could be a bit of a bore. But OSP was one of Strikeforce's better light-heavyweight prospects, so let's see if he can get off to a good start in the UFC.

SBN coverage of UFC 159: Jones vs. Sonnen

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