It’s that time once again, fans and friends. Another major MMA event has come and gone, and it’s time for my unofficial “Best Performance of the Night” award. For Strikeforce’s “Challengers 17” event, the competition for “BPOTN” was pretty stiff. You had Sarah Kaufman beating a very game Liz Carmouche in addition to Bobby Voelker dramatically stopping Roger Bowling. But one man gave a performance so dominant you had to wonder not only what his opponent was thinkin stepping into the cage against him, but also why the promotion insists on continuing to put the man on “Challengers” cards. Here’s why Ovince St. Preux’s heinous beatdown on Joe Cason took home “Best Performance of the Night”.
Let’s begin as we always do, fans and friends: by putting the situation into context.
Although he debuted in Strikeforce with a “just barely cutting it” record of 4-4, Ovince St. Preux impressed with a first-round, first-minute TKO. OSP would return later that year, and would go on quite the interesting run. From November 2010 to January 2011, Ovince St. Preux fought three times in three months. All three of those opponents were tough tests for St. Preux.
The first, Abongo Humphrey, was a former Heavyweight with a 7-1 record. The second opponent, Benji Radach, was a veteran of over twenty-five fights. And the final opponent, Antwain Britt, had won nine of his eleven wins as a professional Mixed Martial Artist via some form of (T)KO. St. Preux would end up taking all three to a decision, and beating them all by Unanimous Decision.
Towards the end of this interesting run, it was clear that Ovince St. Preux needed to take some time off to heal and regain his cardio. He did just that, taking off roughly six months before accepting a fight at “Challengers 17”.
His opponent, Joe Cason, was 8-0 with six (T)KO’s and two submissions, with one submission due to strikes. Still, he had yet to compete anywhere near the main stage and hadn’t gotten a quality opponent under his belt, win or lose. Perhaps against another fighter, maybe a fellow Strikeforce newcomer, Cason could’ve impressed with his fiery punching power and worked his way up to a showdown with OSP. As it stood before their fight, though, it was clear that Cason was supposed to play the role of the sacrificial lamb.
And that’s exactly what happened. There was no “Cinderella Story” here.
From the moment the first bell rang, it became clear that the last thing OSP wanted to do was get another decision win on his record. St. Preux blasted out of his corner of the cage and immediately pressed the action, with Cason trying and ultimately failing to keep the pace and score some shots of his own. In the end, Cason would end up fully overwhelmed and tapping due to strikes after just seventy-two seconds.
Strikeforce’s Light Heavyweight division is honestly a bit of a mess right now. No one has managed to hold onto the championship, and there’s rumors that Dan Henderson may never get a chance to defend the belt he recently won. With that kind of atmosphere, you’ve got to think that St. Preux is only a win or two away from getting a shot at the championship. And with the performances he’s been giving in Strikeforce, especially the one he gave at “Challengers 17”, you’ve got to figure that Ovince St. Preux could end up being a Strikeforce champion by 2012 at the latest.