As Ovince Saint Preux is a damn big man. I noticed that a couple nights ago when he was discussing his upcoming fight with us in the hotel lobby. However, it takes a damn big man to take on a weight class jump on less than a month’s notice against one of the largest men in the division, come up just short on the scorecards in a split decision and still talk about how he could have done better.
When I heard about this match up with Ben Rothwell, I was intrigued. OSP has always moved well as a light heavyweight and I wanted to see how his opponent would handle the smaller, faster fighter. Add in the fact that he kicks like an angry mule and I was sure we’d have a barn burner.
With change in his pockets and a couple cell phones to boot, OSP tipped the scale at 240 pounds. Big Ben hit the required 265 pound limit and, in OSP’s mind, didn’t seem THAT much bigger. Until fight night, that is. Ben was noticeably larger, then…like a a giant bag of dog food heavier than his opponent. I mean, he basically outweighed OSP by a full Backstreet Boy. He was virtually the same size as my senior prom date, with just a slightly longer beard.
OSP did the smart thing in round one, and that was keep moving. He did a great job getting out of the way of those giant sledgehammer fists but found it more difficult than he had anticipated to keep out of reach of the much larger Rothwell. Wherein he could land 3 and 4 punch combos in the lower weight class, OSP found that he couldn’t take that same chance in the cage on this night and had to settle for single and double strikes. Once he threw the headkick, he found himself driven to the ground and forced to fight off the notorious Ten Finger Rothwell choke…which sounds a little like a Kama Sutra move to me. While this choke isn’t extremely difficult to roll out of with a smaller combatant, the additional weight and extra horsepower made defense of this move the top priority.
Once back to their feet, OSP finally decided to bite down and make it a fight. After connecting once and seeing Ben’s reaction, his confidence began to build. Ovince began to throw more often and take his shots against Rothwell, finding more success with each crack and dropping Big Ben to the canvas. When the final stats were in, OSP landed the only knockdown of the fight and actually had the higher connection percentage of significant strikes.
By the end of the fight, both men had learned a lot about each other. Though Big Ben got the nod by the slimmest of margins, OSP grew more throughout this fight and can return to his home gym of KMMA having learned a lot about his own abilities. While I’m not sure we’ll see him back at heavyweight in the near future, one thing is certain…the VersaClimber sponsored athlete would be more than happy to rematch Big Ben, should he ever decide to drop down to that light heavyweight division.