Ryan Bader took a unanimous decision against Ovince St. Preux. | Photo: Jeff Botari/Zuffa/UFC/Getty
Ovince St. Preux encountered a serious roadblock along the way to Ultimate Fighting Championship stardom. He met Ryan Bader, up close and personal.
Repeated well-disguised takedowns, a neutralizing top game and some productive work in the clinch carried Bader to a unanimous decision over St. Preux in the UFC Fight Night “Bader vs. St. Preux” headliner on Saturday at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, Maine. All three cageside judges scored it for Bader (18-4, 11-4 UFC): 48-47, 49-46 and 49-46.
St. Preux’s bright spots were few and far between, though the 31-year-old did lift “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 8 winner off his feet with a thudding second-round body kick. He was often limited to single-strike success, as Bader moved into position behind his punches and countered St. Preux’s advances with takedowns. He executed multiple takedowns in the first, third and fourth rounds, keeping St. Preux bottled up on his back.
Still, St. Preux (16-6, 4-1 UFC) closed strong. He delivered a takedown of his own in round five before opening a cut on Bader with a sharp elbow, but his efforts were not enough to produce the finish he needed.
Pearson Dismisses Reeling Maynard
In the co-main event, “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 9 winner Ross Pearson wiped out two-time lightweight title contender Gray Maynard with second-round punches. Pearson (16-7, 8-4 UFC) closed the deal 95 seconds into round two, as “The Real Deal” rebounded from his controversial decision loss to Diego Sanchez in June.
Maynard (11-4-1, 9-4-1 UFC), who replaced the injured Abel Trujillo on short notice, did well up until the stoppage. The 34-year-old three-time NCAA All-American wrestler executed a pair of first-round takedowns, ripped close-quarters punches to the body and steered clear of Pearson’s dangerous hands. A little more than a minute into round two, the Englishman staggered Maynard with a counter right hand, dropped him to a seated position with a left hook and finished it with unanswered right hands on the ground.
Once regarded as one of the world’s premier fighters at 155 pounds, Maynard is 1-4-1 over his past six outings.
Boetsch Rallies, Ambushes Tavares
Tim Boetsch rallied from behind to take care of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 11 semifinalist Brad Tavares with second-round punches in a middleweight showcase. Tavares (12-3, 7-3 UFC) met his end 3:18 into round two. He had never before been finished.
Tavares worked over “The Barbarian” in the clinch, opening a cut on his forehead and another below his left eye with close-range elbows. Boetsch (18-7, 9-6 UFC) answered in the second round, where he floored the Hawaiian with a left hook, trailed the retreating 26-year-old to the cage and dropped him again with a crushing right. Standing-to-ground punches fell next, and referee Kevin MacDonald had seen enough.
Boetsch had not recorded a stoppage since his upset of Yushin Okami more than two years ago.
Jouban Hook KOs Baczynski
Resurrection Fighting Alliance alum Alan Jouban knocked out Seth Baczynski with a left hook in the first round of their welterweight showcase. Jouban (10-2, 1-0 UFC) drew the curtain 4:23 into round one, as he won for the ninth time in 10 outings.
Baczynski (19-12, 5-5 UFC) had control early, as he sat down the Black House representative with a left hook, scored with a takedown and piled up points with short, close-range punches. However, Jouban soon shifted the momentum in his direction. A clean combination wobbled Baczynski and forced him to retreat to the cage. There, Jouban flurried before sneaking in the decisive shot that folded the Arizonan where he stood.
A graduate of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 11, Baczynski has lost four of his last five.
‘Savage’ Jordan Stops May
American Top Team’s Shawn Jordan put away Jack May with third-round punches in a featured heavyweight clash. May (7-2, 0-2 UFC) succumbed to the blows 2:03 into round three, as the 6-foot-8 CSW representative suffered his second defeat in as many Octagon appearances.
Victory did not come easy for Jordan (16-6, 4-3 UFC). The 29-year-old former Louisiana State University fullback suffered multiple facial cuts and survived a harrowing second-round exchange in which May had him reeling with swarming punches. Jordan executed a takedown inside the first minute of round three, moved to back mount and uncorked a series of clubbing rights and lefts to the head. May offered nothing in the way of defense, forcing referee Dan Miragliotta to intervene.
The win snapped Jordan’s two-fight losing streak.
Tavares Choke Submits Peralta
Thiago Tavares submitted Strikeforce veteran Robbie Peralta with a first-round rear-naked choke in a one-sided featherweight showcase. Tavares (19-5-1, 8-5-1 UFC) brought it to a close 4:27 into round one, as he made a dazzling debut at 145 pounds.
Peralta (18-5, 4-2 UFC) was never a factor in the fight, his heavy hands holstered throughout. Tavares struck for a takedown inside the first minute, maneuvered onto his counterpart’s back and proceeded to transition between back mount and full mount, nearly forcing a stoppage with Peralta in a helpless, flattened-out position. Later in the round, Tavares moved from mount to the back, allowed Peralta to advance to a kneeling position and cinched the choke for the tapout.
Tavares, 29, has won four of his last five fights.