Sydney’s Tyson Pedro burst onto the mainstream scene in November of 2016 when he jumped at a last-minute opportunity to fight in the UFC, almost as tenaciously as he jumped on his opponent’s neck during the bout that followed. Tyson’s Father, John Pedro, is a well-known pioneer and promoter of Australian MMA. That fact, along with the fact that he had achieved an impressive 4-0 record before getting the call up for the big show, meant that many Australian MMA fans were already familiar with Tyson. Once he was finished with Khalil Roundtree at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena on that November afternoon, many, many, more people knew the name, Tyson Pedro.
The 26-year-old danced and smiled his way to the cage for his octagon debut, while commentator Dan Hardy noted: “I guarantee after a couple of fights in the UFC, everyone is going to remember this guy”. As usual, Hardy was right, and Pedro appeared to feel quite at home under the bright lights. Shortly after the smile filled walkout, the opening horn sounded, and Roundtree clipped the Aussie star with a thunderous left hand, it was at this moment that Pedro showed a quality that he is now well known for, composure. Pedro tied Roundtree up, scored a takedown, and submitted the Ultimate Fighter Finalist with a rear naked choke. The crowd erupted with emphatic cheers, as Dan Hardy excitedly proclaimed on the broadcast “The hype is real”. Correct again Dan, the hype for Tyson Pedro, is most certainly, real.
The light heavyweight from Western Sydney has amassed a UFC record of 3-1 while achieving all three of those victories in the 1st round. The only set back on his rise through the ranks came via a decision loss to UFC powerhouse, Ilir Latifi (7-3 UFC). The bout against Sweden’s Latifi didn’t just represent Pedro’s sole loss, but it was the first time he went past the first round and just the third time he had fought inside the UFC octagon. While watching Pedro compete against the 10th ranked light heavyweight during the bout in September of 2017, fans most certainly wouldn’t have guessed any of those facts. Despite the loss, Pedro has grown as a fighter and recently bounced back with a submission victory over Saparbek Safarov in Perth this past February.
This weekend at UFC Singapore, Pedro will turn his attention to arguably the most dangerous opponent he has faced to date; UFC veteran, former title challenger, and current 7th ranked light heavyweight, Ovince Saint Preux.
Similarly to Pedro, Saint Preux also suffered a recent defeat at the hands of Ilir Latifi. Before that loss, however, he was on a three-fight winning streak, and some believed that he was well on his way to earning himself a second shot at the coveted UFC Championship. The dangerously skilled American will travel from his hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee, to Kallang, Singapore, when he clashes with Pedro on June 23rd. The last time Saint Preux fought in Asia was in 2017, where he earned himself a “performance of the night” bonus for defeating Yushin Okami in Saitama, Japan.
Prior to Saint Preux’s recent three-fight winning streak, he was on a three-fight losing skid. However, as many devoted UFC fans know, when it comes to losses the devil is often in the details, so here they are: One of the defeats came at the hands of Jon Jones, a man whom many consider to be the G.O.A.T. The remaining two came against top contenders, Jimi Manua, and -recent title challenger- Volkan Oezdemir, with the latter occurring via split decision.
Saint Preux’s experience, along with his unique athletic ability, devastating power, deadly unpredictability, and large physical stature, makes him the most dangerous fighter that Tyson Pedro has faced in his career thus far.
For Pedro, this upcoming bout is pivotal. Ovince Saint Preux presents some unique stylistic challenges; the Tennessee native likes to throw strikes from unique angles, he switches stances often and has more than one trick up his sleeve when the fight hits the canvas. Pedro is tricky too, as shown by his display of a beautiful kimura trap that he used to submit Saparbek Safarov during his last UFC outing. When he clashes with Saint Preux, Pedro will need to bring all his composure, tricks, and more than likely his iron chin, if he wants to defeat the most dangerous opponent that he’s faced thus far. A win over Saint Preux may bring him within reach of a UFC Title shot.
Is Tyson Pedro on his path to becoming the second Australian UFC Champion in history? This upcoming UFC Fight Night on June 23rd in Singapore should give everyone a very good indication.