Can’t say I saw this one coming ...
With Mauricio “Shogun” Rua on the mend, former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight title challenger and recent Welterweight, Yushin Okami, has stepped in to face Ovince Saint Preux this Friday (Sept. 22, 2017) as the world’s leading mixed martial arts (MMA) league returns to Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
Top-ranked Brazilian women’s Strawweight standouts Claudia Gadelha and Jessica Andrade helm UFC Fight Night 117’s co-main event, while the legendary Takanori Gomi makes perhaps his final Octagon appearance against Korean “Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim.
The six-fight main card and latter three Prelims will take place on FXX. Haven’t got that channel ... or just can’t find it? Here’s what you can get from your Fight Pass subscription:
170 lbs.: Daichi Abe vs. Hyun Gyu Lim
The 25-year-old Daichi Abe (5-0) picked up three knockouts in four wins to earn a crack at World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) veteran and Welterweight King of Pancrase Hiromitsu Miura in July. Despite Miura’s experience and success in pro boxing, Abe dropped him twice for a second-round technical knockout.
He will give up four inches of height to Hyun Gyu Lim (13-6-1).
Three vicious knockouts in his first four UFC appearances, plus a blood-and-guts war with Tarec Saffiedine on short notice, earned Lim a spot on the fringe of the 170-pound elite. “The Ace” has since struggled to match that early success, suffering stoppage losses to Neil Magny and Mike Perry in his last two fights.
This will be his first fight in 13 months.
Watching Abe’s fight with Miura, his potential is obvious. Though he’s a bit too upright and his head doesn’t move enough, he’s got lights-out power and solid form in his punches, as well as a Judo background to keep opponents in his wheelhouse. Lim, while colossal for the weight class and far more experienced, doesn’t have a whole lot going for him.
“The Ace,” a brawler by trade, just lost a brawl last time out. Even putting aside the sort of damage that could do to his confidence, his cardio remains a significant liability. He’s also there to be hit just as much as Abe is and has suffered far more wear-and-tear. Expect a fun, back-and-forth fight before Lim starts to slow and Abe finds the mark with a big right hand.
Prediction: Abe via second-round technical knockout
170 lbs.: Shinsho Anzai vs. Luke Jumeau
Shinsho Anzai (9-2) strung together six straight wins, the last a knockout of Ryo Kawamkura to become the Middleweight King of Pancrase, to earn his spot in the world’s largest fight promotion. A “Fight of the Night”-winning brawl with Alberto Mina didn’t go his way, but careful wrestling carried him to victory over Roger Zapata his next time out.
This will be the first fight for “The Animal” in almost exactly two years because of a back injury.
Luke Jumeau (12-3) put losses to Li Jingliang and Jake Matthews behind him with six consecutive stoppage victories, including a knockout of UFC vet Vik Grujic in January. He still entered his debut against Dominique Steele as an underdog, but used powerful striking and solid takedown defense to win the decision. He has knocked out five professional opponents and submitted another four.
This one’s a toughie. On the one hand, Anzai’s the sort of relentless, powerful takedown artist that Jumeau appears to have issues with. On the other, he’s raw as hell on the feet and is coming off a huge layoff for a significant injury.
I think I’m going to go with Jumeau. Anzai’s too one-dimensional in his pursuit of the takedown and Jumeau’s got crisper, more powerful boxing. Expect Jumeau to take increasing control of the fight as ring rust and failed shots wear his foe down.
Prediction: Jumeau via third-round technical knockout
UFC Fight Night 117’s remaining three “Prelims” undercard matches include the debut of a new Strawweight and a fight between Welterweight finishers. See you then, Maniacs!
Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 117 card on Friday, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. ET, and then the remaining under/main card balance on FXX at 8 and 10 p.m. ET, respectively.