Gokhan Saki, the kickboxing great, made his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut against Henrique da Silva on the main card of UFC Fight Night 117 tonight (Fri., Sept. 22, 2017) inside Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, which aired live on FXX (not FOX Sports 1).
Would Saki be able to apply his legendary kickboxing skills to UFC competition? As it turned out, the answer was, “Yes!”
Saki immediately landed hard counters as da Silva pressed forward. He connected repeatedly, circled out from an attempted clinch agains the cage, and flattened da Silva with a straight left. Henrique da Silva immediately shot to try to take Saki down, but Saki defended the attempt and circled out very well. Da Silva was still attempting to move forward and Saki was stopping him cold with counters. Saki began to unload with nice one and two-punch combinations, hooks and straights as da Silva covered up. Saki hit him with two hooks and began teeing off. Saki ate a hard left as he tried to counter off the cage. Gokhan circled away, then landed a hard overhand. They clinched for a moment. Da Silva tried to change levels, but Saki stuffed it and even threw Henrique to the floor for a moment. He dug to the body. Saki attempted a head kick that whiffed just over da Silva’s head. He landed a couple more rear straights. Da Silva threw a spinning backfist Saki blocked. Henrique threw a head kick and Saki momentarily put his hands on his hips in exhaustion. Da Silva pressed forward and landed knees in the clinch. Saki had his back to the fence with da Silva teeing off when he landed a huge right-left combo that put da Silva down! No need for follow-up- that was it! Walk-away KO for Gokhan Saki!
With an MMA record of 1-1, Saki has somehow managed to make himself someone to watch out for in the very thin light heavyweight division. Saki said people told him he is crazy for taking his first UFC fight after a two and a half year break. He said this is his house- he is back in the Octagon! He said in kickboxing he fights heavy guys. He said the clinching is something that he is not used to coming most recently from Glory rules, and he is happy it was four minutes. He said the feeling is back, and there is no surprise any more. He said he isn’t used to the wrestling or grappling, but he trained hard for the last three to four months. He said he is going to train much harder in the future, which is a good idea, as he is still breathing hard. Overeem smiled in the crowd at a fellow kickboxer’s debut success.
Official result: Gokhan Saki def. Henrique da Silva via knockout (left hook) at 4:45 of round one
For complete Fight Night 117 results, including play-by-play, click here