UFC Fight Night 117: Ovince Saint Preux vs Yushin Okami

Date: Saturday 23rd September (3am UK).

Location: Saitama, Japan

Venue: Saitama Super Arena

Ovince Saint Preux vs Yushin Okami

The UFC heads back to Japan but has suffered again with a late drop-out. This time, Mauricio Rua has been hit by the injury bug, depriving him of seeking vengeance in a rematch against Ovince Saint Preux (OSP). Fortunately for OSP, he keeps his slot in the main event thanks to Yushin Okami.

The Japanese legend steps in at late notice to save the card, pouncing on the opportunity to return to the UFC and fight in front of his home fans. After he got released from the UFC after nearly eight years of fighting at the top of the middleweight division, the veteran has fought in various promotions with mixed results. However, he has won his last four fights and combining his form with his vast experience and the buzz of fighting in Japan makes him an incredibly dangerous opponent for OSP, even though he is fighting in a larger weight class. The home fans must be very grateful the UFC have replaced one legend with one of their own.

OSP steps back into the cage after a spectacular Von Flue choke, disposing Marcos Rogério de Lima to regain some confidence after suffering three straight losses. The powerhouse is not only dangerous on the mat, but possesses ferocious striking power illustrated by finishing half of his wins via knock-out; he will wish to add another one to his record here whilst avoiding the veteran’s skills as a black belt in Judo.

See below for a statistical breakdown:

OSP v Okami.jpg

Cláudia Gadelha vs Jéssica Andrade

Two of the very best female strawweights in the world fly over to Japan in desperate hope of getting another shot at Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s belt. Both have succumbed to the imperious champion (Gadelha twice and Andrade once), but to have any chance they will have to get past each other first.

This is a fascinating style match-up as they possess similar strengths which have aided them in all their wins. They are two of the best grapplers in the division and are extremely powerful for their weight, which has helped them leverage their wrestling to smother opponents to the ground and suffocate them into submission.

Gadelha is the more skilful fighter on the mat as an elite-level Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner and Andrade is the stronger fighter with more threatening striking displayed in blitz attacks, but both will back themselves going toe-to-toe in either area.

See below for a statistical breakdown:

Gadelha v Andrade.jpg

Takanori Gomi vs Dong Hyun Kim

Japanese fans are treated to seeing another legend of their own in Takanori Gomi. After making his professional debut all the way back in 1998, Gomi has seen and done it all, making a name for himself in the days of Pride where he was extremely successful. Since 2010, he has been fighting for the UFC but as he has been reaching the end of his career, ‘The Fireball Kid’ has struggled to keep up with the evolution and surge in standard of the modern fighter, which has dented his record. With four straight losses, he is as motivated as ever to come back with a win for himself and the home fans.

Dong Hyun Kim (not to be confused with the welterweight) makes the short trip from South Korea to spoil the party. Vastly experienced for his age, he hopes to mark his fourth UFC fight with a win against this legend with neither fighter willing to take a backward step, creating an all-out scrap.

See below for a statistical breakdown:

Gomi v Kim.jpg

Gökhan Saki vs Henrique da Silva

Gökhan Saki - a legend of Kickboxing – has arrived to the UFC and thankfully he has been matched with a fighter who prefers to stand and strike as well.

Familiar with fighting in Saitama, Saki has fought all over the world as a kickboxer and is a thorough fan-favourite who amassed an astounding record of 83-12. He is now trying his hand at MMA again after his first effort didn’t go to plan, suffering a knock out in his sole MMA fight all the way back in 2004.

His striking abilities are undeniable but his grappling is a huge question mark. The contest is rarely fair when fighters with minimal grappling experience come up against an opponent who knows how to wrestle so that’s why the fans are so excited to see him matched with this Brazilian in the hope that this match-up will create fireworks in the octagon.

The big worry for Saki is that although da Silva is a fellow striker at heart, he is fighting for his job with three straight losses and his desperation for a win could see him initiate the takedowns if he becomes overwhelmed with the champion striker.

As Saki has only had one MMA fight, we have compared how his Kickboxing fights have finished with da Silva’s MMA finishes.

See below for the breakdown:  

Saki v da Silva.jpg

Teruto Ishihara vs Rolando Dy

Two young guns battle it out with the pressure of not winning their last two fights. These are two very quick and exciting fighters but they may have to err on the side of caution as the repercussions of an extended losing streak in the featherweight division could be fatal to their UFC career.

Fans outside of Japan and the Philippines may not be too familiar with these names but we have a feeling they will be after this fight, presuming they showcase their skills and natural aggression.

See below for a statistical breakdown:

Ishihara v Dy.jpg

Mizuto Hirota vs Charles Rosa

Mizuto Hirota welcomes the American to his home turf in another fight featuring fighters looking to bounce back after a loss. Hirota suffered a decision loss to the rising star Alexander Volkanovski and although Rosa received a ‘Fight of the Night’ bonus for his last fight, he suffered a knock-out to Shane Burgos.

So these two men will approach this bout carefully, especially considering the contrast in skill-sets. Hirota is a nasty striker with a background in Boxing whereas Rosa prefers to inflict his damage on the ground as a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which creates a classic striker vs grappler match-up to kick off the main card.

See below for a statistical breakdown:

Hirota v Rosa.jpg