UFC Fight Night Saitama Recap

On Friday night, the UFC paid a visit to the land of the rising sun when Saitama, Japan hosted Ovince Saint-Preux vs Yushin Okami. OSP was originally supposed to get a rematch with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, but a knee injury caused the need for a replacement opponent. Luckily, Yushin Okami was ready and willing to come back to the UFC to fight in his home country. Kind of a tall order taking on the #6 Light Heavyweight in the world on short notice, but neither OSP or Okami seemed to mind.

Now, for a little bit of history: before tonight, there were exactly 4 fights finished by Von Flue choke in the UFC. Out of those 4, Ovince Saint-Preux is responsible for TWO of them. It’s his best move, and also how he won his last fight. Knowing that the last thing you want to do is put your head in his hands so he can have his way with you, Yushin Okami’s gameplan seemed to be….”let’s do exactly that”?

Uhhhh, what? That’s it? You make your return to the UFC in your home country, no less, and you allow it to be that easy for your opponent? I’m not even sure OSP BURNED CALORIES in this fight. This was one of the easiest submission wins in a long time. It was effortless. Okami probably won’t stick around, and OSP will look for a better opponent. This did nothing for the division except give 3 out of 5 Von Flue chokes to OSP, and cause people to change the name to the “Saint-Preux” choke. OSP is a beast, we know that. He has also teetered outside the top 5 for a while, and has issues with better opponents. We know THAT. I kind of want to see a rematch with him and Volkan Oezdimir now.

Anyway, the fight that had an actual competition in it, and DID mean something for a division is Claudia Gadelha vs Jessica Andrade. THIS was the fight to watch, not that “let me cradle my neck in his arms until I pass out” nonsense. Two of the toughest fighters in that division were bound to put on a show, and boy did they.

Andrade is going to have a strength advantage with whoever she faces in the division. Gadelha has only lost to the champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk (yim-jay-jik). The #1 and #4 strawweights (who happen to be the insanely tough) met to decide a title eliminator, and they sure as hell weren’t going to waste the opportunity. Blood and sweat was the name of this fight. Round 1 saw Gadelha landing some DAMN heavy shots to the dome of Andrade, and Andrade did not give one solitary fuck. She kept walking forward like a crazy person because her chin is made of steel and the crushed dreams of her opponents. I thought Gadelha had it for a second when she locked in a pretty tight guillotine, but Andrade said hell naw.

After slapping the mma gods in the face again, Andrade turned up the heat, and proceeded to land takedowns and punches like there was no tomorrow. Gadelha just could not keep up with Andrade’s strength or ferocity, and got beaten pretty heavily. I was pretty impressed with Andrade landing shots to the body, as well, which likely played a factor in the slowing of Gadelha. Now we need to see her get a championship fight, because mini-hulk need smash.

Elsewhere on the card, we saw Dong Hyun Kim taking on Takanori Gomi in the welterweight division. Kim is still a young cat with plenty of youth and vigor on his side. Gomi has…a LOT of experience. He’s also 10 years older than Kim and is on a 4 fight LOSING streak. He’s been on his way out the door, and it’s probably been slammed in his face after this fight (much like Dong Hyun Kim’s fist!).

I really don’t like to see legends like Gomi stick around longer than they need to. It’s not fun watching people you’ve known for a decade getting smashed over and over.

Hey, speaking of getting smashed over and over: tell me, Gokhan Saki, how do you feel about Enrique Da Silva’s face?

Oh, so you don’t like it? Are you sure?

I had no idea who Gokhan Saki was before this. I sure as hell know now. Looking forward to seeing him again.

Earlier on the card, Jussier Formiga took on Ulka Sasaki in the flyweight division. What was interesting about the fight is Sasaki has had ELEVEN wins by rear naked choke. He’s never been finished by it. It seems to be his favorite finish. Well, don’t tell that to a tiny Brazilian named Jussier Formiga, who doesn’t give a shit how good you think your ground game is.

Formiga is finding it hard to gain traction in the rankings. Seems to have no trouble with lesser opponents, but loses to the top 5 every time. Lot of guys like that, though. If you don’t have that extra step to break into the top spots, it’s hard to get noticed. Maybe give him a rematch with John Dodson, or even Joseph Benavidez.

Lot of interesting fights in this one. I didn’t even get into Teruto Ishihara working through THREE low blows to get a decision win, but maybe you should just tune in so you don’t miss the action next time.

Saturday night has a bevy of former UFC fighters on Spike TV for Bellator 183. If you ain’t busy (or your team sucks), head over to Spike and see what happens. The next UFC event is UFC 216, which will have a LOT of good shit on it. Look for that preview in the coming weeks. See ya!


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