The UFC returns to Japan after a fairly long hiatus from the country which was once considered to be the MMA capital of the world.
Although the card may not appeal as much to the casual fan, it does boast a few decent matchups, and when it comes to MMA, you know the hardcore MMA community shall tune in no matter what!
Ovince Saint Preux headlines the show that goes down at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan against veteran MMA fighter Yushin Okami. On the other hand, the co-headliner is being touted as a bona fide fight of the night contender, as Claudia Gadelha faces the ever-dangerous Jessica Andrade.
Furthermore, the arguably the biggest fight of the night, or rather Octagon debut of the year, takes place prior to the headliners, as legendary kickboxer Gokhan Saki tries to make a statement against Henrique da Silva in his first venture inside the Octagon. So, without further ado, here are the complete predictions for UFC Fight Night 117—
Indian fans can watch UFC Fight Night 117: Saint Preux vs Okami on September 23rd, Saturday, 7:30 am, only on Sony ESPN & Sony ESPN HD.
# Main Card
#1 Ovince Saint Preux vs Yushin Okami
To say that Ovince Saint Preux has a considerable size advantage over Yushin Okami would, in and of itself, be a severe understatement.
This is a huge mismatch and the UFC have truly dropped the ball here by having Okami move up a weight class and take on the hulking Saint Preux; with the latter’s original opponent—Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua—pulling out due to injury.
I fully expect Ovince to truck through Okami in brutal, devastating fashion; knocking Okami out cold with strikes in Round 1.
Prediction: Ovince Saint Preux def. Yushin Okami via KO
#2 Claudia Gadelha vs Jessica Andrade
Claudia Gadelha is most definitely the second best fighter in the UFC’s highly-competitive Women’s 115-pound weight class.
Gadelha could very well earn a third shot at Joanna Jedrzejczyk should she survive the storm of body shots that her UFC Japan foe Jessica Andrade brings to the table.
If Gadelha survives the initial onslaught, from the feisty but undersized Andrade, one can expect the former title-challenger to cruise her way to a clear-cut decision on the judges’ scorecards.
Prediction: Claudia Gadelha def. Jessica Andrade via Decision
#3 Takamori Gomi vs Dong Hyun Kim
Takanori Gomi is on the last legs of his legendary career here, and it’s in fact been that way for quite some time now.
However, Dong Hyun Kim—the Lightweight not to be confused with ‘The Stun Gun’ Dong Hyun Kim (UFC Welterweight)—is not a world-beater either.
I can’t for the life of me trust Gomi nowadays, but am going to side with the Fireball Kid here just for old times’ sake.
Prediction: Takanori Gomi def. Dong Hyun Kim via Decision
#4 Gokhan Saki vs Henrique da Silva
Gokhan Saki is one of the greatest kickboxers of this generation and come fight night, the difference between Saki and Henrique’s striking will most definitely be a significant one.
Although Saki’s ground game is a huge question mark, should his Takedown defense hold up, the man will light up Henrique like a Christmas tree en route a highlight reel KO finish.
Prediction: Gokhan Saki def. Henrique da Silva via KO
#5 Teruto Ishihara vs Rolando Dy
Teruto Ishihara is an exciting KO artist who either wins in spectacular fashion or loses an uninspiring decision.
I expect the former to hold true in this matchup, as Rolando’s striking does have a few defensive lapses. Watch out for a profanity-laced post-fight interview from Mr. Ishihara!
Prediction: Teruto Ishihara def. Rolando Dy via KO
#6 Jussier Formiga vs Ulka Sasaki
Jussier Formiga is no slouch by any means, but Ulka Sasaki is as game as they come, and this match does have the potential to be a barnburner.
With both Formiga and Sasaki being well-rounded fighters, I see the standup and mat exchanges being technical, with Formiga edging the fight on the judges’ scorecards due to his superior understanding of capitalizing on scrambles.
Prediction: Jussier Formiga def. Ulka Sasaki via Decision
Preliminary Card (FXX)
#1 Keita Nakamura vs Alex Morono
Keita Nakamura is an extremely crafty fighter, and his veteran savvy could very well come into use in this matchup as he outworks a similarly tricky customer in Alex Morono.
I see Nakamura having the edge in grappling, while the striking differential between the two remains somewhat negligible. Naka takes this!
Prediction: Keita Nakamura def. Alex Morono via Decision
#2 Syuri Kondo vs Chan-Mi Jeon
Should everything go as planned—barring a bout of food poisoning, the flu or something akin to that—Kondo has this one in the bag.
This is an interesting Women’s Strawweight bout, and while both fighters may be miles away from a title-shot, this fight does provide momentum to its winner; escalating her into the lower-tier of the UFC 115 pound weight class.
Prediction: Syuri Kondo def. Chan-Mi Jeon via Decision
#3 Shinsho Anzai vs Luke Jumeau
Shinsho Anzai’s previous fight was the last time UFC put up shop in Japan for Josh Barnett and Roy Nelson.
On paper, this is Jumeau’s fight to lose, and should he stay alert and careful on the ground, I think it’s a shut-out for the Kiwi on the feet. Jumeau likely edges Anzai, with the fight going the distance.
Prediction: Luke Jumeau def. Shinsho Anzai via Decision
Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)
#1 Daichi Abe vs Hyun Gyu Lim
Hyun Gyu Lim is a wild fighter, and the man almost finished top Welterweight contender Neil Magny, but gassed out, following which Magny took advantage and stopped him.
However, I don’t see Abe being abl(e) (sic) enough to stop Lim’s relentless maniacal aggression on the feet.
Prediction: Hyun Gyu Lim def. Daichi Abe via TKO