Dubai: Dubai-based, Dutch MMA fighter Gokhan Saki delivered on his promise to destroy Brazil’s Henrique da Silva on his UFC debut at Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo on Friday night with an explosive first-round knockout.
Known as ‘The Turkish Tyson’, a nod to his native roots, the 33-year-old Saki had his more experienced opponent in trouble right from the opening bell of their three-round marquee fight at UFC Fight Night 117, landing several vicious combinations.
There were no signs of ring-rustiness as Saki, who was returning to competitive action after an absence of more than two-years, did not relent throwing deadly elbows and massive leg-kicks on an unsuspecting da Silva.
The fight ended at 4:45 minutes into the first round when the Dubai fighter, who was showing fleeting signs of fatigue as a result of the sheer volume of punches that he had unleased on the Brazilian, landed a left-hand power shot that dropped da Silva to the canvass.
Saki, who landed 38 of the 60 strikes he threw, pocketed $200,000 and bags of respect from fans at the venue and hundreds other watching around the world.
He clearly has announced his arrival in the light-heavyweight division, which features leading names such as Daniel Cormier (1902), Alexander Gustafsson (1804) and Gliver Teixeira (26-6).
Saki, who trains out of Tam Khan’s gym in Dubai Media City and is the first fighter from the UAE to compete in the UFC, lost his only MMA fight on debut in 2004 when he was beaten by James Ziki.
In his post-fight interview Saki said tht the ‘feeling was back’, and that there is no surprise any more.
Despite having trained hard for the last four months, the Dubai fighter promised to train even harder in the future.
In the crown was fellow-Dutch fighter Alistair Overeem, who is also a kick-boxer and MMA fighter, and has previously defeated Saki in a kick-boxing contest.
UFC Fight Night 117
Gokhan Saki (Holland) defeated Henrique da Silva (Brazil) via knockout (punch) — Round 1, 4:45 mins.