UFC Fight Night 117 medical suspensions: No tapping gets Yushin Okami 45 days

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Filed under: News, UFC

UFC veteran Yushin Okami didn’t appear to have much choice in the matter, but his lack of tap against Ovince Saint Preux brings a 45-day suspension.

The UFC has released medical suspensions stemming from UFC Fight Night 117 to Association of Boxing Commissions record keeper mixedmartialarts.com, which forwarded them to MMAjunkie.

UFC Fight Night 117 took place this past Saturday at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The event’s main card and prelims aired live on FXX.

According to the notes describing the medical suspensions, Okami’s (34-11 MMA, 13-6 UFC) term is “due to no tap on choke.” The Japanese fighter was put to sleep by Saint Preux (21-10 MMA, 9-5) in the first round with a Von Flue choke, the third such finish for Saint Preux.

All fighters on the card received a mandatory 7-day suspension, though several were given longer terms for more serious injuries. Daichi Abe (6-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) and Hyun Gyu Lim (13-7-1 MMA, 3-4 UFC), who led off the card with a spirited three-round fight, both wound up with 180-day suspensions for various injuries.

The list of suspensions longer than the mandatory minimum include:

  • Yushin Okami: Suspended 45 days due to no tap on choke, leaving him unconscious, with 30 days no contact.
  • Jessica Andrade: Suspended 30 days with 21 days no contact for forehead laceration.
  • Claudia Gadelha: Suspended 45 days for right eyebrow laceration; head CT scan was negative.
  • Takanori Gomi: Suspended 45 days with 30 days no contact for TKO.
  • Henrique da Silva: Suspended 60 days with 45 days no contact for knockout.
  • Teruto Ishihara: Suspended 30 days with 21 days no contact.
  • Rolando Dy: Suspended 45 days with 30 days no contact.
  • Keita Nakamura: Suspended 45 days with 30 days no contact; head CT scan was negative.
  • Alex Morono: Suspended 180 days or until cleared by X-ray for right hand, and suspended 30 days with 21 days no contact for right eyebrow laceration.
  • Chan-Mi Jeon: Suspended 45 days with 30 days no contact.
  • Shinsho Anzai: Suspended 30 days with 21 days no contact.
  • Luke Juneau: Suspended 45 days with 30 days no contact for right eyebrow laceration.
  • Daichi Abe: Suspended 180 days or until cleared by maxillofacial surgeon, and suspended minimum 45 days with 30 days no contact.
  • Hyun Gyu Lim: Suspended 180 days or until cleared by ophthalmologist, and suspended 45 days with 30 days no contact for nasal laceration.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 117, visit the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Keita Nakamura 'felt a little conservative' at UFC-Japan, wasn't sure he'd get the win

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SAITAMA, Japan –  Keita Nakamura engaged in a slugfest with Alex Morono and after three rounds came away with a split-decision win at UFC Fight Night 117.

The welterweight bout closed out the preliminary card of the event, which took place at Saitama Super Arena in Japan and aired on FXX.

It was a bloody, back-and-forth affair between Nakamura (33-8-2 MMA, 3-5 UFC) and Morono (13-5 MMA, 2-2 UFC). But even so, Nakamura felt he could’ve done more.

“I was not going forward enough,” he told MMAjunkie through an interpreter, “and I felt a little conservative.”

Still, he got the win in front of his home fans, despite a lack of confidence that it would go his way,

Watch the video above to hear more from Nakamura.

And for complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 117, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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UFC Fight Night 117 Athlete Outfitting pay: Program payout total passes $14.5 million

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SAITAMA – Fighters from Friday’s UFC Fight Night 117 event took home UFC Athlete Outfitting pay, a program that launched after the UFC’s deal with Reebok, totaling $107,500.

UFC Fight Night 117 took place at Saitama Super Arena in Japan. The card aired on FXX.

Leading the way were the two event headliners. Ovince Saint Preux (20-10 MMA, 8-5 UFC) and Yushin Okami (34-11 MMA, 13-6 UFC) each received $15,000 for their main event bout, which Saint Preux won by first-round submission.

The full UFC Fight Night 117 UFC Athlete Outfitting payouts included:

Ovince Saint Preux: $15,000
def. Yushin Okami: $15,000

Jessica Andrade: $10,000
def. Claudia Gadelha: $5,000

”Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim: $2,500
def. Takanori Gomi: $10,000

Gokhan Saki: $2,500
def. Henrique da Silva: $5,000

Teruto Ishihara: $5,000
def. Ronaldo Dy: $2,500

Jussier Formiga: $5,000
def. Ulka Sasaki: $5,000

Keita Nakamura: $5,000
def. Alex Morono: $2,500

Syuri Kondo: $2,500
def. Chan-Mi Jeon: $2,500

Shinsho Anzai: $2,500
def. Luke Jumeau: $2,500

Daichi Abe: $2,500
def. Hyun Gyu Lim: $5,000

Under the UFC Athlete Outfitting program’s payout tiers, which appropriate the money generated by Reebok’s multi-year sponsorship with the UFC, fighters are paid based on their total number of UFC bouts, as well as Zuffa-era WEC fights (January 2007 and later) and Zuffa-era Strikeforce bouts (April 2011 and later). Fighters with 1-5 bouts receive $2,500 per appearance; 6-10 bouts get $5,000; 11-15 bouts earn $10,000; 16-20 bouts pocket $15,000; and 21 bouts and more get $20,000. Additionally, champions earn $40,000 while title challengers get $30,000.

In addition to experience-based pay, UFC fighters will receive in perpetuity royalty payments amounting to 20-30 percent of any UFC merchandise sold that bears their likeness, according to officials.

Full 2017 UFC-Reebok sponsorship payouts:

Year-to-date total: $4,250,000
2016 total: $7,138,000
2015 total: $3,185,000
Program-to-date total: $14,573,000

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 117, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Fight Tracks: The walkout songs of UFC Fight Night 117, where Limp Bizkit still was a thing

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Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC

While it take intense training, world-class skills and maybe even a bit of luck to register a UFC win, picking the right song to accompany you to the cage is a key talent, as well.

See what the fighters of Friday’s UFC Fight Night 117 in Saitama, Japan, went with as their backing tracks.

* * * *

Ovince Saint Preux def. Yushin Okami via technical submission (Von Flue choke) – Round 1, 1:50

Ovince Saint Preux: “Push It” by Rick Ross

Yushin Okami: “Rising” by Yoshida Brothers

Jessica Andrade def. Claudia Gadelha via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-26, 30-27)

Claudia Gadelha: “Best is Yet to Come” by LuvBug

Jessica Andrade: “Cha-La Head Cha-La” (“Dragonball Z” theme) by Hironobu Kageyama

“Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim def. Takanori Gomi via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:30

”Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim: “You & Me (Flume Remix)” by Disclosure

Takanori Gomi: “Scream the Life” by DJ Baku feat. Kyono

Gokhan Saki def. Henrique da Silva via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 4:45

Gokhan Saki: “Ambitionz az a Ridah” by Tupac

Henrique da Silva: “Satisfacao Sou Franktain” by Marley Stazzy

Teruto Ishihara def. Rolando Dy via via unanimous decision (28-27, 28-27, 29-27)

Teruto Ishihara: “Lion No Ko (Yashabo Version)” by Spinna B-ill

Ronaldo Dy: “Tibay” by Quest

Jussier Formiga def. Ulka Sasaki via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 4:30

Jussier Formiga: “O Hino” by Fernandinho

Ulka Sasaki: “Messa da Requiem: II Dies Irae” by Weiner Singverein, Berlin Philharmonic & Herbert Von Karajan

Keita Nakamura def. Alex Morono via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Keita Nakamura: “Monster” by Osuman feat. Rino Latina II

Alex Morono: “War of the Gods” by Amon Amarth

Syuri Kondo def. Chan-Mi Jeon via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 30-27)

Syuri Kondo: “Theme of Sakura” (“Street Fighter IV” soundtrack) by Hideyuki Fukasawa

Chan-Mi Jeon: “Victory” by Yolanda Adams

Shinsho Anzai def. Luke Jumeau via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Shinsho Anzai: “Rollin’” by Limp Bizkit

Luke Jumeau: “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio

Daichi Abe def. Hyun Gyu Lim via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Daichi Abe: “He’s a Pirate” by Klaus Badelt

Hyun Gyu Lim: “Search” by Hangzoo & Young B

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 117, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 117 results: Keita Nakamura takes split from Alex Morono in bloody fight

Both fighters spilled blood, but it was Keita Nakamura who made his home fans happy in Japan.

Nakamura (33-8-2 MMA, 3-5 UFC) took a split decision from Alex Morono (13-5 MMA, 2-2 UFC), taking a pair of 29-28 scores to a dissenting 29-28 for Morono, in yet another back-and-forth slugfest on the prelims in Japan.

The welterweight bout closed out the preliminary card of today’s UFC Fight Night 117 event at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, near Tokyo. It aired on FXX ahead of the main card on the same channel.

Both fighters got some solid work done in the first round. Nakamura’s heavy left hand bloodied up Morono around his right eye. And Morono put enough pressure on his Japanese opponent to keep him backing away from the offense. Morono seemed to do more work, but it was Nakamura who landed the bigger and better strikes.

The second round was more of the same. Morono was able to sneak through a few jabs, along with some low kicks. With about 90 seconds left, Morono nearly landed big, but moments later found himself eating some kicks to the body from Nakamura. Morono led the round with the hands, but Nakamura led the round with the feet, making for another tough one to score.

A minute into the third, Nakamura got a crucial takedown and passed to side control But after only 30 seconds, Morono got back to his feet without taking any damage on the ground. Midway through, Morono landed a right hand that opened a cut on Nakamura’s left side. The gash was deep, and the bleeding was heavy. Nakamura landed another takedown, but again Morono was right back up after briefly threatening with a guillotine choke. The two slugged it out with punches and kicks down the stretch, including a late body kick from Morono. Both fighters had blood flowing nicely at the final horn.

Nakamura got back in the win column after a loss nearly a year ago. Morono lost for the second straight time after a seven-fight winning streak that included victories in his first two UFC fights.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 117 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 117, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s Ken Hathaway contributed to this report on site in Japan.)

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

10 reasons to watch UFC Fight Night 117, including a time to shine for a few unheralded fighters

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

The UFC returns to Japan’s famed Saitama Super Arena on Friday for UFC Fight Night 117. In the headlining bout, Ovince Saint Preux faces former middleweight title challenger Yushin Okami in a light heavyweight contest. Okami steps in on short notice to replace the injured Mauricio Rua. The fight marks Okami’s first UFC bout in more than four years.

In the co-main event, two of the best the women’s strawweight division has to offer, Claudia Gadelha and Jessica Andrade, meet in a bout that’s likely to end with the victor asking for another shot at the title.

Outside of the top two fights, this card is lacking in big-name talent, That’s not necessarily a bad thing. In a situation like this, lesser-known fighters have the opportunity to kick open the door and ingratiate themselves with fight fans through memorable performances.

UFC Fight Night 117 takes place at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, near Tokyo. The card airs on FXX following a single early prelim on UFC Fight Pass.

Here are 10 reasons to watch the event.

1. He’s gotta have it

Saint Preux is better than his record suggests. Sure, he’s lost five of his 13 fights, but those defeats have come at the hands of some of the best fighters in the light heavyweight division. That’s the book on Saint Preux: He’s always competitive, but not quite good enough to break into the top five. At 34, his window to make that jump is beginning to close.

With a submission win in his most recent outing, Saint Preux (20-10 MMA, 8-5), No. 10 in the most recent USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA light heavyweight rankings, has some momentum coming into this fight. A win over Okami (34-10 MMA, 13-5 UFC), who has never competed above middleweight and whose five most recent fights took place at welterweight, won’t boost Saint Preux in the rankings, but it will help build his confidence. That might be what Saint Preux needs more than anything at this point in his career.

With the circumstances of this fight being what they are, this is a 100 percent must-win fight for Saint Preux.

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2. Lookin’ for a title fight

Gadelha has two losses on her record. Both of those defeats came to current strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, the most recent being a July 2016 “Fight of the Night” bonus-winning decision loss. Since then, Gadelha, currently ranked No. 2 in the division, has two victories – her most recent win being a June submission victory over former title challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz.

Gadelha (15-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) faces another former title challenger in Japan, No. 3-ranked Jessica Andrade (16-6 MMA, 7-4 UFC), who enters this fight with a loss to Jedrzejczyk in her most recent outing.

With Jedrzejczyk booked to face No. 6-ranked Rose Namajunas in November, this fight could very well determine the next title challenger. That is something of which Gadelha is certainly aware.

“I think that, getting past Jessica, I won’t have anything else to prove to anyone,” Gadelha told MMAjunkie. “I had two close fights with Joanna. If I don’t deserve that title shot, I don’t think anyone else does.”

3. Swan song?

When a UFC fighter loses three straight, there’s a better than average chance he or she won’t get the opportunity to fight again for the promotion. That’s especially true if that fighter competes in a stacked division like lightweight. Sometimes there are exceptions to that rule. MMA legend Takanori Gomi happens to be one of those exceptions. Gomi (35-13 MMA, 4-8 UFC) looks to end a four-fight skid against ”Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim (14-8-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC), who enters this fight with a decision victory in his most recent contest.

Gomi’s last win came in 2014, when he earned a decision win over Isaac Vallie-Flagg. Gomi followed that fight with four straight first-round stoppage defeats.

With one no contest on his record, Gomi is fighting in his 50th pro bout. With this contest taking place in Gomi’s home country of Japan, it wouldn’t be a surprise if this fight is the last of his storied career.

4. A former kickboxing champ debuts

The UFC raised some eyebrows earlier this year when it announced the signing of former GLORY kickboxing light heavyweight champion Gokhan Saki. “The Rebel” has one MMA fight on his record, a 2004 TKO loss. His kickboxing record is an impressive 83-16, with 59 knockout wins.

Saki, known as the “Turkish Tyson,” has a fast and powerful striking game that should give him an advantage on the feet against most of the fighters in the somewhat shallow light heavyweight division. What we don’t know is anything about Saki’s takedown defense or ground game. A secondary worry about Saki is ring rust. He hasn’t fought since April 2015.

Luckily for Saki (0-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), he faces Henrique da Silva (12-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC), who has attempted a total of three takedowns in his five UFC fights. In other words, he prefers to compete on the feet.

Saki is a much more technical striker than the brawling da Silva. All in all, this is a fight Saki should win.

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5. Shore up some weaknesses

MMA fans and media sometimes get caught up in the excitement of the moment. So, when Teruto Ishihara scored two memorable knockout victories in 2016 and showed off his “colorful” personality whenever a camera and microphone were focused on him, many saw Ishihara as a featherweight star in the making. After losing his past two fights by wide margins, Ishihara has some ground to make up.

Ishihara was exposed a bit in those two losses. Artem Lobov, in his upset win over Ishihara, showed that when pressured, Ishihara’s striking game can be neutralized. Gray Maynard then revealed Ishihara’s non-existent takedown defense when he went 11-for-11 in takedowns in his decision victory over Ishihara.

Ishihara has a good camp around him, and there’s no doubt they’ve worked on these weaknesses. Now it’s Ishihara’s (9-4-2 MMA, 2-2-1 UFC) time to show he’s not a one-trick fighter. Ishihara faces Rolando Dy (8-5-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) in Japan. Dy’s most recent fight ended in a doctor-stoppage loss.

6. Looking for a win outside of Boston

Charles Rosa was a perfect 9-0 when he joined UFC in 2014. Three years into his run with the promotion, Rosa’s record is now 11-3. Two of Rosa’s losses came outside America and all have taken place outside of his native Boston. However, Rosa hasn’t exactly disappointed in his three defeats. He earned “Fight of the Night” bonuses in each of those setbacks.

Rosa is an aggressive, fast-paced fighter, with an excellent ground game. He also can also fight at distance, where he is effective in mixing up his kicks. What really stands out about Rosa is his tenacity and toughness, two intangibles which make him a rough out for anyone in the featherweight division.

Rosa (11-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC) attempts to earn his first win and first performance bonus outside America when he meets Mizuto Hirota (18-8-2 MMA, 1-3-1 UFC), who badly missed weight.

7. Time to dust off that black belt

Former Legacy FC welterweight champion Alex Morono saw his seven-fight unbeaten streak come to an end in February when he was knocked out by Niko Price. Morono (13-4 MMA, 2-1 UFC) looks to get back on the winning track against Keita Nakamura (32-8-2 MMA, 2-5 UFC), who also enters this fight following a loss. Nakamura dropped a decision to Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos in October.

Morono is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but we haven’t seen much of his grappling game during his UFC tenure. Instead, Morono tends to use his somewhat reckless striking to earn his victories. That could change against Nakamura. Nakamura struggles on his feet, but he’s very effective at taking the back and locking on a rear naked choke. Nakamura has 15 career wins via rear-naked choke; included in that number are each of his last four victories.

8. Staying alive

Jussier Formiga has been slugging it out in the UFC since the earliest days of the flyweight division. Five years into his run with the promotion, Formiga has been unable to get a shot at the title. He’s been close – each of the four fighters who have beaten him have moved directly into a title fight – but he’s been unable to get over that hump. Now ranked No. 7 in the division, Formiga is at risk of being tagged with the dreaded gatekeeper status.

Formiga is excellent on the ground. In fact, he’s never lost a UFC fight where he’s scored a takedown. On the flipside, he has zero takedowns in his four UFC defeats. The good thing for Formiga (19-5 MMA, 5-4 UFC) is his opponent, the unranked Ulka Sasaki (20-4-2 MMA, 3-3 UFC), has weak takedown defense. The bad thing is Sasaki has a decided height and reach advantage over Formiga, which could make getting the fight to the mat difficult.

9. A ‘Queen’ joins the UFC

Don’t expect UFC newcomer Syuri Kondo to be awed by the octagon. Kondo has plenty of combat sports experience. She began her career as a pro wrestler in 2008. In 2009 Kondo added kickboxing to her resume. She made her MMA debut in 2016.

Now 5-0 in MMA, Kondo won the Queen of Pancrase strawweight title in her most recent bout. In that fight, Kondo earned a five-round unanimous decision win over Kinberly Tanaka Novaes. Kondo was excellent in the clinch against Novaes, landing numerous knees to the head, body and legs of Novaes.

Kondo (5-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) meets Chanmi Jeon in Japan. Jeon’s most recent fight was a one-sided unanimous-decision loss to J.J. Aldrich in June. Jeon (5-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) took the fight on short notice and came in two pounds overweight. It’s going to be interesting to see what Jeon brings to the octagon with a full camp. She was very active on her feet against Aldrich, attempting 252 total strikes.

10. Oh, and there’s a ‘King’ as well

If you’re looking for a sleeper pick for “Fight of the Night,” the welterweight matchup between Hyun Gyu Lim and Daichi Abe is your fight. Despite a 1-3 record dating back to 2014, Lim, a huge 170-pounder, is always game for a brawl. Abe is a smaller fighter with less experience, but he’s no neophyte. In his most recent bout, Abe knocked out former WEC welterweight title contender Hiromitsu Miura. The win, Abe’s fourth knockout victory, earned him the King of Pancrase welterweight title.

Abe (5-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is a powerful, aggressive striker with fast hands. When he does hurt his opponent, he has excellent finishing instincts. Abe’s kickboxing background will come in handy against Lim (13-6-1 MMA, 3-3 UFC), who has a five-inch reach advantage over the UFC newcomer. Lim is on a two-fight losing streak.

On paper, this looks like an excellent opening fight, one that could very well end early and violently.

For more on UFC Fight Night 117, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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In depth main-card breakdown: 'UFC Fight Night 117: Saint Preux vs. Okami'

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

MMAjunkie Radio cohost and MMAjunkie contributor Dan Tom provides an in-depth breakdown of all of UFC Fight Night 117’s main-card bouts.

UFC Fight Night 117 takes place Friday at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The main card airs on FXX following prelims on FXX and UFC Fight Pass.

* * * *

Ovince Saint Preux (20-10 MMA, 8-5 UFC)

Ovince Saint Preux

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’3″ Age: 34 Weight: 205 lbs. Reach: 80″
  • Last fight: Submission win over Marcos de Lima (April 22, 2017)
  • Camp: Knoxville MMA (Tennessee)
  • Stance/striking style: Southpaw / Kickboxing
  • Risk management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+ Blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu
+ 10 KO victories
+ 4 submission wins
+ 12 first-round finishes
+ KO power
+ Accurate left hand
^ Coming forward of off counter
+ Hard left kicks
+ Improved footwork
+ Underrated wrestling ability
^ Reactive shots and get-up urgency
+ Aggressive transitional grappler
^ Opportunistic strikes and submissions
– Traditionally struggles against the fence

Yushin Okami (32-8 MMA, 13-5 UFC)

Yushin Okami

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’2″ Age: 36 Weight: 205 lbs. Reach: 72″
  • Last fight: Decision win over Andre Lobato (July 29, 2017)
  • Camp: Wajutsu Keishukai (Japan)
  • Stance/striking style: Southpaw / Boxing
  • Risk management: Good

Supplemental info:
+ Black belt in judo
+ 13 KO victories
+ 4 submission wins
+ 6 first-round finishes
+ Accurate jab
^ Checking or coming forward
+ Strong inside the clinch
^ Favors takedowns from here
+ Solid top game
^ Pressures and passes well
+ Effective ground striker
^ Works well from mount
– Fighting on one week’s notice
+/- 1-3 against UFC southpaws

Summary:

The main event for UFC Fight Night 117 takes place in the light heavyweight division when Ovince Saint Preux meets Yushin Okami.

Originally slated to face Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (who was forced to withdraw from the bout due to injury), Saint Preux will instead welcome back former UFC middleweight title challenger Yushin Okami.

A longtime 185-pound contender who has recently been plying his trade at welterweight, Okami takes this fight on just one week’s notice, and he won’t likely have to cut much weight to make the 205-pound limit.

Starting off on the feet, we have the intricate pairing of two southpaws.

Despite a matchup between two lefties opening up more options on paper, the action tends to not play out as projected given that many southpaws predicate their game on facing opponents who are orthodox, the most common stances found in the gym. For this reason, the better striker does not always win out the battles.

Nevertheless, Saint Preux should be the man who carries the on-paper edge in striking exchanges.

Although one of the bigger bodies at light heavyweight, Saint Preux’s athleticism allows him to be one of the more fleet-of-foot movers in the division, staying light while seemingly maintaining the ability to explode.

Utilizing stance shifts, Saint Preux will deceptively change the striking range and angles, while he simultaneously unloads check-hooks or intercepting uppercuts to catch and counter oncoming opponents.

Saint Preux also does well when he decides to come forward, particularly when working behind his battering ram of a left Thai kick. But whether he is going forward or countering, the former collegiate football player will still need to respect what’s coming back at him.

A steady, measured southpaw striker, Okami makes it a point to own the centerline as he chips away with straight punches in succession. At the heart of the Japanese fighter’s arsenal is an active and accurate jab.

Not only can Okami come forward behind his jab, but he also does a good job of using it as a check, which quietly helps temper his opponent’s aggression. Considering that Saint Preux is not exactly known for his defense, I would not be surprised to see Okami find some success within the counter striking department.

Still, the same can be said the other way, as Okami’s lack of head movement could prove costly against Saint Preux, who will have the more dangerous offerings both coming forward and off the counter.

Subsequently, I see this fight being sorted out inside of the clinch.

Whether it be in victory or defeat, each man has had many of their matches decided within this space, making the clinch a key factor in this fight. Though Okami is the more technical clinch fighter on paper, the Japanese fighter’s lack of urgency becomes particularly apparent here, often giving away stanzas or stretches of the match over time.

Even if Okami hits his patent outside-trip takedowns, he will need to show an immediacy above and beyond his norm, as Saint Preux’s athleticism alone is enough to equalize the situation. In fact, counter-wrestling is one of Saint Preux’s stronger suits, as the former football player has a healthy sense of urgency to his get-up game.

Furthermore, Saint Preux has also improved his wrestling fundamentals, applying more of an immediacy to his over and under-hooks, which in-turn help protect his hips. If Saint Preux can thwart the clinch offense of Okami, then it will probably end up being a long night for the Japanese veteran.

Even though Okami is an excellent grappler from topside, his skills do not shine as brightly from his back, something I do not see changing in facing a larger foe. Not only is Saint Preux an aggressive and dangerous transitional threat when on top, but his technique has also been growing, and he is becoming much more positionally aware in his approach.

With the oddsmakers opening Saint Preux somewhere north of a 5-1 favorite, I have a hard time disagreeing with them given the matchup at hand.

Due to Saint Preux’s traditional struggles with pressure against the fence, Okami’s path to victory becomes clear considering that the Japanese fighter has geared his game toward corralling opposition here in recent years.

Should Saint Preux fail to get off by sticking and moving in space, then we could see stretches of this fight play out surprisingly slow and competitive. That said, I have to imagine that the size difference and short-notice intangibles will become apparent once these two tie up in the clinch.

A crucial position on paper, I believe Saint Preux’s skillset and size will dictate the terms inside of the clinch, which will in turn help him to find a finish either standing or on the floor. Ultimately, I see Saint Preux finding success in countering with his left hand, and eventually reversing failed grappling offense from Okami to earn a stoppage from top position.

Official pick: Saint Preux inside the distance

Official outcome: To be determined

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Japan's 11-bout UFC Fight Night 117 lineup finalized for FXX

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The fight card is set for the UFC’s return to Japan next week with UFC Fight Night 117.

The event airs Friday, Sept. 22, from Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, near Tokyo. It airs on FXX following an early prelim on UFC Fight Pass.

The card, which is the UFC’s ninth in Japan and fifth in Saitama in company history, features 11 bouts in all.

In the headliner, Ovince Saint Preux (20-10 MMA, 8-5 UFC), who’s No. 10 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA light-heavyweight rankings, looks to build off a recent Von Flue choke win over Marcos Rogerio de Lima Mauricio, when he rematches ex-champ Mauricio Rua (25-10 MMA, 9-8 UFC), who’s currently riding a three-fight winning streak.

Saint Preux won the duo’s first meeting via 34-second knockout at UFC Fight Night 56 in 2014.

In the co-headliner, No. 2-ranked women’s strawweight Claudia Gadelha (15-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC). who’s 2-0 since a loss to champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk in July 2016, takes on No. 3-ranked Jessica Andrade (16-6 MMA, 7-4 UFC), who was on a three-fight winning streak before a May title loss to Jedrzejczyk. The winner could be in prime position for another title shot.

Rounding out the main card are lightweights Takanori Gomi (35-13 MMA, 4-8 UFC) vs. ”Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim (14-8 MMA, 1-2 UFC), light heavyweights Gokhan Saki (0-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) vs. Henrique da Silva (12-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC), featherweights Rolando Dy (8-5 MMA, 0-1 UFC) vs. Teruto Ishihara (9-4-2 MMA, 2-2-1 UFC), and featherweights Mizuto Hirota (18-8-2 MMA, 1-3-1 UFC) vs. Charles Rosa (11-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC).

In the featured prelim, welterweight Alex Morono (13-3-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) puts a seven-fight winning streak on the line when he fights 14-year vet Keita Nakamura (32-8-2 MMA, 2-5 UFC)

The full UFC Fight Night 117 card includes:

MAIN CARD (FXX, 10 p.m. ET)

  • Mauricio Rua vs. Ovince Saint Preux
  • Jessica Andrade vs. Claudia Gadelha
  • Takanori Gomi vs. “Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim
  • Henrique da Silva vs. Gokhan Saki
  • Rolando Dy vs. Teruto Ishihara
  • Mizuto Hirota vs. Charles Rosa

PRELIMINARY CARD (FXX, 8 p.m. ET)

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 7:30 p.m. ET)

For more on UFC Fight Night 117, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Slew of bouts official for UFC Fight Night 117 in Japan

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The lineup for UFC Fight Night 117 in Japan is taking shape with a slew of new additions.

UFC Fight Night 117 takes place Sept. 22 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, near Tokyo. It’s expected to air on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

UFC officials recently added a handful of new matchups to the overseas card.

The biggest official addition is a previously reported fight between Claudia Gadelha (15-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC), who’s No. 2 in the MMA women’s strawweight rankings, and No. 3-ranked Jessica Andrade (16-6 MMA, 7-4 UFC).

Also on the card, welterweight Hyun Gyu Lim (13-6-1 MMA, 3-3 UFC), who’s in a must-win situation due to his current 1-3 skid, meets undefeated promotional newcomer and Pancrase vet Daichi Abe (5-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC).

Additionally, welterweight Alex Morono (13-3-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC), whose recent loss to Niko Price was overturned when his opponent failed a drug test due to marijuana, now puts his seven-fight winning streak on the line against Keita Nakamura (32-8-2 MMA, 2-5 UFC), a 14-year vet who’s 2-2 in his third and most recent UFC stint.

Also on the card are two featherweight bouts: Rolando Dy (8-5-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) vs. Teruto Ishihara (9-4-2 MMA, 2-2-1 UFC) and Mizuto Hirota (18-8-2 MMA, 1-3-1 UFC) vs. Charles Rosa (11-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC).

The latest UFC Fight Night 117 card now includes:

  • Mauricio Rua vs. Ovince Saint Preux
  • Jessica Andrade vs. Claudia Gadelha
  • Henrique da Silva vs. Gokhan Saki
  • Jussier Formiga vs. Ulka Sasaki
  • Chan-Mi Jeon vs. Syuri Kondo
  • Daichi Abe vs. Hyun Gyu Lim
  • Alex Morono vs. Keita Nakamura
  • Rolando Dy vs. Teruto Ishihara
  • Mizuto Hirota vs. Charles Rosa

For more on UFC Fight Night 117, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie