Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for 'OSP,' Andrade and UFC Fight Night 117's other winning fighters?

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The UFC’s latest event in Japan was arguably the weakest of all on paper, but in practice, it produced some solid action, with four of six fights on the FXX-televised main card ending inside the distance.

Ovince Saint Preux (21-10 MMA, 9-5 UFC) once again pulled off his signature submission in the light heavyweight main event, which took place at Saitama Super Arena. “OSP” put away late-notice replacement Yushin Okami (34-11 MMA, 13-6 UFC) with a Von Flue choke submission in the first round to give him consecutive wins for the first time in more than two years.

The remainder of the lineup included a statement performance from former strawweight title challenger Jessica Andrade (17-6 MMA, 8-4 UFC) as well as victories by ”Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim (15-8-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC), Gokhan Saki (1-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC), Teruto Ishihara (10-4-2 MMA, 3-2-1 UFC) and Jussier Formiga (20-5 MMA, 6-4 UFC).

After every event, fans wonder whom the winners will be matched up with next. And with another night of UFC action in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s shoes, and play UFC matchmaker for UFC Fight Night 117’s winning fighters.

* * * *

Ben Nguyen

Jussier Formiga

Should fight: Ben Nguyen
Why they should fight: Formiga put on one of the finest performances of his UFC career when he went into Ulka Sasaki’s home country and earned a submission in the opening round of the flyweight fight.

Formiga has been part of the UFC’s 125-pound since its inception, and despite being ranked in or around the top-five for the entire time, he’s one of the few contenders that’s yet to get a shot at champion Demetrious Johnson.

The win over Sasaki isn’t going to get the Brazilian his long-awaited title shot, but it moves him in the right direction. Formiga needs to string together a few in a row against relevant names. A matchup with Nguyen (17-6 MMA, 4-1 UFC), who is on a nice run of his own, would be a perfect next step.

Godofredo Pepey

Teruto Ishihara

Should fight: Godofredo Pepey
Why they should fight: After losing back-to-back fights, Ishihara got back on track with a solid unanimous decision win against lesser-known Ronaldo Dy.

Ishihara’s personality has gained him a lot of traction, but his past two performances, which were close decision losses to Gray Maynard and Artem Lobov, took some of his luster away. The step back in competition was just what he needed, and it led Ishihara to a win.

At this point Ishihara hasn’t proven himself as much more than an action fighter in the featherweight division. Fortunately for him there’s many others in his weight class who fit the same role. Pepey (13-5 MMA, 5-5 UFC) may be coming off a loss, but there’s no doubt the feisty Brazilian would give Ishihara a scrap.

Steve Bosse

Gokhan Saki

Should fight: Steve Bosse
Why they should fight: The much-anticipated debut of former kickboxing champion Saki went about as good as possible when he styled out on Henrique da Silva for a first-round knockout courtesy of his left hand.

Saki competed in one MMA fight back in 2004, but since then has gone through an extraordinary combat sports journey. After a decorated career in kickboxing, he decided to test his chops in the UFC light heavyweight division with minimal MMA experience. He passed his first test, but it’s not going to get any easier going forward.

“The Rebel” clearly has terrifying striking, but the big test will be when someone can put him in a compromising position on the ground. It would be best to avoid that as long as possible, though, so he should get another matchup with a striking-based opponent. Bosse (12-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC), the former hockey enforcer turned MMA slugger, would almost certainly be willing to stand toe-to-toe with “The Rebel.”

Scott Holtzman

“Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim

Should fight: Scott Holtzman
Why they should fight: Although Takanori Gomi is a diminished version of what he once was, “Maestro” Kim added the most noteworthy victory of his career so far to his resume when he defeated the former PRIDE FC lightweight champion by TKO in just 90 seconds.

Kim handed Gomi his fifth consecutive loss, and likely ended his UFC career, with a solid performance which put him back on even ground when it comes to his UFC record (2-2). He may lack the skills of a top 155-pound fighter, but, the South Korean has proven to be an exciting competitor each time he steps in the octagon. The UFC embraces that, and a matchup with Holtzman (10-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) would bring out the best in Kim’s skillset.

Karolina Kowalkiewicz

Jessica Andrade

Should fight: Winner of Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Jodie Esquibel at UFC Fight Night 118
Why they should fight: Andrade rebounded from her title-fight loss to Joanna Jedrzejczyk earlier this year with arguably the biggest victory of her career against Claudia Gadelha.

Andrade became the first fighter outside of Jedrzejczyk to defeat her fellow Brazilian, scoring a one-sided unanimous decision win in the crucial women’s strawweight co-headliner. She put herself right back near the top of the totem pole in the 115-pound pecking order, but considering the recent and, more importantly, lopsided nature of her defeat to Jedrzejczyk, she’s going to need to do more before another crack at the gold comes her way.

It’s clear Andrade isn’t going to be an easy out for anyone in her weight class. Her primary goal is to take out any contender willing to sign a contract to face her, and her wish for the winner of the UFC Fight Night 118 between Kowalkiewicz (10-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) and Esquibel (6-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who meet on Oct. 21 in Poland, is quite realistic.

Ovince Saint Preux

Should fight: Mauricio Rua
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Saint Preux should rebook his rematch with Rua (25-10 MMA, 9-8 UFC) next.

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 117 post-event facts: How Saint Preux-Okami fight was a rarity in history

The UFC’s return to Japan was Friday with UFC Fight Night 117, which took place at Saitama Super Arena and aired on FXX.

Ovince Saint Preux (21-10 MMA, 9-5 UFC) capped off the card with a historic submission in the light heavyweight main event, submitting Yushin Okami (34-11 MMA, 13-6 UFC) with just the fifth Von Flue choke in UFC history.

Saint Preux was one of multiple fighters who earned a big win at an event with some worthwhile footnotes. For more on the numbers behind the last of four UFC events in September, check below for 50 post-event facts about UFC Fight Night 117.

* * * *

General

The UFC-Reebok Athlete Outfitting payout for the event totaled $107,500.

Debuting fighters went 1-2.

Saint Preux, Gokhan Saki, Jessica Andrade, Claudia Gadelha earned $50,000 UFC Fight Night 117 fight-night bonuses.

UFC Fight Night 117 drew an announced attendance of 8,571, the lowest of the promotion’s five events at Saitama Super Arena. No live gate was announce for the event.

Betting favorites went 6-3 on the card. One fight had even odds.

Total fight time for the 10-bout card was 1:42:35.

Main card

Saint Preux vs. Okami was just the second fight in UFC history to feature zero combined significant strike attempts. Ilir Latifi vs. Cyrille Diabate at UFC on FUEL TV 6 was the other.

Saint Preux competed in his fifth UFC main event. He’s 1-3 in previous headliners.

Saint Preux has earned 16 of his 21 career victories by stoppage. That includes seven of his nine UFC wins.

Saint Preux’s seven stoppage victories since 2013 in UFC competition are tied for fourth most in the company behind Donald Cerrone (nine), Max Holloway (eight) and Derrick Lewis (eight).

Saint Preux’s nine victories since 2013 in UFC light heavyweight competition are the most in the division.

Saint Preux earned his third Von Flue choke submission in UFC competition, the most in UFC history.

Saint Preux has earned three of the five Von Flue choke submissions in UFC history. Jason Von Flue and Jordan Rinaldi also accomplished the feat.

Saint Preux’s two technical submission victories in UFC competition are tied for second most in company history behind Frank Mir (three).

Okami was unsuccessful in his return to the UFC. He hasn’t earned a first victory with the promotion since March 2013.

Okami was unsuccessful in his UFC light-heavyweight debut.

Okami fell to 5-3 since his initial UFC release in late 2013.

Okami fell to 0-1 since he returned to the UFC for a second stint in September 2017.

Okami suffered the first submission loss of his career.

Andrade’s (17-6 MMA, 8-4 UFC) eight UFC victories ties for the most by any female in promotional history.

Andrade improved to 4-1 since she dropped to the UFC strawweight division in June 2016.

Andrade landed 242 total strikes, the most in a UFC strawweight fight.

Andrade has earned five of her eight UFC victories by decision.

Gadelha (15-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) has suffered all three of her career losses by decision.

Gadelha failed to complete a takedown for the first time in her UFC career.

“Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim (15-8-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC) improved to 2-1 since he dropped to the UFC lightweight division in June.

Kim has earned 12 of his 15 career victories by stoppage.

Takanori Gomi (35-14 MMA, 4-9 UFC) suffered his fifth consecutive loss to extend the longest skid of his career. He’s suffered all five losses by first-round stoppage in a total fight time of 9:09.

Gomi fell to 1-6 in his past seven fights overall and hasn’t earned a victory since April 2014.

Saki (1-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) was successful in his return to MMA competition after more than 13 years.

Saki earned the first victory of his MMA career.

Henrique da Silva (12-4 MMA, 2-4 UFC) suffered his fourth consecutive loss to extend the longest skid of his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since October 2016.

Da Silva has suffered three of his four career losses by stoppage.

Teruto Ishihara (10-4-2 MMA, 3-2-1 UFC) earned his first decision victory since his MMA debut on April 3, 2011 – a span of 2,364 days (more than six years) and 15 fights.

Ishihara’s six knockdowns landed in UFC featherweight competition are tied for third most in divisional history behind Jeremy Stephens (nine) and Max Holloway (eight).

Rolando Dy (8-6-1 MMA, 0-2 UFC) has suffered four of his six career losses by decision.

Jussier Formiga (20-5 MMA, 6-4 UFC) six victories in UFC flyweight competition re tied for third most in divisional history behind Demetrious Johnson (12) and Joseph Benavidez (10).

Formiga’s two submission victories in UFC flyweight competition are tied for third most in divisional history behind Johnson (three) and John Moraga (three).

Formiga has earned all of his career stoppage victories by submission.

Formiga has earned both of his UFC stoppage victories by submission.

Ulka Sasaki (20-5-2 MMA, 3-4 UFC) fell to 2-2 since he dropped to the UFC flyweight division in May 2016.

Sasaki has suffered three of his four UFC losses by stoppage.

Preliminary card

Keita Nakamura (33-8-2 MMA, 3-5 UFC) earned his first decision victory since May 18, 2012 – a span of 1,953 days (more than five years) and 13 fights.

Syuri Kondo (6-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) has earned five of her six career victories by decision.

Chan-Mi Jeon (5-2 MMA, 0-2 UFC) has suffered consecutive losses after starting her career on a five-fight winning streak.

Jeon has suffered both of her career losses by decision.

Luke Juneau (12-4 MMA, 1-1 UFC) suffered the first decision loss of his career.

Hyun Gyu Lim’s (13-7-1 MMA, 3-4 UFC) three-fight losing skid is the longest of his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since September 2014.

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

FightMetric research analyst and live statistics producer Michael Carroll contributed to this story. Follow him on Twitter @MJCflipdascript.

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Source: MMA Junkie

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: 'Maestro' Dong Hyun Kim takes out Takanori Gomi in 90 seconds

The “Maestro” played a masterful concerto against a Japanese legend and made things look easy.

”Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim (15-8-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC) picked up a smooth first-round TKO of Takanori Gomi (35-14 MMA, 4-9 UFC), who saw his struggles continue. A straight right hand from Kim led to ground-and-pound that put “The Fireball Kid” away just 90 seconds into the fight.

The lightweight bout was part of the main card of today’s UFC Fight Night 117 event at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, near Tokyo. It aired on FXX following prelims on the same channel.

Kim started in the middle and kept Kim outside. Kim stayed patient early, tossing out a couple low kicks. Gomi sneaked a right hand through a minute in, then dipped away from a pair of Kim left jabs.

But seconds later, Kim circled to the right, then planted his foot and planted Gomi on the canvas with a straight right. It took him only a handful of hammer fists on the ground for Steve Perceval to shut the fight down. The TKO was the ninth first-round finish in Kim’s career.

Kim won for the second straight time after a two-fight skid to open his UFC tenure. Gomi lost for the fifth straight time and sixth time in his past seven 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

UFC Fight Night 117 staff picks: Is anyone picking Okami to upset Saint Preux in UFC return?

Okami
vs.
Saint Preux
Andrade
vs.
Gadelha
Gomi
vs.
Kim
da Silva
vs.
Saki
Dy
vs.
Ishihara
Hirota
vs.
Rosa
MMAjunkie readers’
consensus picks
2017: 87-65
saintpreux2017
Saint Preux
(74%)
gadelha2017
Gadelha
(80%)
maestrokim2017
Kim
(77%)
saki2017
Saki
(56%)
ishihara2017
Ishihara
(78%)
rosa2017
Rosa
(76%)
Dann Stupp
@DannStupp
2017: 97-55
trophy copy 2015 Champion
saintpreux2017
Saint Preux
gadelha2017
Gadelha
maestrokim2017
Kim
hdasilva2017
da Silva
ishihara2017
Ishihara
rosa2017
Rosa
Simon Samano
@SJSamano
2017: 95-57
saintpreux2017
Saint Preux
jandrade2017
Andrade
maestrokim2017
Kim
saki2017
Saki
ishihara2017
Ishihara
rosa2017
Rosa
Ben Fowlkes @BenFowlkesMMA
2017: 94-58
trophy copy 2016 Champion
saintpreux2017
Saint Preux
gadelha2017
Gadelha
maestrokim2017
Kim
saki2017
Saki
ishihara2017
Ishihara
rosa2017
Rosa
Steven Marrocco @MMAjunkieSteven
2017: 93-59
saintpreux2017
Saint Preux
gadelha2017
Gadelha
maestrokim2017
Kim
saki2017
Saki
ishihara2017
Ishihara
rosa2017
Rosa
Brian Garcia
@thegoze
2017: 92-60
saintpreux2017
Saint Preux
gadelha2017
Gadelha
maestrokim2017
Kim
saki2017
Saki
ishihara2017
Ishihara
rosa2017
Rosa
Fernanda Prates @nandaprates_
2017: 89-63
saintpreux2017
Saint Preux
gadelha2017
Gadelha
maestrokim2017
Kim
saki2017
Saki
ishihara2017
Ishihara
hiroto2017
Hirota
Matt Erickson @MMAjunkieMatt
2017: 89-63
okami2017
Okami
gadelha2017
Gadelha
gomi2017
Gomi
saki2017
Saki
dy2017
Dy
hiroto2017
Hirota
John Morgan @MMAjunkieJohn
2017: 87-65
saintpreux2017
Saint Preux
gadelha2017
Gadelha
maestrokim2017
Kim
saki2017
Saki
ishihara2017
Ishihara
rosa2017
Rosa
Mike Bohn @MikeBohnMMA
2017: 87-65
trophy copy 2014 Champion
saintpreux2017
Saint Preux
gadelha2017
Gadelha
maestrokim2017
Kim
hdasilva2017
da Silva
ishihara2017
Ishihara
rosa2017
Rosa
George Garcia @MMAjunkieGeorge
2017: 86-66
saintpreux2017
Saint Preux
jandrade2017
Andrade
maestrokim2017
Kim
hdasilva2017
da Silva
ishihara2017
Ishihara
rosa2017
Rosa

The UFC returns to Japan this week, and a former middleweight title challenger is back in the promotion in the main event on short notice.

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

(Click here to open a PDF of the staff picks grid in a separate window.)

In the main event, former 185-pound title challenger Yushin Okami (34-10 MMA, 13-5 UFC) returns after a stint in WSOF to fight Ovince Saint Preux (20-10 MMA, 8-5) at light heavyweight. Okami, who will fight in front of his home fans in Japan, took the fight on a week’s notice when Mauricio “Shogun” Rua withdrew with an injury. Saint Preux is a heavy betting favorite, and he’s the pick of nine of our 10 MMAjunkie editors, writers and radio hosts.

In the co-feature, women’s strawweight contenders Jessica Andrade (16-6 MMA, 7-4 UFC) and Claudia Gadelha (15-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) meet in a crucial divisional showdown. Gadelha is the betting favorite, and she’s getting the nod from eight of our 10 pickers.

Also on the main card, Takanori Gomi (35-13 MMA, 4-8 UFC) meets ”Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim (14-8-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC) at lightweight, and only one of our staff members is brave enough to pick Gomi in an upset. Gokhan Saki (0-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) makes his highly anticipated UFC debut against Henrique da Silva (12-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC) and is a 7-3 pick. Only one of our pickers is taking Rolando Dy (8-5-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) to top Teruto Ishihara (9-4-2 MMA, 2-2-1 UFC) in their featherweight bout. And also at featherweight, to open up the main card, only two are taking Mizuto Hirota (18-8-2 MMA, 1-3-1 UFC) to upset Charles Rosa (11-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC) in their catchweight fight (Hirota missed the featherweight limit earlier today).

In the MMAjunkie reader consensus picks, Saint Preux, Gadelha, Kim, Saki, Ishihara and Rosa are the choices.

Check out all the picks above.

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

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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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Source: MMA Junkie

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

UFC Fight Night 117 pre-event facts: Jessica Andrade 1st female with a dozen UFC fights

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

The UFC makes one of its infrequent stops in Japan on Friday with UFC Fight Night 117, which takes place at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama and airs on FXX following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

After going through all sorts of changes, the card will feature a light heavyweight main event cobbled together at the last minute when Ovince Saint Preux (20-10 MMA, 8-5 UFC) welcomes former 185-pound title challenger Yushin Okami (34-10 MMA, 13-5 UFC) back to the octagon for the first time in more than four years.

The sport has a lot of history in “The Land of the Rising Sun.” The fighters will attempt to add to that when they step in the cage, but for now, it’s time to see what they’ve accomplished so far. Check below for 40 pre-event facts about UFC Fight Night 117.

* * * *

Main event

Ovince Saint Preux

Saint Preux competes in his fifth UFC main event. He’s 1-3 in previous headliners.

Saint Preux has earned 15 of his 20 career victories by stoppage. That includes six of his eight wins under the UFC banner.

Saint Preux is the only fighter in UFC/WEC/PRIDE/Strikeforce history to earn two submission victories by Von Flue choke.

Saint Preux has earned two of the four Von Flue choke victories in UFC history. Jason Von Flue and Jordan Rinaldi also accomplished the feat.

Saint Preux’s six stoppage victories since 2013 in UFC light-heavyweight competition are the most in the division.

Yushin Okami

Okami returns to the UFC for the first time since September 2013. He suffered a first-round TKO loss to Ronaldo Souza in his most recent appearance at UFC Fight Night 28.

Okami is 5-2 since his initial UFC release in late 2013.

Okami moves up to the UFC light heavyweight division for the first time in 19 promotional appearances.

Okami’s four-fight winning streak is his longest since April 2007.

Okami has earned eight of his 13 UFC victories by decision.

Okami defends 84.6 percent of all opponent takedowns in UFC middleweight competition, the second highest rate in divisional history behind Krzysztof Jotko (86.8 percent).

Co-main event

Claudia Gadelha

Claudia Gadelha’s (15-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) competes in her seventh UFC strawweight bout, tied with Randa Markos for the second most appearances in divisional history behind Joanna Jedrzejczyk (eight).

Gadelha’s four victories in UFC strawweight competition are tied for third most in divisional history behind Jedrzejczyk (eight) and Tecia Torres (five).

Gadelha enters the event on the first two-fight winning streak of her UFC career.

Gadelha’s 27 takedowns landed in UFC strawweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Jessica Andrade (16-6 MMA, 7-4 UFC) makes her 12th UFC appearance, the most by any female in company history.

Jessica Andrade

Andrade is 3-1 since she dropped to the UFC strawweight division in June 2016.

Andrade’s seven UFC victories are third most of any female in company history behind Jedrzejczyk (eight) and Amanda Nunes (eight).

Andrade landed 206 significant strikes against Rosi Sexton at UFC Fight Night 30, the third most ever in a single UFC fight.

Andrade is one of three female fighters in UFC history to earn victories in two weight classes. Valerie Letourneau and Joanne Calderwood also accomplished the feat.

Remaining main card

Takanori Gomi (35-13 MMA, 4-8 UFC), who competes on his 39th birthday, is the oldest of the 22 fighters scheduled to compete at the event.

Takanori Gomi

Gomi enters the event on a four-fight losing skid, the longest of his career. He’s suffered all four losses by first-round stoppage in a total fight time of 7:39.

Gomi is 1-5 in his past six appearances overall and hasn’t earned a victory since April 2014.

Gomi is one of 12 fighters in UFC/WEC/PRIDE/Strikeforce combined history to earn a winning streak of 10-plus fights.

Gomi recorded the fastest knockout in the history of the now-defunct PRIDE organization when he stopped Ralph Gracie in just six seconds at PRIDE Bushido 3.

”Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim (14-8-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC) is 1-1 since he dropped to the UFC lightweight division in June 2016.

Henrique da Silva (12-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC) enters the event on a three-fight losing skid, the longest of his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since December 2016.

Da Silva has earned all 12 of his career victories by stoppage.

Gokhan Saki (0-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), a former kickboxing champion, returns to MMA competition for the first time since July 2004.

Teruto Ishihara (9-4-2 MMA, 2-2-1 UFC) has earned eight of his nine career victories by knockout. That includes both of his UFC wins.

Mizuto Hirota (18-8-2 MMA, 1-3-1 UFC) has suffered seven of his eight career losses by decision.

Charles Rosa (11-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC) has alternated wins and losses over his five-fight UFC career.

Rosa has been awarded three “Fight of the Night” bonuses during his five-fight UFC career.

Rosa’s submission of Sean Soriano at 4:43 of Round 3 at UFC Fight Night 59 marked the latest submission ever in a three-round UFC featherweight bout.

Preliminary card

Keita Nakamura (32-8-2 MMA, 2-5 UFC) has suffered all five of his UFC losses by decision.

Jussier Formiga (19-5 MMA, 5-4 UFC) has earned four of his five UFC victories by decision.

Ulka Sasaki (20-4-2 MMA, 3-3 UFC) is 2-1 since he dropped to the UFC flyweight division in May 2016.

Sasaki has earned all three of his UFC victories by submission.

Chan-Mi Jeon (5-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC), 20, is the youngest of the 22 fighters scheduled to compete at the event.

Jeon is the youngest active fighter on the UFC roster.

Hyun Gyu Lim (13-5-1 MMA, 3-2 UFC) has earned his past 11 victories by stoppage. He hasn’t won a fight by decision since his first career victory.

Lim is one of two fighters in UFC history to win two consecutive fights by knockout stemming from a knee strike. Thiago Alves also accomplished the feat.

Shinsho Anzai (9-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) competes in just his second fight since August 2004.

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

FightMetric research analyst and live statistics producer Michael Carroll contributed to this story. Follow him on Twitter @MJCflipdascript.

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

MMAjunkie reader predictions: Make your picks for UFC Fight Night 117 in Japan

We want your predictions for Friday’s UFC Fight Night 117 event in Japan.

Our staff picks feature includes the consensus picks from MMAjunkie readers. Simply cast your vote for each bout below, and we’ll use the official tallies that are registered by Wednesday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT).

Those MMAjunkie MMA reader consensus picks will be part of the UFC Fight Night 117 staff picks we release Thursday ahead of the event. UFC Fight Night 117 takes place Friday at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, near Tokyo. The card airs on FXX following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

* * * *

Yushin Okami vs. Ovince Saint Preux

Records: Yushin Okami (34-10 MMA, 13-5 UFC), Ovince Saint Preux (20-10 MMA, 8-5)
Past five: Okami 4-1, Saint Preux 2-3
Division: Light heavyweight
Rankings: Saint Preux No. 10
Odds (as of 9/18/17): N/A

Take Our Poll
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Jessica Andrade vs. Claudia Gadelha

Records: Jessica Andrade (16-6 MMA, 7-4 UFC) vs. Claudia Gadelha (15-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC)
Past five: Andrade 3-2, Gadelha 3-2
Division: Women’s strawweight
Rankings: Gadelha No. 2, Andrade No. 3
Odds (as of 9/18/17): N/A

Take Our Poll
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Takanori Gomi vs. “Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim

Records: Takanori Gomi (35-13 MMA, 4-8 UFC), ”Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim (14-8-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC)
Past five: Gomi 1-4, Kim 3-2
Division: Lightweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 9/18/17): N/A

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Henrique da Silva vs. Gokhan Saki

Records: Henrique da Silva (12-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC), Gokhan Saki (0-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC)
Past five: Da Silva 2-3, Saki 0-1
Division: Light heavyweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 9/18/17): N/A

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Rolando Dy vs. Teruto Ishihara

Records: Rolando Dy (8-5-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC), Teruto Ishihara (9-4-2 MMA, 2-2-1 UFC)
Past five: Dy 3-2, Ishihara 2-2-1
Division: Featherweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 9/18/17): N/A

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Mizuto Hirota vs. Charles Rosa

Records: Mizuto Hirota (18-8-2 MMA, 1-3-1 UFC) vs. Charles Rosa (11-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC)
Past five: Hirota 1-3-1, Rosa 2-3
Division: Featherweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 9/18/17): N/A

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

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie