Dutch kickboxing standout Gokhan Saki finally has a date and an opponent for his UFC debut.
Saki (0-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who signed a deal with the company earlier this year, will fight Henrique da Silva (12-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC) at the Sept. 23 UFC Fight Night event at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, near Tokyo. Broadcast plans for the card have yet to be announced. UFC officials announced the new booking today.
Saki has had one MMA fight, but it came nearly 13 years ago – a TKO loss to James Zikic in Liverpool, England. Since then, his career trajectory has been all in kickboxing rings and included a GLORY light heavyweight title and GLORY light heavyweight tournament championship.
The former world, Dutch and European muay Thai champion has notable kickboxing wins over Ray Sefo, Tyrone Spong (twice) and Melvin Manhoef, and also has been in the ring against Alistair Overeem – a fight he lost by TKO thanks to a broken arm in the first round in 2010.
His kickboxing record boasts 83 wins and just 16 losses, and 59 of his 83 wins have come by knockout. He started his career in 2000 and went on the kind of run that earned him a second nickname: “The Turkish Tyson.”
Brazil’s da Silva has fallen into a rough patch. After starting his career a perfect 12-0, including his first two fights in the UFC, he has dropped three straight. After a TKO of Jonathan Wilson at UFC 199, da Silva picked up a bonus for an armbar submission of Joachim Christensen in October 2016. But after that, he was submitted by Paul Craig, dropped a decision to Jordan Johnson at UFC on FOX 23 in January, and was knocked out in just 22 seconds by Ion Cutelaba at UFC Fight Night 110 a month ago in New Zealand.