Light heavyweight contender Ovince Saint Preux made quick work of late replacement Yushin Okami in the main event of UFC Fight Night 117 in Saitama, Japan, on Friday night.
Saint Preux finished an opponent with a Von Flue choke for the third time in his UFC career, putting Okami to sleep at 1:50 of the first round with the maneuver.
“I was a little shocked when he grabbed my head,” Saint Preux said. “When someone does that, it’s my go-to move. I pretty much knew the choke was there. After that, it’s just me locking it in and waiting for him to pass out.”
Only five fights in UFC history have ever been finished by Von Flue choke. Saint Preux has accomplished it in back-to-back fights.
Okami had not competed in the UFC since 2013. He accepted an offer to return when Mauricio “Shogun” Rua was forced out of this fight a week ago due to a knee injury.
Saint Preux said there was little adjustment for the change in opponent.
“I didn’t have to change anything because they’re both strikers,” Saint Preux said. “That’s why I was kind of surprised when he went for a takedown.
“Don’t get it twisted. I still want to fight Shogun (again). I’m looking for him.”
Saint Preux has now won two consecutive fights after a three-fight losing streak that began with a loss to Jon Jones in an interim title bout.
Former women’s strawweight title challenger Jessica Andrade overcame a slow start to score an impressive victory over top contender Claudia Gadelha.
Andrade slammed Gadelha to the mat late in the first round to seize control of the action. After three bloody rounds, she became the first woman not named Joanna Jedrzejczyk to defeat Gadelha.
Andrade had won her first three fights at strawweight after dropping 20 pounds from the bantamweight division before coming up short in her title shot against Jedrzejczyk in May. She consistently took Gadelha to the ground and battered her with short punches to the head and body on Friday night.
“We knew going into this fight that Claudia would come out swinging and have good strikes,” Andrade said. “Some of them surprised me, but just one minute into the fight I felt as if I was comfortable in there and I could go on to win the fight. A big part of my strategy was to look for the take down towards the end of rounds. I get to be ranked No. 1 now and there’s nowhere else to go but to face the champion. I’ll get my time soon and keep training until that comes.”
Gadelha’s only two career losses had come against Jedrzejczyk. She was quicker to the punch against Andrade for the first four minutes, but fatigued under the pressure, pace and power of her opponent.
Also on the card, Japanese legend Takanori Gomi was finished in the first round for the fifth consecutive time when he was knocked out by Dong Hyun Kim in just 1:30.
Kim landed several short punches on the mat after dropping him with a punch to prompt the referee to step in and save Gomi from further damage.
“I’ve been watching him fight since I was in high school,” Kim said. “Gomi was the top fighter when I first started MMA and I can’t believe I got to fight him. When I faced him in the octagon, it was real. I always thought Gomi is a strong fighter, so I was actually nervous going into this fight. But I’m very happy that I’ve won tonight.”
Kickboxing star Gokhan Saki made a spectacular UFC debut with a first-round knockout of Henrique da Silva.
Saki, whose only previous MMA experience was a 2004 loss in which he wasn’t even fully aware of the rules, fatigued after early success and took some big shots in the clinch only to answer with a crushing left hook to finish da Silva.
“I feel I have made a statement in my first UFC fight,” said Saki, who hadn’t competed in any discipline for more than two years. “I landed a couple of big bombs in the opening round and then with the knockout. After two years I’ve got that fighting feeling back and now I want to train to be the best.”
Featherweight Teruto Ishihara snapped a two-fight losing streak with a unanimous-decision victory over Rolando Dy.
Ishihara was dominant in the opening round, earning 10-8 scores on two of the scorecards. Dy rallied and would have been rewarded with a majority draw had he not been deducted a point in the third round for a third groin strike.
Flyweight contender Jussier Formiga bounced back from a narrow split-decision loss to Ray Borg with a first-round submission of prospect Ulka Sasaki.
Formiga kicked off the main card by locking in a rear-naked choke late in the opening round and forcing Sasaki to tap out.
Contact Adam Hill at email@example.com or 702-277-8028. Follow @adamhilllvrj on Twitter.