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OSP, Andrade and Saki among the stars of Saitama

SAINT PREUX vs OKAMI

Of the five Von Flue choke submissions scored in UFC history, light heavyweight contender Ovince Saint Preux now has three of them, with the third taking place in the UFC Fight Night main event at Saitama Super Arena as he finished Yushin Okami in the first round.

“I was a little shocked when he grabbed my head,” said the No. 6-ranked Saint Preux. “Typically, when somebody grabs my head, that’s my go-to move.”

And it’s a tough one to beat.

Okami (34-11) shot for a takedown as the bout began, but Saint Preux (21-10) stuffed the attempt and the two went to the mat. OSP worked for his opponent’s neck briefly as he tried to improve his position, but when Okami went for his opponent’s neck, Saint Preux set up his signature Von Flue choke and within seconds, the fight was over, with referee Leon Roberts halting the bout at the 1:50 mark of the opening round.

Former middleweight title challenger Okami, a late replacement for the injured Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, was making his first UFC appearance since 2013

ANDRADE vs GADELHA
In her first fight since a losing effort against strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Jessica Andrade returned with a career-best effort as she defeated No. 1 contender Claudia Gadelha via unanimous decision in a clash of two of Brazil’s best.

Scores were 30-25, 30-26 and 30-27.

Gadelha ripped off hard combinations with regularity as the bout commenced, landing with an audible pop as she beat her foe to the punch and opened a cut on her forehead. With under two minutes left, Andrade got back into it with a thunderous slam, and while Gadelha countered with a guillotine choke attempt, “Bate Estaca” slipped loose and then began landing with hard ground strikes.

Gadelha opened up the second stanza with a takedown, only to see Andrade pop right back up to her feet. The proceeded to scramble, with Andrade ending up on top on the mat, where she worked on the cut over Gadelha’s left eye. Gadelha soon rose and the two traded punches, Andrade now taking control as fatigue started to set in on “Claudinha.” But with seconds remaining, Gadelha nearly sunk in a guillotine choke only interrupted by the horn ending the round.

After a respectful hug to begin the final frame, it was back to work for the two Brazilian battlers, and after a failed shot by Gadelha, Andrade slammed her opponent to the mat. Andrade’s work rate on the mat was relentless, and she dug punches in to the body and head. With 90 seconds left, Andrade moved into side control and kept the pressure on, and while Gadelha made it to her feet, she had nothing left for a final surge in the closing seconds.

With the win, the No. 4-ranked Andrade moves to 17-6. Gadelha falls to 15-3.

RELATED: Japan Prelim Results | Gokhan Saki Octagon InterviewJessica Andrade Octagon Interview

KIM vs GOMI
South Korean lightweight “Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim scored the most important win of his career, halting Japanese icon Takanori Gomi in the first round.

After a tactical start, Kim struck first with a right hand that put Gomi on the seat of his pants, and he didn’t let the former PRIDE champion off the hook, with a series of ground strikes bringing in referee Steve Perceval to halt the fight at 1:30 of the opening round.

With the win, Busan’s Kim improves to 15-8-3. The 39-year-old Gomi, who has now lost five straight, falls to 35-14 with 1 NC.

SAKI vs DA SILVA
The UFC debut of kickboxing superstar Gokhan Saki lived up to the hype, with “The Rebel” scoring a first-round knockout of Brazilian light heavyweight Henrique da Silva.

It appeared that Saki (1-1) was going to end the bout quickly, as he drilled da Silva (12-4) with several hard shots that put the Para native on the defensive. But just when it seemed that da Silva was on his way out, “Frankenstein” began to roar back, landing a series of hard knees as Saki appeared to tire. Saki wasn’t done yet, though, and out of nowhere, he landed a flush left hook that dropped da Silva and brought in referee Greg Kleynjans to stop the fight at 4:45 of the opening stanza.

ISHIHARA vs DY
After a fast start almost finished Rolando Dy, Japanese featherweight Teruto Ishihara instead had to gut out a unanimous decision victory over his Filipino foe in a grueling three rounder.

Ishihara (11-4-2) wasted little time unleashing his bombs, with a left hand putting Dy on the deck in the first 30 seconds. Dy was able to recover and get back to his feet, but Ishihara put him back on the mat and began firing off ground strikes. Dy stayed out of trouble for the rest of the round, but it was a big frame for Ishihara.

Bouncing back well after a rough first round, Dy (8-6-1, 1 NC) scored with several hard punches and kicks in a solid second stanza for him as Ishihara’s output dropped.

Dy opened the final round with a hard knee that rattled Ishihara, and after a borderline low blow from Dy, there was a brief halt to the bout. When the action resumed, the two took turns landing flush shots on the other, but then another low shot, this one a kick about which there was no question of its location, halted the action once more. This time, referee John Sharp penalized Dy, taking a point away. When the fight continued, Ishihara scored a takedown, and while Dy didn’t stay there long, the damage had been done, as he was outpointed by Ishihara via scores of 28-27 twice and 29-27.

FORMIGA vs SASAKI
No. 5-ranked flyweight contender Jussier Formiga kept his place at the top of the division intact with a first-round submission win over Ulka Sasaki in the main card opener.

Formiga looked like he might be in for a rough night as Sasaki’s striking allowed him to control the early stages of the fight. But with a little over two minutes left, the Brazilian scored the takedown and from there, it was Formiga’s fight as he transitioned from position to position until he took Sasaki’s back and sunk in the rear naked choke that forced a tap out at 4:30 of round one.

With the win, Natal’s Formiga ups his record to 20-5. Shizuoka’s Sasaki falls to 20-5-2.
Saturday, December 30
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