Gökhan Saki finally has a time and place set for his highly-anticipated UFC debut. “The Rebel” will take on Henrique da Silva on September 23 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan at UFC Fight Night 117.
In May, it was announced that the former GLORY champion joined the world’s biggest MMA organization to compete in the light heavyweight division after he retired from kickboxing.
Saki has fought in the Saitama Super Arena once before. At GLORY 4 in 2012 he reached the semi-finals of the Heavyweight Grand Slam by putting away Raoumaru and Anderson “Braddock” Silva in the first round. He eventually came up short against later winner Semmy Schilt.
Saki has one MMA fight on his record. In 2004 he lost to James Zikic via TKO on Cage Fighting Championships 1: Cage Carnage in Liverpool but according to Saki, that fight has to be taken with a grain of salt.
“I was called on a Saturday Night, the night before the fight, while I was walking out in Now & Wow in Rotterdam. Cor (Hemmers) asked me if I could fill in at Liverpool. I was young and hungry and just wanted to fight.
“When I arrived in Liverpool, they told me it was an MMA fight. I had no idea what MMA was and asked if it was an insurance company. I eventually fought seven minutes without training and after a night of partying,” Saki told VICE Sports about his first MMA experience.
da Silva will try to break a three-fight skid after a great start in the UFC with two wins in a row by stoppage, but the Brazilian could be receiving his walking papers with a loss against “The Rebel”.
PRIDE legend Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Ovince Saint Preux will main event UFC Fight Night 117. This will be a rematch from their previous bout on UFC Fight Night 56 in November 2014, which “OSP” won by TKO in 34 seconds.