UFC light heavyweight Ovince Saint Preux uses Von Flue choke to beat Yushin Okami at UFC Fight Night


UFC light heavyweight Ovince Saint Preux is making a habit of securing an extremely rare choke.

Saint Preux (21-10) finished Japanese veteran Yushin Okami with a Von Flue choke just 1:50 into their light heavyweight main event at UFC Fight Night on Friday. The event took place at Saitama Super Arena outside Tokyo.

It’s the third time Saint Preux has finished an opponent with that particular choke in his UFC career. The 34-year-old said once Okami (34-11) reached for Saint Preux’s head from off his back, he knew the bout was over.

“I pretty much knew the choke was there when he put his hand around my head,” Saint Preux said. “I basically trapped his glove and after that, it’s just me locking it up and waiting for him to pass out.”

Okami did just that, as he refused to tap and went unconscious from the choke. He accepted the fight on short notice when Saint Preux’s original opponent, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, withdrew due to injury.

It was his first fight in the UFC since 2013, when the promotion cut him on the heels of a knockout loss to Ronaldo Souza.

He faced a significant size disadvantage against Saint Preux. Okami’s most recent fights took place at the 170-pound welterweight limit. It was somewhat surprising then, when he shot in for a takedown and pulled guard immediately in the first round.

“Luckily, I didn’t have to change anything,” said Saint Preux of the last-minute change. “I was surprised a little when he shot in, but that’s the fight game. You have to be ready for anything. Don’t get it twisted, I still want to fight Shogun.”

Saint Preux, who fights out of Nashville, has won two in a row. It’s a nice turnaround after losing three consecutive bouts between 2016 and early 2017.

Andrade takes decision in battle of former title challengers

Brazilian strawweight Jessica Andrade likely will need several wins to get back into title contention, but the former title challenger picked up a massive one over Claudia Gadelha.

Andrade (17-6) dominated the two-time title challenger in a three-round co-main event, earning scores of 30-25, 30-26 and 30-27. It was her first performance since losing to defending champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk in May.

Gadelha (15-3) started strong, as she consistently beat Andrade to the punch in the opening minutes and opened a deep cut near her hairline. Andrade would come roaring back, however, taking Gadelha down and pounding her body and head with strikes.

Andrade’s physicality and pressure continued to dictate the fight in the second and third rounds. She slammed Gadelha to the mat several times and cut her with a slicing elbow. The final frame was all Andrade, as Gadelha’s cardio started to fail. Andrade out-landed Gadelha in total strikes 241 to 46.

Prior to Friday, Gadelha, who is originally from Brazil and now trains out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, had only lost to Jedrzejczyk in her career.

Kickboxing vet Saki nets KO in UFC debut

Veteran kickboxing champion Gokhan Saki (1-1) knocked out Henrique da Silva (12-4) with a vicious left hook at 4:45 of the first round in his UFC debut.

Saki, of Turkey, hadn’t fought in kickboxing or MMA in more than two years. He looked terrific early, dropping da Silva with a stiff left hand just moments into the fight.

The 33-year-old appeared to run out of gas later in the round, and admitted as much after the fight. He did well defending several takedown attempts, though, and had enough left in the tank to unleash a fight-ending left hook with his back to the fence. Da Silva, who had plenty of success in the clinch prior to the knockout, fell straight backward and the bout was immediately called.

Saki made his MMA debut back in 2004, but he hadn’t competed in the sport since. His career kickboxing record is 83-12.

Gomi stopped in the first round in fifth consecutive fight

A feared power puncher throughout his career, lightweight Takanori Gomi has been on the wrong end of devastating strikes as of late.

Former welterweight Dong Hyun Kim (15-8-3) dropped Gomi with a quick right hand before finishing him with ground strikes just 90 seconds into the bout. Gomi, 39, has now been stopped in five consecutive bouts.

Kim, of South Korea, improved to 2-1 since dropping down from 170 pounds. The 29-year-old expressed some bittersweet emotion after the bout due to his respect for Gomi. The Japanese veteran is a former Pride Fighting Championships titlist.

Ishihara benefits from point deduction, earns first win of 2017

Featherweight Teruto Ishihara (10-4-2) picked up his first win of 2017, outpointing Rolando Dy (8-6-1) via unanimous scores of 29-27, 28-27 and 28-27.

The bout likely would have ended in a majority draw were it not for a third-round point deduction on Dy for low blows. Dy landed three inadvertent groin shots in the fight, the last one dropping Ishihara for several minutes.

Ishihara dropped Dy with a left hand in the first round but absorbed heavy shots himself in the second and third. The victory snaps a two-fight skid for Ishihara, and improves his UFC mark to 3-2-1.

Formiga collects ninth submission win

Brazilian flyweight Jussier Formiga (19-6) made quick work of Japan’s Yuta Sasaki (20-5-2), finishing the bout with a rear-naked choke at 4:30 of the opening round.

The action was back-and-forth on the feet, until Formiga scored a takedown three minutes in. It was completely one-sided from that point on, as Formiga advanced to full mount for a second, before taking the back and locking in the choke.

It is the ninth submission win of Formiga’s career. The 32-year-old asked for a title shot following the performance. He’s just 2-2 in his past four but has lost only to the very top of the division.

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