Gokhan Saki’s long-awaited UFC debut proved spectacular as he provided a highlight reel knockout finish of Henrique Da Silva at UFC Fight Night 117 in Japan.
There were many questions in the lead-up to Gokhan Saki’s UFC debut, including whether or not he could defend a takedown. Saki answered these questions and more by slugging it out with Henrique Da Silva and landing a knockout blow when it looked like the tide was turning against him.
After entering the UFC as a 10-0 prospect, Da Silva delivered and won his first two bouts. Since then, however, he’s lost four fights in a row, two of which were first-round stoppages. Despite a competitive and entertaining performance, the UFC will definitely be considering whether or not he belongs in the UFC after UFC Fight Night 117.
Gokhan Saki didn’t want to touch gloves with Henrique Da Silva as they approached the center of the octagon. It makes sense, touching gloves will close the distance between him and an opponent and he wants to operate at a safe distance from them.
Saki immediately began cruelly beating down on Henrique Da Silva, who chose to cover up and defend from the onslaught of punches rather than use footwork to evade and create space. Saki’s eyes were wide open as he was paying close attention to every move of Da Silva. It didn’t take long for a crisp straight left hand to send Henrique Da Silva to the canvas.
— UFC (@ufc) September 23, 2017
Right after feeling the power of Gokhan Saki, Da Silva shot in for a takedown attempt but Saki (to the surprise of many that were watching) successfully stuffed the takedown. Saki began to feint, which created hesitancy in Da Silva’s movements. Every time Da Silva covered up, Saki would unpack powerful series of punches to the head. The one punch that keeps landing is the left hook from Saki, which is proving to be a lethal weapon.
Just as looked like Da Silva was being eaten alive by the strikes of Gokhan Saki, Da Silva landed three damaging knees to the stomach of his opponent. For the first time, a change of expression had appeared on Da Silva’s face as he witnessed a fatiguing Gokhan Saki with his hands on his hips.
Da Silva began backing Saki into the cage before throwing down punch after punch. Saki was answering, but it didn’t look to be enough to keep up with the ferocious pace of Da Silva.
And then… BOOM! Gokhan Saki connected with a picture-perfect knockout blow.
Gokhan Saki’s power is overwhelming. Da Silva stood up to the striking of the kickboxing legend but was eventually baited into a brawl with one of the greatest strikers of all time.
Fight rating: 75/100
Gokhan Saki is going to be incredibly dangerous for most opponents in the first round. After that, he will likely gas out and be reduced to a dangerous punching bag.
His power and accuracy are unmatched. Standing toe-to-toe with him is going to be a recipe for disaster.
His takedown defense was somewhat impressive, but Da Silva isn’t a takedown artist and the shots came after Da Silva already had a foggy head.
Henrique Da Silva
Henrique Da Silva has some heart. He was being bashed in the first minutes of the fight but withstood the beatdown knowing that he may be able to overwhelm Saki as the fight progressed. He looked to be on the path to victory before engaging in a blow-for-blow battle.
Da Silva’s takedown attempts were poor, but his clinch work was excellent – especially after the two had separated.
Jake Nichols is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief. Previously, he was the MMA Editor at RealSport.