Ulka Sasaki was forced to tap to a rear-naked choke initiated by the Jussier Formiga late into the first round at UFC Fight Night 117 in Japan.
With the win, Formiga rose to 20-5 while Sasaki fell to 20-5. This was a much-needed bounce back victory by Formiga after losing to Ray Borg, who is now challenging for the UFC Flyweight Championship. Formiga has now cemented himself in the tier below the ‘good guys’ such as Joseph Benavidez, Henry Cejudo, and Ray Borg, and is miles above the lower-ranked opponents in the division.
Ulka Sasaki is now 3-4 in the UFC and 1-2 in 2017. With losses to Wilson Reis and now Jussier Formiga on his record, his weakness is clearly against the better grapplers in the division.
Sasaki falls to #17 in our Flyweight Rankings, while Jussier Formiga jumps to #6 after UFC Fight Night 117.
Ulka Sasaki’s length was causing problems for Jussier Formiga early in the fight as Sasaki maintained a safe operating distance and pounded away at his opponent with kicks and straight punches. Formiga connected with a brutal right hand in the first minute of the fight, but it was his only stand-out moment while the fight was standing.
Just as Sasaki was beginning to control the pace and operating distance of the fight, Jussier Formiga rushed in for a double leg takedown and immediately looked to pass through Sasaki’s guard. Sasaki used his long limbs to recover, but almost as soon as he transitioned to full guard, Formiga had already begun moving into half guard again.
As Formiga moved into full guard, Sasaki attempted to scramble to his back and shake his opponent but Formiga showcased incredible control and maintained dominant position by switching to the back of Sasaki. Formiga dug his hooks and Sasaki was bustling to scramble out of the position. Formiga rained down some heavy shots from above and when Sasaki was forced to defend the strikes with his hands, Formiga dug for the rear-naked choke and secured the submission before forcing Sasaki to tap.
— UFC (@ufc) September 23, 2017
Jussier Formiga vs Ulka Sasaki
Jussier Formiga’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is some of the best in the UFC. We’ll remember the way he controlled Sasaki on the mat, in particular through the scrambles. Also, Ulka Sasaki’s length may not be as tricky as advertised.
Fight rating: 59/100
Jussier Formiga took a little while to get going. He was hesitant in the stand-up against the incredible length and size of Ulka Sasaki. After experiencing problems on the feet, though, Formiga took the fight to the mat and showcased incredible control, positioning and submission attacks.
Ulka Sasaki’s stand-up looked to have improved. He was getting into the flow of things just as Jussier Formiga initiated the takedown. When there, he was comfortable on his back and transitioned back to full guard. When Formiga advanced to mount, Sasaki tried to shake him by scrambling, but it didn’t work against the veteran who dug his hooks and remained in control.