This was an entertaining card with great matchups, fights to the last bell, and a surprising main event finish. Let's get into it.
Abe vs. Gyu
In the opening fight of the night we had a 170 lb. Contest between Daichi Abe and Hyun Gyu Lim. In the first round, there were back and forth fireworks as both men exchanged - Lim with leg kick landings but also ate right counter punches from Abe. Abe began to land hooks and as the round ended, Abe landed a great right. In the second, there were more exchanges and an eye poke by Lim. After the doctor made sure it was ok, they resumed the exchange and Abe landed a right that dropped Lim. The final round was more cautious but towards the end Abe threw as much as he could for the finish, and his effort got him the decision victory. Daichi Abe defefeated Hyun Gyu Lim via unanimous decision.
Anzai vs. Jumeau
In the next fight of the night we had another welterweight contest between Shinsho Anzai and Luke Jumeau. Anzai pushed the pace in the first shooting for takedowns and landed some good strikes. Jumeau wasn't fazed by his shots and continued to circle away and look for counters. Anzai ate some shots from Jumeau going into the clinch and the round ended. In the second, we saw Anzai's power again as he connected with Jumeau once again. He followed this with a successful takedown but Jumeau was able to get up quickly. Jumeau began to come back with his own striking but then Anzai landed another takedown in the middle of the cage and ended the second while in top control.
In the third there was more grappling engaged by Anzai but Jumeau was able to do a good job of stuffing takedowns and getting back to his feet. Anzai connected with more punches and went for another takedown and the time ran out as they grappled against the cage. Shinsho Anzai defeated Luke Jumeau via unanimous decision.
Jeon vs. Kondo
In the first Strawweight bout of the night we had Chanmi Jeon go up against Syuri Kondo. The first round began with constant forward momentum by Syuri. She walked forward and stayed in the pocket with Jeon as both women threw punches and landed, but nothing major. Syuri began to land right hands on Jeon and another to break the clinch. The round ended as Kondo clinched and landed a couple of knees.
In the second, we saw more back and forth action. Jeon began to time Syuri's combos and landed some kicks, but Kondo timed her kick at one point and landed a good overhand right. As this round ended, Kondo put more constant pressure on Jeon and was landing more and harder strikes. In the third, we saw more of the same as Kondo came forward on Jeon and landed more overhand rights. Jeon was demonstrating her counter ability more and more, but Kondo landed more strikes overall and after a missed spinning backfist by Kondo and an eyepoke accusation by Jeon, the fight ended with both women swinging but Kondo was the clear winner. Syuri Kondo beat Chanmi Jeon via split decision.
Morono vs. Nakamura
In the last preliminary bout of the night, Alex Morono faced off against Keita Nakamura. The first round began with standup exchanges. Nakamura landed good counters as Morono came forward and although he landed a couple of rights, Nakamura ate them and continued to counter well. He landed a good body kick but stayed patient and the round ended. The second was more of the same as Morono was trying to land a 1-2 conisisting of a jab and overhand right but was unsuccessful as Nakamura continued to avoid and counter this combo. He timed Morono well and was firing off good combinations. He landed another good body kick towards end of the second.
In the third, Morono continued forward with combos but this time Nakamura was able to take him down but they got back to the feet. In this round, Morono found a flush elbow and later tried to pull guard into a guillotine but failed. As the round ended, Morono continued unsuccessfully with jabbing towards Nakamura. Keita Nakamura defeated Alex Morono via unanimous decision.
da Silva vs. Sasaki
In the first main card fight we have a Flyweight matchup between Jussier 'Formiga' da Silva, and Ulka Sasaki. This one didn't go past the first round and it began with some standup exchanges and a good body kick by Sasaki. Formiga took note of this and defended well, eventually landed a takedown on Sasaki. Formiga passed into mount, Sasaki gave up his back, and this was the beginning of the end. Formiga locked up a body triangle and then looked for the Rear naked choke. After briefly fighting Sasaki's hands, he got his forearm under the chin, lifted up with the other and grabbed his bicep, and locked up the choke. Sasaki tapped.. Jussier Formiga defeats Ulka Sasaki by submission in round 1.
Ishihara vs. Dy
Next, we had a Featherweight bout between Teruto Ishihara and Rolando Dy. The fight began with Isihara dropping Dy, as he caught a lazy kick and landed a left hand that dropped Rolando. He tried to go for the finish but can't find it and instead went to the ground with Dy. They made their way to the fence and on their feet and exchange as the first round ended.
The second round began with Ishihara starting strong, but Dy returning with a knee and accidental low blow. They resumed after Ishihara recovered and they had a good exchange of strikes including kicks and hooks to the head. Both fighters toughed it out through, and Dy was the one landing more shots in this exchange as he was more precise and powerful with his shots, as Ishihara swung a bit wild. The round ended with Dy connecting with a good left hand.
In the third, Ishihara began to attack the legs of Dy. He attempted a takedown but was unsuccessful. However, Dy then threw a knee that was a clear low blow and as Ishihara fell, prompting referee John Sharp to call time. Ishihara recovered and began to press forward but ate a couple more shots from Dy. They clinched briefly then separated, then Dy threw a low kick that hit Ishihara's cup dead on and he fell. Referee John Sharp then called time again and Ishihara indicated he can recover, as Dy was penalized for the repeated low blows and had a point taken away. Ishihara dropped Dy one more time after he recovered but can't finish him, but did enough to get the win. Teruto Ishihara defeated Rolando Dy via unanimous decision.
Saki vs. da Silva
Now the we come to the incredible debut of kickboxing legend "the Turkish Tyson" Gokhan Saki. He went up against Henrique da Silva. The match began with Saki coming forward aggressively. He landed a huge left hand that dropped the Brazilian. Da Silva returned to his feet and shot for a takedown but Saki defended well, and after separating he landed a huge right hand and low kick combination. He continued pressure and landed more devastating punches to da Silva's head and body. He slowed down a bit, and da Silva clinched him, but they separated as the Brazilian landed a knee. He then came forward with an elbow and a punch that caught Saki. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Saki looking hurt exploded forward with a right then a decimating left hand that caught da Silva square on the chin sending him down to the canvas, scrambled. Referee Greg Kleynjans stopped the fight. Gokhan Saki won his UFC debut by KO at 4:45 of round 1.
Kim vs. Gomi
In the next fight, we saw a quick one sided display of power in a lightweight bout between Dong Hyun 'Maestro' Kim and Takanori Gomi. The fight began and after some movement and a couple of exchanges, Kim landed a powerful right hand that sent Gomi down to the canvas. He was stunned and Kim followed him down then landing a flurry of ground and pound strikes that would then lead to Referee Steve Perceval to step in and stop the fight. Dong Hyun 'Maestro' Kim by TKO 1:30 seconds into round 1.
Gahelda vs. Andrade
Now in the second and most important Strawweight bout of the night, #1 Contender Claudia Gadelha takes on #4 ranked Jessica Andrade.
In the first round, both women exchanged great strikes with Claudia landing first. She landed good elbows that cut Andrade. Andrade however, came back and got a hold of Claudia against the cage and landed a huge slam takedown. Claudia got up and looked for a guillotine by pulling guard, but failed to secure it and Andrade ended up on top finding success with huge ground and pound strikes, especially her left hand. She finished the round in this position.
In the second, there's more of the same striking exchanges but Andrade was coming aggressively with punches. They clinched and Claudia looked for the takedown but was denied, and Andrade got the takedown instead. Andrade was back on top raining down good peppering strikes. She ate knees getting up and Andrade pushed forward, catching Claudia with more and more punches. She tried once more for a takedown which failed again, and Andrade was back on top with more ground and pound. Claudia worked back up to the feet once more and she dropped down for a guillotine but the round ended.
In the third, Andrade came forward once more and as she threw Claudia shoots for a double leg but Andrade stuffed it and put Claudia against the fence. She then lifted and slammed Claudia powerfully once again. She followed up with ground and pound as Claudia was trying to work out of side control. She rolled over and continued to get hit by relentless punches from Andrade. Claudia got up towards the end of the fight and tried for one more guillotine but Andrade slammed her once more, the exclamation point of her dominant performance. Jessica Andrade defeated Claudia Gadelha via unanimous decision.
St. Preux vs. Okami
In the main event, we have a main event finish that silenced the crowd at the Saitama Super Arena. In this fight between Ovince St. Preux and Yushin Okami, one thing was certain. Grappling would be the factor. Indeed it was as the fight began, as Okami shot for a takedown and got into half guard on the bottom. Okami failed a sweep and got out of the headlock of OSP, but reached for a guillotine from the bottom. However, OSP began wrapping his left arm around the neck of Okami and with his right, wrapped around the back. He's going for his signature move, the Von Flue Choke. Okami didn't read this and held onto the guillotine, and as OSP tightened his grip around the neck of Okami he passed to left Side control, fully leaning his arm and shoulder into Okami's neck, and before anyone realized what was going on, Referee Leon Roberts stepped in and OSP released the hold on Okami letting his limp arms fall as he lay unconsious. Ovince St. Preux defeated Yushin Okami via Technical Submission 1:50 into round 1.
Overall, this card was a very entertaining showcase to bring to the Saitama Super Arena. OSP showcased his grappling dominance with his 3rd Shoulder choke finish in the UFC. Jessica Andrade showed that she is essentially one of the top strawweights in the world with a dominant performance against Claudia Gadelha. One would think that she could be the next challenger for the 115lb belt, but another win in the division would essentially cement that.