If you liked Gokhan Saki’s Ultimate Fighting Championship debut, the kickboxing ace is confident you’ll appreciate his sophomore outing.
In his second Octagon appearance, “The Rebel” will take on “Ultimate Fighter” Season 23 finalist Khalil Rountree in a light heavyweight contest at UFC 219. Saki revealed the pairing Monday via social media.
“My first fight... they loved the fight. The second fight... they will love me!” Saki tweeted. “Las Vegas are you ready?!”
Gokhan Saki (@gokhantherebel) October 9, 2017
Saki made his MMA debut back in July 2004, when he was punched out by British UFC vet James Zikic. Turning his attention away from the cage, the Dutch-based Turkish fighter would become a kickboxing star over the next 13 years, becoming a K-1 standout and winning the Glory Kickboxing light heavyweight title by topping Tyrone Spong in April 2014.
In the wake of a contract dispute with Glory, Saki moved on from kickfighting and began training at Allstars Training Center in Stockholm, Sweden, with the likes of Alexander Gustafsson, Ilir Latifi and Jimi Manuwa — all also UFC 205-pounders. He made his Octagon debut at UFC Fight Night 117 in Saitama, Japan this past September, destroying Henrique da Silva and putting him away with a devastating left hook in the first round.
Rountree, 27, was defeated via unanimous decision in the TUF 23 light heavyweight final by Andrew Sanchez in July 2016, then returned just over four months later, where he was choked out by Australian prospect Tyson Pedro. “The War Horse” has found his stride in 2017, however, recording brutal, first-round knockouts of Daniel Jolly and Paul Craig.
UFC 219 takes place Dec. 30 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. No main event has been announced yet but the promotion’s year-end bill already boasts a bantamweight bout between former two-time UFC champion Dominick Cruz and top contender Jimmie Rivera, coveted strawweight prospect Cynthia Calvillo facing inaugural UFC 115-pound champ Carla Esparza, a flyweight clash between Matheus Nicolau Pereira and Louis Smolka and the return of former UFC interim welterweight titlist Carlos Condit, who meets Neil Magny.