Matches to Make After UFC Fight Night ‘St. Preux vs. Okami’

By Brian Knapp Sep 23, 2017

Jessica Andrade made her case for another crack at the Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s strawweight title, and she made it in the strongest possible terms.

The Parana Vale Tudo standout battered, bloodied and bested Claudia Gadelha in the UFC Fight Night 117 co-main event, picking up a surprisingly one-sided unanimous decision on Friday at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. Scores were 30-25, 30-26 and 30-27, Andrade doing enough damage to warrant three 10-8 rounds from the cageside judges.

Gadelha controlled the first half of the first round, but little else went her way. Andrade overwhelmed the Andre Pederneiras protégé with high-octane offense, pairing powerful slam takedowns with ferocious ground-and-pound. FightMetric statistics were staggering: Andrade executed four takedowns, five guard passes and outlanded the three-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion by a 242-47 margin in total strikes.

In the aftermath of UFC Fight Night “St. Preux vs. Okami,” here are five matches that ought to be made:

Jessica Andrade vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk-Rose Namajunas winner: Andrade has compiled a 4-1 record since putting down roots in the women’s strawweight division, a unanimous decision loss to the incomparable Jedrzejczyk the only blemish. She so thoroughly dominated Gadelha over the final 12 minutes of their encounter that she likely leapfrogged anyone standing in front of her in the line that has formed behind Jedrzejczyk at 115 pounds. “Joanna Champion” will defend her strawweight crown against Namajunas at UFC 217 on Nov. 4.

Ovince St. Preux vs. Volkan Oezdemir: Yushin Okami lay frozen and unconscious in the center of the Octagon, the latest victim in St. Preux’s Von Flue Choke World Tour. OSP put Okami to sleep 1:50 into the first round of their main event, countering an ill-advised guillotine attempt with the shoulder choke made famous by Jason Von Flue. It was the first submission defeat of Okami’s 45-fight career. St. Preux, 34, has responded to a three-fight losing streak by posting back-to-back finishes against Okami and Marcos Rogerio de Lima. Oezdemir, who eked out a split decision over St. Preux on Feb. 4, has rattled off five straight victories and emerged as an unlikely contender in the light heavyweight division.

Gokhan Saki vs. Gadzhimurad Antigulov-Ion Cutelaba winner: Saki’s anticipated promotional debut did not disappoint, as the 2006 K-1 World Grand Prix finalist wiped out Henrique da Silva with a sleeping left hook 4:45 into the first round of their light heavyweight showcase. The Turkish kickboxer waded through fatigue and overcame significant adversity before unleashing the fight-ending blow on the Brazilian. Saki becomes an immediate person of interest in the thin talent pool present at 205 pounds, though he likely needs more time to polish his secondary skills before challenging those who populate the top of the division. Antigulov and Cutelaba are set to do battle at UFC 217 on Nov. 4 in New York.

Dong Hyun Kim vs. Alex White: An action fighter in every sense of the term, Kim may have been the man to put former Pride Fighting Championships and Shooto titleholder Takanori Gomi out to pasture. “Maestro” handed Gomi his fifth straight defeat in their lightweight showcase, as he cut down the shopworn Japanese star with a lunging right hand and then mopped up the rest with punches and hammerfists. Gomi succumbed to blows 90 seconds into Round 1. Kim, 29, will carry a modest two-fight winning streak into his next appearance. White last competed at UFC 215 on Sept. 9, when he stopped Mitch Clarke with second-round punches and sent the Canadian grappler into retirement in Edmonton, Albert.

Jussier da Silva vs. Magomed Bibulatov-John Moraga winner: Da Silva excels against fighters who occupy the middle rungs of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s flyweight ladder. The Nova Uniao export has compiled a 6-4 record since joining the UFC roster in 2012, losing only to John Dodson, Joseph Benevidez, Henry Cejudo and Ray Borg. Even after submitting Yuta Sasaki with a rear-naked choke in the first round of their featured clash at UFC Fight Night 117, da Silva finds himself on the outside looking in as a possible title contender. Bibulatov, the undefeated former World Series of Fighting champion, will toe the line against Moraga at UFC 216 on Oct. 7.
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