Kickboxing legend Gokhan Saki has laughed off Henrique da Silva’s prediction of a first-round knockout when the pair face off at UFC Japan tonight.
Saki and the Brazilian shared an intense face off after weighing in yesterday, and from what “The Turkish Tyson” saw in his opponent, he believes that da Silva doubts himself as he approaches the main card clash in Saitama.
“During the faceoff, what I saw in his eyes is that he is not confident,” Saki told MMAFighting.com. “He knows what’s going to happen tomorrow – that’s what I could see in his eyes.”
Da Silva told MMA Fighting's Guilherme Cruz that he plans to walk the former K-1 and Glory champion down and end his night with a straight punch. Based on his forecast, Saki doesn’t think da Silva understands what fighting is.
“I don’t know why these people say (things like that),” Saki said in reaction to da Silva’s prediction.
“It makes me think that they don’t know what fighting is. I don’t understand how he can say he will beat me by KO.
“Every fight starts standing. Even if it’s on the ground or whatever, if they understand what fighting is, they would never talk like this. The people who say these things are hating on me. I don’t know a lot of other people that really think he is going to knock me out.”
Speaking to Sherdog.com on the announcement of his UFC debut, Saki claimed that Jon Jones would be his dream fight in MMA and predicted that it would take him a year to ascend to a title fight within the organization.
Now that Jones’ future is in jeopardy after he was recently flagged for a USADA violation, Saki thinks it will be every bit as difficult to climb to the top of the division.
“Jon Jones is a very good fighter, but Jon Jones is not in this division at the moment. I don’t think it will make the light-heavyweight division any easier because there are so many good fighters in the division,” he said.
“It’s not going to be easy, it will be a fight until the end. Anything can happen with these small gloves. All I know is that I’m training very hard, and I’m hitting very hard. I’m ready for everybody.”
Although some doubt whether Saki has the grappling acumen to hold his own at the top of the division, he is ready to usher in a new era of striking at UFC Japan.
“I’m going to bring something new to this whole game. It won’t be just at light heavyweight, every weight division and everybody in the sport is going to be excited when they see what I do,” Saki explained.
“I’m going to share something crazy in there and people are going to get even more excited to watch my fights, and to watch the UFC.”
Of course, the best way to make a good first impression would be to claim a signature knockout in his promotional bow:
“That would be the best thing for me. A fight is a fight. If I can finish it in the first second, I will finish it in the first second. It will not take long. I will take the risks. It would be amazing for me to come away with the big KO.”
The MMA fan base have questioned whether Saki will be able to deploy his lethal combinations, his spinning back kicks and his patented left hook – “The Saki Bomb” – as he transitions to MMA. The debutant insists that after over two years in the sidelines he is better than ever.
“They know my striking style. They know how I am. The thing is, we have had two and a half years away and I’m still explosive, I’m still powerful and like lightening with my footwork.
“Everything is the same as it was, but I am stronger in my mind. Everyone will see a better version of me and more than what they have seen before.”
For that reason, Saki doubts that da Silva will make it out of round one.
“I don’t think the fight will go past the first round, I really don’t think so,” he said.
“Maybe if it was just three minutes he would have a chance because he could just run away. Five minutes is long enough for me to kick his ass.”