Ovince Saint Preux didn’t blink at the change of opponent he faced on just over a week’s notice, and it showed with his performance against Yushin Okami in the main event of UFC Fight Night in Japan on Friday.
It was quite the finish from Saint Preux, who out grappled a noted wrestler in Okami after the fight hit the mat in the early part of the opening round. Once Okami made an ill-advised attempt to go for a guillotine choke on the ground, Saint Preux saw the opening for his favorite submission.
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OSP latched on to Okami’s arm and pressed his shoulder down into the neck, setting up the rarely seen Von Flue choke before putting away the former middleweight title challenger in the opening round. Incredibly, for as rare as the Von Flue choke is inside the Octagon, that was the third time Saint Preux has earned a win with that particular submission.
Of course, because Saint Preux was facing a late replacement, it’s no wonder he was a huge favorite going into the card according to fantasy players, with an overwhelming 87 percent picking him to win over Okami, although 80 percent did predict a finish by knockout, so the submission was still a bit of a surprise.
In the co-main event, Jessica Andrade put on the best performance of her UFC career as she punished former title contender Claudia Gadelha over three rounds to earn a unanimous decision win. Andrade was one fight removed from facing strawweight queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk, but she looked better than ever as she dismantled Gadelha on the ground to get the win.
Despite her credentials going into the fight, Andrade was a massive underdog with only 15 percent of fantasy players picking her to beat Gadelha on Friday night. It was quite the showing for Andrade, who sent a strong statement to the rest of the division with her victory.
Dong Hyun Kim needed less than a round to put away former PRIDE champion Takanori Gomi in a lightweight matchup where 68 percent of fantasy players predicted his win on the card.
Meanwhile, former kickboxing superstar Gokhan Saki earned a Performance of the Night bonus for his jaw-dropping one-punch knockout over Henrique da Silva in a light heavyweight matchup on the main card. While his kickboxing credentials were well known, Saki was only selected by 38 percent of fantasy players, but his win also earned an extra 40 points because it was his UFC debut.
Teruto Ishihara survived a back and forth battle with Rolando Dy to earn a win in his fight after 86 percent of fantasy players picked him going into the card. Top 10-ranked flyweight Jussier Formiga also made short work of Ulka Sasaki with a first-round rear naked choke finish with 74 percent of fantasy players selecting him in the opening bout of the main card.
On the prelims, Keita Nakamura pulled off the upset with his split decision win over Alex Morono after just 36 percent of fantasy players selected him on the card. The same could be said for Syuri Kondo, who got a split decision victory over Chanmi Jeon in a women’s strawweight fight with just 40 percent of fantasy players picking her. Kondo also earned a whopping 160 point bonus for those players picking her because it was such a tight matchup and also because it was her UFC debut.
Shinsho Anzai was also another impressive bonus fighter on Friday night as he pulled off a victory over Luke Jumeau by decision with 51 percent of fantasy players picking him but also delivering an extra 175 points because he was an underdog according to the odds makers going into the card.
Daichi Abe closed out the card with yet another upset as he earned a decision win over Hyun Gyu Lim with just 24 percent of fantasy players picking him.
At the end of the night, the card was split, with five favorites getting wins and five underdogs pulling off the upsets according to the fight selections made by fantasy players for UFC Fight Night: Saint Preux vs. Okami.