Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight knockout artists Gokhan Saki and Khalil Rountree collided last night (July 7, 2018) at UFC 226 from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Saki may just be 1-1 as a professional fighter, but there’s a reason fans are so excited. “The Turkish Tyson” is an insanely decorated kickboxer, and his UFC debut was a spectacular knockout win. There were things to improved from that fight, sure, but as Israel Adesanya showed just 24 hours prior, amazing things happen when those adjustments are made.
As for Rountree, the American had plenty of potential as well. Though still early in his career, Rountree’s knockout power was already fearsome, and he came out looking to show Saki to downside of 4 oz. gloves.
Shockingly, he succeeded.
Saki stalked his opponent methodically, blasting at his opponent with right kicks. To his credit, Rountree blocked well and didn’t absorb anything too cleanly. Rountree also made his speed advantage clear, bouncing forward with fast combinations of dangerous punches.
Unbothered, Saki continued to move forward switching stances and looking to land kicks. Suddenly, Rountree responded to a low kick with a cross down the center. It connected directly on the chin, and Saki went down hard. Saki seemed more surprised than anyone, simply covering up underneath a barrage of hammer fists.
The referee called the contest about 90 seconds in.
There isn’t much to analyze here. Rountree stayed tight defensively and let Saki come forward, looking for his moment to land with giant power. Last time out, his desire to wait for the perfect shot cost him rounds, but it worked out pretty perfectly this time. It helps Rountree that Saki didn’t really hide his intentions. The kickboxer clearly wanted to stalk and kick, but he did not set up his kicks with punches at all. As a result, Rountree was able to read the naked low kick, and he was definitely fast enough to capitalize.
One punch was all it took.
As for Saki, it’s easier to throw naked kicks when you have large gloves to cover your face. With those little MMA gloves, he was much closer to a sitting duck. Naked low kicks are seriously dangerous to throw in MMA and better be well-timed or at least hidden by feints. It’s likely that Saki has been working on his defensive grappling, but there are important striking adjustments to make as well, and Saki is learning that the hard way.
Last night, Khalil Rountree flattened his foe quickly. Just how high is the power puncher’s ceiling?
For complete UFC 226: “Miocic Vs. Cormier” results and play-by-play, click HERE!
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