Gökhan Saki

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Gökhan Saki
Gokhan-Saki2.jpg
Born (1983-10-19) October 19, 1983 (age 35)
Schiedam, Netherlands
Other namesThe Rebel
NationalityTurkish and Dutch
Height6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight93 kg (205 lb; 14 st 9 lb)
DivisionHeavyweight
Light heavyweight
Reach73 12 in (187 cm)
StyleKickboxing, Muay Thai
Fighting out ofKars, Turkey[1]
TeamMike's Gym (2012–present)
Golden Glory (2001–2012)
Pasztjerik (1993–2001)
TrainerMike Passenier
Cor Hemmers
Jan Pasztjerik
Years active2000–2015 (Kickboxing)
2004, 2017–present (MMA)
Kickboxing record
Total96
Wins83
By knockout59
Losses12
By knockout6
Draws0
No contests1
Mixed martial arts record
Total3
Wins1
By knockout1
Losses2
By knockout2
Other information
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog
last updated on: August 13, 2015

Gökhan Saki (born October 19, 1983[2][3]) is a Dutch-Turkish mixed martial artist and former kickboxer. Fighting out of Kars, Turkey, he is two-time Dutch and European Muay Thai champion, K-1 World GP 2006 in Amsterdam tournament finalist and K-1 World Grand Prix 2008 in Hawaii champion as the first ever Turkish fighter to hold a K-1 tournament title. He is the former Glory Light Heavyweight Champion, winning the inaugural title by defeating Nathan Corbett in the semi finals, followed by Tyrone Spong in the finals. On May 25, 2017, it was announced Saki had signed a multi-fight contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship[4] to compete in their Light-Heavyweight division (205lbs).

Early life[edit]

Saki was born and raised in Schiedam, Netherlands to immigrant parents from Turkey,[5] both hailing from the Selim district of the Kars Province.[6] Saki began training in kickboxing at the age of 10 when he also began playing soccer, but eventually quit soccer at the age of 16 because of his preference for kickboxing.[7]

Kickboxing career[edit]

His initial trainer was Jan Pasztjerik, under whom he became Dutch, European and World Muay Thai champion within three years, before moving to the Golden Glory gym in 2003. In 2006, he returned to Pasztjerik as he embarked on a joint production with Golden Glory and Pasztjerik. Training at Golden Glory with Cor Hemmers, Saki became a well-known fighter as he took wins over André Tete, Vitali Akhramenko and Henriques Zowa, while also facing well-established fighters such as Badr Hari and Nicholas Pettas. Despite his success under Hemmers, Saki considers Pasztjerik as the main influence who helped him develop to the fighter he would become.

2006–2007[edit]

Saki made his K-1 debut at the K-1 World Grand Prix 2006 in Amsterdam on May 13, 2006 where he defeated Alexey Ignashov in the quarter-finals and Rani Berbachi in the semis, before losing to Bjorn Bregy by first round knockout in tournament finals.

Saki returned to K-1 in March the following year, taking on Hiromi Amada at the K-1 World Grand Prix 2007 in Yokohama and winning via technical knockout by using Dutch-style low kicks. On June 23, 2007, he defeated Mourad Bouzidi at the K-1 World Grand Prix 2007 in Amsterdam by unanimous decision.

He finished off the year by taking a unanimous decision victory over Russian muay Thai fighter Magomed Magomedov at K-1 Fighting Network Turkey 2007 in Istanbul on November 2.

2008[edit]

On February 16, 2008, Saki won the World Full Contact Association (WFCA) World Thaiboxing Super Heavyweight (+95 kg) Championship by defeating Englishman Chris Knowles via TKO (left low kick) in his hometown of Schiedam. Following this, his next significant bout came in a super fight at the K-1 World Grand Prix 2008 in Amsterdam on April 26 where he knocked out Paul Slowinski with a left cross in the first round.

Following these impressive victories, he was invited to take part in the sixteen-man tournament at the K-1 World Grand Prix 2008 in Hawaii on August 9. Saki was able to win the tournament in devastating fashion by knocking out all three of his opponents, Deutsch Pu'u, Rick Cheek and Randy Kim. This victory earned Saki a place in the 2008 K-1 World Grand Prix final sixteen, and also marked the first time a Turkish fighter had won a K-1 Grand Prix.

Later that year at the K-1 World Grand Prix 2008 in Seoul Final 16 on September 27, he was drawn against legendary New Zealander Ray Sefo. After three rounds, the judges had scored the fight a decision draw so it went to an extra round to determine the winner, after which Saki was announced the victor by unanimous decision. Advancing to the final eight at the K-1 World Grand Prix 2008 Final on December 6, Saki defeated Ruslan Karaev in the quarter-finals before being knocked out by the eventual champion, Remy Bonjasky, in the semis by a jumping kick to the rib cage.[8]

2009[edit]

Gökhan Saki began 2009 with a defence of his WFCA World Thaiboxing Super Heavyweight Championship, finishing Germany's Arndt Bunk with a body shot in round 1 on February 28.

A month later, he took part in the K-1 World Grand Prix 2009 in Yokohama, an eight-man tournament to determine the inaugural K-1 Heavyweight (−100kg) Champion. In the semi-finals, his fight with Tyrone Spong went into an extra round where he was able to win via knockout. In the final, he faced Keijiro Maeda in a bout which also went into an extra round. However, he lost via majority decision this time.

He returned against Pavel Zhuravlev on August 2 in a super fight at the K-1 World Grand Prix 2009 in Seoul. He lost the fight via unanimous decision and also injured his knee in the fight, which meant that he could not participate in the World Grand Prix last sixteen.

He was still able to take part in a reserve fight at the K-1 World Grand Prix 2009 Final, however, where he faced the legendary Dutchman Peter Aerts. He was defeated via unanimous decision (30–27, 29–27, and 29–28), meaning that he had now lost three fights in a row.

2010[edit]

In early 2010, Saki was able to bounce back by taking two wins in January and February, including a defence of his WFCA Muay Thai title against Utley Meriana, before rejoining the K-1 circuit in April. He took a decision victory over Singh Jaideep at the K-1 World Grand Prix 2010 in Yokohama before taking on Melvin Manhoef in a highly anticipated bout at It's Showtime 2010 Amsterdam on May 29. Saki won via TKO in the second round after the referee stopped the fight due to Manhoef being knocked down three times.

Having made a full recovery from his injuries and poor form, Saki was invited to the K-1 World Grand Prix 2010 in Seoul Final 16 on October 2 where he knocked out Frenchman Freddy Kemayo[9] in the first round.[10] [11]

Following this, he entered the United Glory 2010/11 World Series at United Glory 12 fourteen days later where he KO'd Russian Nikolaj Falin in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Saki then returned to Japan for the K-1 World Grand Prix 2010 Final on December 11.[12] He faced Daniel Ghiţă in the quarter-finals and won by unanimous decision after four rounds. However, he broke his right hand during the fight and went on to battle Golden Glory teammate Alistair Overeem in the semis. Using only his left hand and his kicks, he managed to outpoint his larger opponent; knocking Overeem down with a spin kick that was not counted, although Alistair landed a heavy left kick to Saki's right elbow that was also broken in his quarter-final fight. The fight was stopped in the first round as Saki could not continue however he gained huge respect for his heart and courage.[13]

2011[edit]

After recuperating from the injuries he sustained in the K-1 Grand Prix, Saki returned to the United Glory World Series in March 2011 where he took a decision victory over Wendell Roche in the semis at United Glory 13.

He then went on to win the World Series at United Glory 14: 2010–2011 World Series Finals on May 28 in Moscow, Russia where he defeated Brice Guidon by decision.

2012[edit]

On January 28, 2012, Saki faced Badr Hari at It's Showtime 2012 in Leeuwarden in what was to be Hari's last kickboxing match before moving into boxing. Hari defeated Saki with ease, scoring three knockdowns in the first round before the referee stopped the fight, earning him a TKO victory. He dropped him with a right uppercut first, the second knockdown came by a right hook. Finally, he landed a right uppercut again which dropped Saki for the third time.[14][15]

When Saki's trainer, Cor Hemmers, took up a position working in the Glory promotion and was unable to spend as much time in the gym as before, Saki moved to Mike's Gym to train under Mike Passenier.[16]

He faced Mourad Bouzidi at Glory 2: Brussels on October 6, 2012 in Brussels, Belgium[17] and won by unanimous decision.[18]

Saki ended the year by competing in the sixteen-man 2012 Glory Heavyweight Grand Slam at Glory 4: Tokyo - 2012 Heavyweight Grand Slam in Saitama, Japan on December 31, 2012. Saki defeated Raoumaru with ease at the opening stage, flooring the out-matched Korean twice in round one and forcing the referee to stop the bout. Then, in the quarter-finals, he knocked out Anderson "Braddock" Silva with his patented left hook in the closing seconds of round one. Advancing to the semis, Saki was eliminated by the eventual tournament winner, Semmy Schilt. Dwarfed by eleven inches and outweighed by twenty seven kilograms, Saki's high work rate was not enough to outpoint Schilt and he lost on points after the judges awarded the giant Dutchman the first two rounds.[19][20][21]

2013–present[edit]

Saki rematched Daniel Ghiţă at Glory 6: Istanbul in Istanbul, Turkey on April 6, 2013 in a #1 contender's bout for the Glory Heavyweight Championship held by Semmy Schilt.[22] The fight started out a little rough, as Saki caught a kick from the Romanian. He then backed Ghiţă up and threw him to the mat with a sweep. Ghiţă landed hard, looking to have suffered an arm injury. According to Glory's official rules, leg sweeps and trips are illegal moves and should thusly be counted as such. Instead, referee Joop Ubeda counted it as a down as Ghiţă took a while to get to his feet.[23] Even though injured, round two saw again Ghiţă being more consistent but midway through the round, the Turk began landing heavy punches on him and simply did not let up, dropping durable Romanian three times to take a win via TKO after the referee stepped in, calling the fight.[24][25]

In the semi-finals of Glory 11: Chicago - Heavyweight World Championship Tournament in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, United States in October 2013, Saki gave a lackluster performance and was on the receiving end of a controversial knockdown in round one as he lost a majority decision to eventual tournament champion Rico Verhoeven.[26][27][28][29][30] On November 2, 2013, Saki released a statement declaring that he was looking into taking legal action against Glory over the decision.[31]

Saki was crowned the inaugural Glory Light Heavyweight Champion when he won the Glory 15: Istanbul - Light Heavyweight World Championship Tournament in Istanbul, Turkey on April 12, 2014. He faced Nathan Corbett in the semi-finals and was beginning to punish the Australian's body when blood began to leak from Corbett's right ear after an overhand left to the organ, leading the ringside physician to advise referee Al Wichgers to halt the fight at the 2:35 mark of round one. He then faced Tyrone Spong in a highly anticipated rematch in the final. Midway through the opening round, Spong threw a kick to Saki's left leg. Saki checked the kick, causing Spong's lower right leg to fracture immediately and end the fight via TKO.[32][33][34][35] Saki's sportsmanship of immediately tending to Spong was widely praised by the fans.[36]

Saki was stripped of the Glory light heavyweight title due to inactivity in Glory on July 27, 2015.

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Early in his kickboxing career, Saki also had a MMA bout. He faced James Zikic on July 11, 2004 at Cage Fighting Championships 1: Cage Carnage. He lost the fight via TKO.

Ultimate Fighting Championship[edit]

On May 25, 2017, Saki announced he had signed a multi-fight deal with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.[37] After an absence of two years, Gokhan is looking for a big comeback with his management team lead by Ali Fardi. Saki made his promotional debut against Henrique da Silva on September 23, 2017 at UFC Fight Night: Saint Preux vs. Okami.[38] He won the fight via knockout in the final seconds of the first round.[39] This win earned Saki his first Performance of the Night bonus award.[40]

Saki was expected to face Khalil Rountree on December 30, 2017 at UFC 219.[41] However, he was forced to pull out, citing knee injury and was replaced by Michal Oleksiejczuk.[42]

The bout against Rountree was then rescheduled and eventually took place at UFC 226 on July 7, 2018.[43] Saki lost the fight via TKO in the first round.[44]

Saki is scheduled to face Saparbek Safarov on March 16, 2019 at UFC Fight Night on ESPN+ 5.[45]

Personal life[edit]

Saki holds dual Dutch and Turkish nationality. He has stated that he respects Ramon Dekkers, and referred to Fedor Emelianenko as his favorite fighter.[5]

Championships and achievements[edit]

Kickboxing[edit]

Mixed martial arts[edit]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 1–2 Khalil Rountree Jr. KO (punches) UFC 226 July 6, 2018 1 1:36 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 1–1 Henrique da Silva KO (punch) UFC Fight Night: Saint Preux vs. Okami September 23, 2017 1 4:45 Saitama, Japan Performance of the Night.
Loss 0–1 James Zikic TKO (punches) Cage Fighting Championships 1: Cage Carnage July 11, 2004 N/A N/A Liverpool, England

[47]

Kickboxing record[edit]

Kickboxing record

Legend:   Win   Loss   Draw/No contest   Notes

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gökhan Saki profile
  2. ^ Profile of Gokhan Saki Archived 2011-02-10 at the Wayback Machine, K-1
  3. ^ "K1 topper Gökhan The rebel Saki te gast in FunXtra!", April 3, 2009, FunX Radio (in Dutch)
  4. ^ "UFC signs kickboxing superstar Gokhan Saki".
  5. ^ a b "Exclusive Interview : Gökhan Saki", August 1, 2009, Yahoo! Korea (in Korean)
  6. ^ "Dünya Şampiyonuna adına yakışır karşılama - Spor Haber Ajansı - Kars Haber haberleri KHA - Kafkas Haber Ajansı - Kars Haberleri - Kars Haber kars haberleri kars ajans". kha.com.tr.
  7. ^ K-1's official interview[permanent dead link], September 16, 2008, K-1 (in Japanese)
  8. ^ "Interview with Gokhan Saki". Kickbox.nl. Retrieved 2008-08-11.
  9. ^ "K-1 official site | Freddy Kemayo fighter's profile". K-1. Retrieved 2010-11-14.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "K-1 official site | Gokhan Saki fighter's profile". K-1. Retrieved 2010-11-14.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "K-1 official site | Final 16 – A Changing of the Guard". K-1. Archived from the original on 2010-10-05. Retrieved 2010-11-14.
  12. ^ "K-1 official site | K-1 World Grand Prix: The Stage is Set". K-1. Archived from the original on 2010-10-07. Retrieved 2010-11-14.
  13. ^ "K-1 WGP 2010: A Monster Crowned" Archived 2011-01-11 at the Wayback Machine by Stuart Tonkin, December 11, 2010, K-1
  14. ^ Walsh, Dave. (2012-01-28) Badr Hari drops Gökhan Saki three times in an impressive performance at It's Showtime 55. Liverkick.com. Retrieved on 2012-06-03.
  15. ^ Badr Hari Retires, Daniel Ghita the Man to Beat at Heavyweight. Liverkick.com. Retrieved on 2012-06-03.
  16. ^ Dave Walsh. "LiverKick Talks With Glory's Gokhan Saki". liverkick.com.
  17. ^ Dave Walsh. "GLORY 2 Brussels Final Fight Card For This Saturday". liverkick.com.
  18. ^ Dave Walsh. "GLORY 2 Brussels Live Results". liverkick.com.
  19. ^ Dave Walsh. "awarded the giant Dutchman the first two rounds". liverkick.com.
  20. ^ Dave Walsh. "DREAM 18 / GLORY 4 Tokyo Live Results". liverkick.com.
  21. ^ Dave Walsh. "Semmy Schilt Wins Over Daniel Ghita to Claim GLORY Grand Slam Crown". liverkick.com.
  22. ^ Dave Walsh. "Gokhan Saki vs. Daniel Ghita II at GLORY 6 in Istanbul". liverkick.com.
  23. ^ Fraser Coffeen. "Glory 6 Istanbul Ghita vs. Saki results, discussion, live stream, and full fight coverage". Bloody Elbow.
  24. ^ Dave Walsh. "GLORY 6 Istanbul: Daniel Ghita vs. Gokhan Saki, Live Results". liverkick.com.
  25. ^ Dave Walsh. "Gokhan Saki Levels Daniel Ghita, Moves on to Fight Sem Schilt". liverkick.com.
  26. ^ 4 Man Tournament with Daniel Ghita and Gohkan Saki Set for GLORY 11 Archived 2013-07-25 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ Dave Walsh. "GLORY 11 Main Event Confirmed as Corbett vs. Spong". liverkick.com.
  28. ^ "Tyrone Spong vs. Nathan Corbett and more confirmed for Glory 11 in Chicago - Muay Thai Authority". muaythaiauthority.com. Archived from the original on 2013-08-11.
  29. ^ Dave Walsh. "GLORY 11 Chicago Live Results and Discussion". liverkick.com.
  30. ^ "Glory 11 Results and Recap - Muay Thai Authority". muaythaiauthority.com. Archived from the original on 2013-10-18.
  31. ^ Dave Walsh. "LiverKick - LiverKick". liverkick.com.
  32. ^ "Video: Tyrone Spong suffers brutal leg break in GLORY 15 tourney final". MMAjunkie.
  33. ^ "Glory 15 Results and Recap - Muay Thai Authority". muaythaiauthority.com. Archived from the original on 2014-04-14.
  34. ^ GLORY 15 Results/Pictures: Saki wins title, Spong suffers horrific leg injury Archived 2014-04-13 at the Wayback Machine
  35. ^ "Gokhan Saki Wins Title, Tyrone Spong Suffers Gruesome Leg Injury at Glory 15". Sherdog.
  36. ^ "WSOF and GLORY Fighter Tyrone Spong Suffers Broken Leg at 'GLORY 15: Istanbul' - BJPENN.COM". BJPENN.COM.
  37. ^ "Kickboxing star Gokhan Saki signs with the UFC, calls it 'best investment the UFC has made since McGregor'". MMA Fighting. Retrieved 2017-06-17.
  38. ^ Guilherme Cruz (2017-07-14). "Gokhan Saki set to make UFC debut against Henrique da Silva in Japan". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2017-07-14.
  39. ^ "UFC Fight Night 117 results: Gokhan Saki KOs Henrique da Silva with vicious left". MMAjunkie. 2017-09-23. Retrieved 2017-09-23.
  40. ^ Mazique, Brian. "UFC Fight Night 117 Results, Highlights, Bonus Money Winners, Fight Scores, Attendance And Gate". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-09-23.
  41. ^ Coral Barry (2017-10-09). "Gokhan Saki back in UFC action against Khalil Rountree on New Year's Eve". metro.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-10-09.
  42. ^ "Gokhan Saki Out of UFC 219; Khalil Rountree Gets New Opponent for Year End Card | MMAWeekly.com". www.mmaweekly.com. Retrieved 2017-11-29.
  43. ^ DNA, MMA. "Gökhan Saki en Khalil Rountree Jr. alsnog tegen elkaar tijdens UFC 226 in Las Vegas". mmadna.nl. Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  44. ^ "UFC 226 results: Khalil Rountree Jr. knocks out Gokhan Saki". MMA Fighting. Retrieved 2018-07-08.
  45. ^ Oleś, Bartosz (2018-12-26). "Gokhan Saki vs. Saparbek Safarov planowane na UFC on ESPN+5 w Londynie". InTheCage.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  46. ^ "Kickboxer of the Year 2014: Gokhan Saki - Kickboxingplanet.com". Kickboxingplanet. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
  47. ^ Sherdog.com. "Gokhan". Sherdog. Retrieved 2018-12-27.

External links[edit]