It didn’t take famed kickboxer Gokhan Saki long to get his second UFC fight. The promotion announced on Monday that Saki, fresh of his UFC debut win at UFC Saitama last month, would return at UFC 219 in December. Opposite him in the octagon will be Ultimate Fighter alum Khalil Rountree.
For Saki (1-1), it’s a chance to show that his successful debut in the UFC was no fluke. The former Glory kickboxing heavyweight champ faced Henrique da Silva in Saitama and knocked him out during an exchange in the first round. However, Saki had begun to show signs of fatigue in the fight, and would later admit that his cardio needed work.
The win brought Saki’s MMA record to 1-1, though it’s worth noting that the loss came over a decade ago, when a much greener Saki took a short notice fight in 2004 at Cage Fighting Championships 1. He lost that bout to James Zikic via TKO.
The fact that Saki had not competed for over two years prior to his UFC debut also likely contributed to his cardio issues. Ergo, his appearance at UFC 219 should be telling.
Khalil Rountree (6–2), who appeared on season 23 of The Ultimate Fighter, currently stands at 2-2 in the promotion. He’ll enter the bout against Saki on a two fight win streak, with his most recent victory being a KO of Paul Craig at UFC Fight Night 113 in July.
Both fighters like to throw hands, making Saki’s sophomore UFC appearance a potentially explosive one.
UFC 219 takes place December 30 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. No main event has yet been announced for the card.