August Sakai, who boasted an impressive nine knockouts heading into UFC Sao Paulo, made a big splash in his promotional debut, stopping Chase Sherman in the third round after an entertaining heavyweight war.
Former Bellator MMA heavyweight Augusto Sakai was making his UFC debut at UFC Sao Paulo on Saturday. There, the latest addition to the UFC’s heavyweight ranks was set to meet the promotion’s ‘GIF King’ in Chase Sherman. It was a key fight for Sherman, who had lost two straight, and was fighting out his contract at UFC Fight Night 137.
In the end, it was another big win for the Brazilian contingent. Sherman landed a heavy kick to the midsection of Sakai early, but the Brazilian answered back with a punishing leg kick. The pair then exchanged leg kicks, while trying to work out distance and one another’s timing. Both men would start to open up and land combinations as the round progressed. By the end of the frame Sherman had come on strong, getting his jab going. Sakai attempted a jumping knee, but it was ‘The Vanilla Gorilla’ who beat the buzzer with a heavy standing elbow.
Round two opened but was quickly paused by an eye poke from Sherman. Once they resumed, the heavyweight pair engaged immediately, exchanging, with both men landing at various points. The back and forth battle continued, with Sherman backing Sakai up to the fence. Sherman would win that exchange, but Sakai would rally back, landing a combo out in the middle of the octagon that was finished by a pair of uppercuts, though the second missed. Still, that at least briefly resulted in a momentum change. Sherman seemed to be tiring, just as Sakai apparently found a second wind.
The third round opened with Sakai coming out as the aggressor. Kicks, punches over the top, and pressing forward had Sherman in danger. Sherman would hold his own, but soon Sakai began unloading, landing a number of right hands, heavy shots, stringing together combo after combo. Somehow, Sherman stayed standing, though wobbled and bloodied. He backed Sakai up, who may have tired himself out with that earlier attack. A knee to the body cumpled Sherman, however, but the American willed himself back up only to eat several more knees and heavy punches. Knee after knee seemed to connect to Sherman’s chin. Somehow, he stayed in it, reversing, only to be thrown to the ground! Sakai got on top in side control and began dropping elbows, but Sherman fought back just enough to prevent a stoppage, at least momentarily. A few moments later, and a few hammer fists, and Sakai had the stoppage!
An impressive debut from Sakai, and an a great effort from Sherman, who showed heart and an impressive chin, but ultimately dropped his third fight in a row in the loss.
Augusto Sakai def. Chase Sherman by TKO, Round 3, 4:03