Takashi Sato ruined the homecoming of Floridian Ben Saunders at UFC Fort Lauderdale with a bloody TKO win.
Ben Saunders is a longtime veteran of the sport who is in his third stint with the UFC. After going 4-3 in the Octagon from 2007 to 2010, “Killa B” was cut and signed with Bellator. Saunders went 7-3 there, losing to former champion Douglas Lima twice. After re-signing with the UFC in 2014, Saunders rattled off three wins in a row including the first omoplata finish in the promotion’s history. A streak-snapping loss to Patrick Cote was the last on his contract, and he won in an outside promotion before returning to the Octagon. The American Top Team product has not been as successful this time around, going 2-4 and losing by stoppage each time.
Takashi Sato will be making his promotional debut at UFC Fort Lauderdale. Sato made a name for himself in Pancrase with a 9-2 record for the promotion. The Japanese fighter is 14-2 in his MMA career with seven first-round knockouts.
Both fighters come out in the southpaw stance. Sato backs Saunders up with two hard inside leg kicks. The veteran fighter responds with a hard outside kick of his own. He charges in on a takedown but Sato just circles away from it.
They clinch and Saunders opens up with three hard knees. When they break he follows up with a low kick. He stings Sato with a lead hook. He follows up with a combination and a stiff jab.
Sato clocks Saunders with an overland left. This forces Saunders to shoot an ugly shot that Sato easily shakes off. Killa B opens up with a combo and a low kick.
Saunders gets hit with another overhand left but responds with a hard leg kick. Sato pops Saunders with two jabs but gets hit without leg kick as he attempts to dart away from the Floridian.
Saunders grabs the plum clinch and fires off some hard knees to the legs and the body. He presses the debuting fighter against the cage and continues to work the legs as the round expires.
Cageside Press Scored the First Round 10-9 Saunders
Saunders opens the round with a low kick and gets tagged with a hard overhand left. Killa B stays busy with a low kick but then gets floored by a straight right. Sato smashes Saunders with huge elbows that opens up a huge cut over the Floridian’s eye. The referee has mercy on Saunders and pulls the Japanese fighter off of Saunders giving the debuting fighter the win.
— UFC (@ufc) April 28, 2019
Takashi Sato def. Ben Saunders by TKO (Punches) in Round 2 (1:18)