Sanford MMA’s Takashi Sato returns to the octagon this weekend at UFC Vegas 7, looking for his second win of the pandemic era.
The native of Tokyo, Japan (fighting out of Niigata prefecture) became known for big finishes in Pancrase, prior to joining the UFC last year. He’s now 2-1 inside the octagon, with both his wins coming by stoppage. The last one, against Jason Witt at UFC Vegas 4 in June, took just 48 seconds to secure.
This weekend, Sato (16-3) faces Daniel Rodriguez, an explosive opponent in his own right.
“He has the power to knock out any opponent. He also can finish fights on the ground as well. He’s very aggressive,” Sato said during the UFC Vegas 7 media day this week. Giving his thoughts on Rodriguez to Cageside Press, he added that “I understand his game plan, and I have to be prepared for this fight.”
“I think definitely this one is going to be an aggressive fight,” he predicted, before adding “but I’m always looking for a knockout. I also can finish the fight on the ground as well. I’m looking to have a very exciting fight, and get more recognized by both the UFC and the fans.”
That would be ideal. Japanese fighters have had mixed results in the UFC in recent years. Perhaps the most well-known has been Yushin Okami, who in 2011 faced Anderson Silva for middleweight gold. 30-year old Sato hadn’t even started his MMA career yet.
Sato entered MMA after competing in Judo in his early 20s, in fact. He went pro in 2013, and he’s shown impressive striking for a fighter who started somewhat late by modern standards. Out of his 16 wins, 11 have come by KO/TKO.
The smaller cage at the UFC Apex this weekend, something Sato has experienced before, may help land knockout number 12. Sato’s not worried either way, however. “I don’t really care if it’s a smaller cage,” he stated. “As long as I can move around and stick with my game plan, my style, it should be fine.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 7 virtual media day press scrum with Takashi Sato above. The event takes place Saturday, August 22 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.