Japan’s Takashi Sato looked to snap a three-fight skid when he took on Themba Gorimbo of South Africa early on Saturday’s UFC Vegas 73 preliminary card.
Gorimbo had lost his promotional debut to AJ Fletcher, and was in search of his first win in the promotion.
Takashi Sato began the fight fast and with forward pressure to try and close the distance over the long and rangy Gorimbo. It didn’t take long though for Gorimbo to attempt a takedown, but he subsequently found himself getting reversed momentarily. Gorimbo’s persistence saw him secure a takedown but was unable to do anything with it before Sato popped back up to his feet. Sato was having difficulty shaking “The Answer,” but he managed to reverse the cage control and secure his own takedown again. Gorimbo scrambled well and found himself on the back of the Japanese fighter, threatening a rear-naked-choke. The round finished with the key point being Gorimbo’s persistence.
Again to begin round two, Sato began with forward pressure and looked to close the distance but was immediately caught with a huge overhand right that seemed dropped Sato to his back and bounced his head off the canvas. Despite that, Gorimbo didn’t get the finish with the proceeding ground-and-pound and Sato made it back to his feet just a minute later. The non-stop output from Gorimbo carried on and he tried extremely hard for another takedown, but Sato reversed well again and hip tossed Gorimbo into side control. The determination of the Zimbabwean shone through again though, as he made it back to his feet from bottom position and grabbed the legs of Sato once again. Although Gorimbo’s relentless pressure wasn’t securing him many takedowns, it was allowing him to stay out of the way of Sato’s dangerous striking. The pair momentarily separated and Gorimbo tried to land a flurry of punches, but they were just used to set up yet another takedown attempt.
Sato came into the final round knowing he likely needed a finish to win the fight. Again, this began with Sato applying immediate forward pressure trying to close the distance and land a big blow, but Gorimbo once again tied him up and applied some more pressure against the fence. After just over a minute, Gorimbo did well to lock his hands together around the legs of Sato securing himself a takedown, and subsequently capitalising on an error from Sato, getting to his back. Once the 32-year-old got to Sato’s back in the final round, he implemented a strong body triangle that made it very difficult for Sato to break out from. Despite that, with just 15 seconds to go, Sato turned the position and found himself in the guard of Gorimbo, finishing the fight by reigning down some ground-and-pound, but it just wasn’t enough.
Dominant on the way to his first Octagon victory!@TheAnswerMMA takes the decision over Sato to open #UFCVegas73 pic.twitter.com/g4GDHH2q0g
— UFC (@ufc) May 20, 2023
Official Result: Themba Gorimbo def. Takashi Sato via Unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)