SINGAPORE In the UFC’s game of inches, a winning strategy can start taking effect even before the fighters step onto the octagon.For flyweight Ulka Sasaki (20-4-2 MMA, 3-3 UFC), who finished Justin Scoggins (11-4 MMA, 4-4 UFC) in the second round of their UFC Fight Night 111 encounter on Saturday, it started at their heated face-off the day before.
“Because I was very aggressive at the weigh-ins, that’s why I think I made Justin very aggressive at the beginning of the fight,” Sasaki said through a translator after their preliminary card affair at Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore. “So everything worked out for me.”
Happy ending aside, it wasn’t smooth sailing for the Japanese fighter, who had to navigate some solid offense by Scoggins’ before the American’s own risk-taking style backfired. Eventually, though, Sasaki was able to sink in the same rear-naked choke that had brought all of his previous UFC wins.While Sasaki was able to weather the storm, and walked away with a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus in the process, he admits to having been surprised by what his opponent brought to the table.
“First of all, he was much tougher than I expected,” Sasaki said. “Stronger than I expected. He had a much (bigger) variety of striking technique than I expected. So he was a very, very tough fighter.
“First, when I grappled with him, I felt like I could control him well. But he was much tougher. He had a better wrestling power. So I decided to not put my full body power into it. I was just looking for opportunity for my chance.”
The win evened out Sasaki’s six-fight octagon record and put him back on a victorious track after an unanimous decision loss to onetime title challenger Wilson Reis at UFC 208 in February.As for what’s next, Sasaki didn’t hesitate to put in his request for a spot at a UFC Fight Night event expected to take place at Saitama Super Arena, near Tokyo, onSept. 23. And he has a target in mind, too.
“(Scoggins) has defeated Ray Borg,” Sasaki said. “So I would like to fight Ray Borg.”
To hear more from Sasaki, check out the video above.And for complete coverage UFC Fight Night 111, check out the UFC Events section of the site.