Elias Theodorou says Gokhan Saki can be successful in the UFC if he is ready to be a student again.
On Saturday at UFC Fight Night 117 in Saitama, Japan Gokhan Saki was victorious in his UFC debut against Henrique da Silva. Saki improved his overall mixed-martial-arts record to 1-1. On Fightful MMA's podcast Holy Smokes, host Joe Ferraro asked Elias Theodorou his opinion on the light-heavyweight's performance. Theodorou said Saki did well but benefited from an opponent who did not follow a solid game plan. He also referenced how Saki seemed to be exhausted in the fight even though it ended in the first round.
"He did fantastic. Da Silva took way too many hits in the sense of before trying a reasonable game plan. He should gone for a single, put him on his back, and that should have been it. I guess when you're ego is involved. They talk about (Saki) being the Turkish Mike Tyson, I tweeted the perfect clip picture of Homer Simpson getting knocked out by Mike Tyson in The Simpsons. That's what it ended up being," said Theodorou.
Here is the tweet which Theodorou referenced. In the episode of The Simpsons, Homer's "defense" is withstanding strikes but in the fight with Tyson he gets knocked-out.
Saki has been kickboxing professionally since 2000. He had over one hundred kickboxing matches with eighty-three wins. The thirty-three-year-old retired from kickboxing earlier this year then signed with UFC. His last mixed-martial-arts fight before Saturday was in 2004. Theodorou says a fighter coming into mixed-martial-arts from a background like Saki's has one important lesson to learn.
"Saki was very open about his cardio. He was very honest about what he thought was the pros and cons. One of the biggest troubles of a martial artist coming from a different sport into mixed-martial-arts is them being comfortable with being a novice again. I know a lot people that have come from kickboxing that don't want to feel like a beginner in jiu jitsu or wrestling," said Theodorou. "If he's serious about being a student again, he has a lot of success ahead of him," he added.
Saki earned a Performance of the Night bonus for his knockout victory in Saitama, Japan. He has said he intends on winning a UFC championship soon. Saki trains for mixed-martial-arts at Mike's Gym, where he trained for his kickboxing career. He earned his nickname "The Turkish Tyson" because of his heavy strikes. Saki had fifty-nine knockouts while kickboxing.
Also during the podcast, Theodorou discussed Ovince Saint-Preux's Von Flue choke victory in the main event of Saturday's UFC Fight Night card. Theodorou also gave his opinion on the talent in Bellator's welterweight division. Other episodes of Holy Smokes have featured other mixed-martial-arts personalities like Frank Trigg and Sean Pierson in interview segments.