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08th Jul 2018

Former kickboxing world champion absolutely annihilated by UFC star who only started training to lose weight

Eight years ago, he was 300 lbs

Ben Kiely

Gokhan Saki suffered his first loss inside the Octagon at UFC 226.

In 2010, Gokhan Saki was already a part of combat sports royalty. He became the first ever Turkish K-1 champion two years earlier and was a two-time Muay Thai world champion.

In the same year, Khalil Rountree was 20 years old and over 300 lbs. It was actually his weight problem that encouraged him to try martial arts in the first place. This is what he looked like one month before he began training in MMA.

Gokhan Saki

And this is what he looks like in 2018.

Eight years of training and 10 professional fights later, half of which have come in the UFC, Rountree is absolutely shredded.

Gokhan Saki

Although Saki entered the UFC with a 0-1 record, his stunning knockout of Henrique da Silva in his Octagon debut sent the hype train into overdrive. He was a sizeable favourite for his sophomore bout against Rountree.

The underdog had been saying throughout the build-up to the fight that he planned to beat Saki on the feet. Few believed he would actually deliver on this promise considering he was going up against a decorated kickboxer with an 83-12-1 NC record.

However, much to the surprise of Joe Rogan, Rountree fulfilled his promise. A feigned right hand was followed up by a perfectly-placed left hand straight down the pipe which saw Saki go crashing down to the canvas. A few heavy hammerfists later and the fight was over.

Rountree was awarded the knockout victory at 1:36 of the opening round.

Proving a point

In his Octagon interview, the 28-year-old Rountree credited the victory to solid preparation. He also admitted that the criticism he received online lit a fire in his belly. He wanted to prove the doubters wrong.

“I didn’t really know what to expect tonight. The big difference for me was not trying to. I focused on staying calm, being ready for anything – I was ready for low kicks, high kicks, clinches, getting flashed. I just wanted to keep my cool and stay ready.”

“From the moment this fight got announced, I’ve taken so much crap online, which was kind of shocking. It didn’t motivate me – it just made this fight very personal for me. I wanted to go out there and fight my best fight, be the best me. I wanted to show the world what I was all about. And I did.”

The result sees Rountree improve to 7-2-1NC. Meanwhile, Saki fell to 1-2.