If you’ve praised the striking abilities of Khalil Rountree Jr. since he entered the Ultimate Fighting Championship, well, it looks like Gokhan Saki has a message for you…
Saki and Rountree are booked to battle at UFC 226 this Saturday, on July 7th. The fight will mark the first time Saki has competed since last September, when he took out Henrique da Silva, in what was his Octagon debut (and second MMA fight).
Rountree, meanwhile, is fighting for the first time since he faced Michal Oleksiejczuk in December. The latter won the bout via decision, but the bout was overturned due to a USADA flag.
Well, recently Saki spoke with Bloody Elbow in advance of UFC 226. When he was asked to evaluate the game of Rountree, the 34 year-old said this:
Everybody says he’s a standup fighter, and for me, I think he’s trying to stand up. People don’t understand standup fighting, so they’re really excited about the way he’s fighting. But I think everything is OK, you know? I think when they see my standup compared with his, then they’re gonna see what’s real standup fighting. So for me, maybe he don’t wanna stand up with me, he’s gonna try to wrestle with me or he’s gonna try to do Jiu-Jitsu with me. Well, I don’t think he has the quality for that, you know? In a short time, to learn this all, to bring this all together.
There you have it. Now, when you consider Saki’s background, these comments shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise. Rountree has certainly demonstrated that he’s a serious threat on the feet. But, Saki is widely considered to be one of the best kickboxers on the planet. This is a guy who entered the UFC armed with professional kickboxing record of 83-12, with 59 knockouts. Much of that record wasn’t put together fighting on the ‘who’s this guy’, regional circuit either. Saki has fought multiple times for organizations like K-1 and GLORY. He was the ligh-heavyweight champ for the latter.
So, it will be interesting to see if Rountree looks for a takedown. According to Fight Metric, he has yet to do so in the UFC.