SAO PAULO, Brazil — Augusto Sakai made the best of his UFC debut.
Taking on experienced UFC heavyweight Chase Sherman Saturday night at UFC Sao Paulo, Sakai went for a brawl for three rounds before he got the stoppage victory in the final minute.
Very emotional in his post-fight interview with the media at the Ibirapuera gymnasium, Sakai was worried about a hand fracture he may have suffered early in the fight, and thinks that ended up preventing him from finishing Sherman earlier.
“Since I had this injury in the beginning, I wasn’t hitting him with full power,” Sakai said of Sherman’s ability to absorb damage and continue moving forward. “At some point, I wondered if we would go the distance, but then I thought ‘no way.’”
”I think I broke my hand on the first punch, but we kept fighting. Never give up. This is Brazil. The victory was mine. I can be armless or legless, but I will never be heartless.”
The stoppage came at 4:03 of round three, but referee Marc Goddard received some criticism online for not stopping it earlier.
Sakai thanks him for that.
“For everything (Sherman) said (before the fight), he deserved that beating in the end,” Sakai said. “But the referee kept telling him to move, and he was gone but would still move, so I think he was correct.”
With a TKO victory in the Octagon less than two months after his stoppage win at Contender Series Brazil, Sakai expects to face a ranked opponent next.
“Not because of my debut against Chase, but considering the way the division is right now, they will send someone with a good name,” Sakai said. “But I’m cool. Step by step, will find our place.”