The UFC’s ninth event in Japan takes place Friday when UFC Fight Night 117 goes down from Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, and it’ll feature the in-studio analyst debut of a current UFC fighter.
The card airs on FXX following an early prelim on UFC Fight Pass and is headlined by a light heavyweight bout Ovince Saint Preux (20-10 MMA, 8-5 UFC) and former UFC title challenger Yushin Okami (34-10 MMA, 13-5 UFC).
A FOX Sports official today told MMAjunkie that UFC welterweight Alan Jouban (15-6 MMA, 6-4 UFC) will join the studio crew for the first time. He will accompany UFC champions Daniel Cormier and Michael Bisping at the desk, while Karyn Bryant serves as host. Megan Olivi is set to conduct backstage interviews.
Jouban will join the crew for Thursday’s weigh-in show on FS1, as well as the post-fight show on FXX following the event.
Doing commentary cageside for UFC Fight Night 117 will be the combination of Todd Grisham and former UFC welterweight Dan Hardy.
Jouban, who is coming off a first-round TKO loss to Niko Price at UFC Fight Night 114 in August, is no stranger to being in front of a camera. On top of his dual-career as a model, Jouban also has appeared on FS1’s “UFC Tonight,” UFC Fight Pass’ “UFC Now” program and also co-hosts a weekly podcast.
“Brahma” said he feels comfortable moving into the role as analyst but admitted his greatest challenge is going to be educating fans about athletes who are fresh faces to the UFC roster.
“Being that it is a Friday card, in Japan, there’s going to be some fighters who are making their UFC debut or a Japanese fighter name I’ve never heard or pronounced before,” Jouban told MMAjunkie. “Just making sure I do all the homework on those guys (is important). If this was a pay-per-view card in the states, and there was a bunch of very well known fighters, you know everything about them already. For this you need to do more research.”
Coincidentally, Jouban’s most anticipated matchup at UFC Fight Night 117 involves a promotional newcomer. Former kickboxing standout Gokhan Saki (0-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) makes his UFC debut, and Jouban said he’s thrilled to see what he can do in MMA.
“He’s always been an undersized heavyweight fighting bigger guys,” Jouban said of Saki. “He was fighting Alistair Overeem when he was ‘The Reem,’ fighting 265 and Gokhan was 220. He’s such a smooth striker. He’s got this Mike Tyson-type style where he digs the body, throws the double left hook, kicks to the head. That’s the fight I’m most looking forward to. How does Saki fair with the four-ounce gloves.”
The full UFC Fight Night 117 card includes:
MAIN CARD (FXX, 10 p.m. ET)
PRELIMINARY CARD (FXX, 8 p.m. ET)
PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 7:30 p.m. ET)