Welterweight King of Pancrase Takenori Sato is set to make his UFC debut next month as a late replacement for the injured Nate Loughran. The Japanese veteran faces Erick Silva at UFC Fight Night 36 in Jaragua do Sul in Brazil.
Sato (17-8-7) will be fighting outside of Japan for the first time in his career. The 28-year-old, who originally trained under Kazushi Sakuraba’s now defunct Laughter 7 Gym, became Welterweight King of Pancrase (as Pancrase champions are known) in 2011 and is undefeated in his last 10 fights.
He faces the toughest test of his career to date when he makes his Octagon debut against Silva. The Brazilian boasts an impressive 15-4-1 record and has been competing in the UFC since 2011, a stint which has seen him go 3-3 with wins over Luis Ramos, Charlie Brenneman, and Jason High, and losses to Carlo Prater, Jon Fitch and, most recently, Dong Hyun Kim.
Loughran was set to return to the UFC for the first time since a 1-1 stint in 2008, but was forced to pull out of the Feb. 15 bout with Silva due to an undisclosed injury. His replacement, Sato, is one of three Japanese fighters on the roster at 170 pounds with Kiichi Kunimoto winning his promotional debut last week and Yoshihiro Akiyama still signed, although he hasn’t seen action in almost a year.
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