One of the most talented stars from Japan is ready to gain redemption and prove that he belongs inside the octagon with the world’s best fighters. On Sunday Takashi Sato is set to collide with American hard-hitter Maki Pitolo at UFC Fight Night Auckland.

The former welterweight King of Pancrase is coming off a heartbreaking defeat in his sophomore appearance under the UFC banner. He yielded to Belal Muhammad by way of third-round submission at UFC 242 this past September.

It was a bitter pill for Sato to swallow. For years, his ambition was to break out of the local circuit in his home country and strut his wares in front of an international audience. The 29 year old’s plans were  derailed by Muhammad and he is determined to bounce back on Saturday,

“Losing happens. It is a part of the fight game, and you’ve got to take it in stride. You’ve got to learn from it and grow from it. Coming into this fight, I have high confidence now. I am ready to show the world that I am worthy to fight in the UFC,” Sato said through his interpreter.

High stakes

He is squaring off with an opponent who also seeks to place himself back into the winner’s column. Pitolo is a Bellator veteran but was discovered by the UFC through Dana White’s Contender Series in mid-2019.

He also came up short in his most recent UFC bout and Sato knows that the stakes are high for both men,

“This fight is very important for both of us. A loss will be detrimental. Aside from putting on a great performance, we have to win. I know that he is coming for me, and he knows that my goal is to win big against him,” he stated.

However the 29 year old also knows he is not in for an easy ride in Auckland,

“My opponent is tough. It’s a challenge for me because I want to redeem myself and make up for the fact that I wasn’t able to fully exhibit my skills and the new things I learned in my last fight,” Sato added.

My moment

Japanese fighters have found themselves unceremoniously removed from the UFC roster after just a single defeat. Sato knows that registering back to back losses would be a disastrous career move.

However UFC Auckland is also an opportunity for him to make a serious statement and show he belongs on the roster and Sato is determined to do just that,

“I will do my best and really show what I have. I will put my best foot forward because I have trained very hard for this fight. I will keep up with him, and I will try to top his toughness and quickness to make this my moment.”