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Hyun Gyu Lim of Seoul, South Korea, takes a shot to the right ear from Japan's Daichi Abe during a UFC Fight Night welterweight bout at Saitama Super Arena north of Tokyo, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. Abe won by unanimous decision after three rounds.

Hyun Gyu Lim of Seoul, South Korea, takes a shot to the right ear from Japan's Daichi Abe during a UFC Fight Night welterweight bout at Saitama Super Arena north of Tokyo, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. Abe won by unanimous decision after three rounds. (Allen Onstott/Stars and Stripes)

Hyun Gyu Lim of Seoul, South Korea, takes a shot to the right ear from Japan's Daichi Abe during a UFC Fight Night welterweight bout at Saitama Super Arena north of Tokyo, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. Abe won by unanimous decision after three rounds.

Hyun Gyu Lim of Seoul, South Korea, takes a shot to the right ear from Japan's Daichi Abe during a UFC Fight Night welterweight bout at Saitama Super Arena north of Tokyo, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. Abe won by unanimous decision after three rounds. (Allen Onstott/Stars and Stripes)

Brazilian Jessica Andrade charges forward despite a punch to the head from countryman Claudia Gadelha during a UFC Fight Night women's straw weight bout at Saitama Super Arena north of Tokyo, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. Andrade won by unanimous decision.

Brazilian Jessica Andrade charges forward despite a punch to the head from countryman Claudia Gadelha during a UFC Fight Night women's straw weight bout at Saitama Super Arena north of Tokyo, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. Andrade won by unanimous decision. (Allen Onstott/Stars and Stripes)

In front of his hometown crowd, Japan's Keita Nakamura defeats Alex Morono of Houston, Texas, during a UFC Fight Night welterweight bout at Saitama Super Arena north of Tokyo, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017.

In front of his hometown crowd, Japan's Keita Nakamura defeats Alex Morono of Houston, Texas, during a UFC Fight Night welterweight bout at Saitama Super Arena north of Tokyo, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. (Allen Onstott/Stars and Stripes)

SAITAMA, Japan — More than 8,500 mixed martial arts fans watched some of the world’s top UFC fighters battle inside the octagon north of Tokyo on Saturday.

In the main event of UFC Fight Night 117 at Saitama Super Arena, American light heavyweight Ovince Saint Preux choked out local veteran Yushin Okami 90 seconds into the first round.

The most brutal fight of the night involved Brazilian straw weights Jessica Andrade and Claudia Gadelha who both suffered bloody facial cuts before Andrade won by unanimous decision.

Japanese welterweight Keita Nakamura won a split decision in front of his hometown crowd over Alex Morono of Houston, Texas, despite profuse bleeding from an elbow strike.

Another welterweight, Daichi Abe, defeated South Korean Hyun Gyu Lim by unanimous decision after three rounds.

The Saitama event was the fifth UFC Fight Night in Japan and the third such event in the Asia-Pacific this year, a UFC statement said.

“Japan has a rich history in MMA and the traditional martial arts,” Joe Carr, UFC senior vice president of international and content, said in the statement. “Our fervent fan base in Japan is a cornerstone of our success in the region.”

Days before the event, servicemembers at Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo got a chance to meet, greet and eat with UFC athletes at an on-base chow hall.

Alistair Overeem, Robert Whittaker and Joseph Benavidez — ranked No. 1 respectively in UFC’s heavyweight, middleweight and flyweight categories — joined UFC Hall of Famer Antonio “Minotauro” Nogueira on Thursday in signing autographs and chatting with troops. Octagon girl Red Dela Cruz also took part in the event.

“You cannot imagine the morale boost when you see, in the flesh, the people you’ve been rooting for on TV,” Col. Kenneth Moss, 374th Airlift Wing commander, said on Thursday.

The next UFC Fight Night in Asia will be in Shanghai, China, on Nov. 25.

onstott.allen@stripes.com

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