Yushin Okami was forced to fight his last adversary, Anderson Silva, in front of an audience comprised almost completely of Silva’s countrymen. This time around it will instead be Okami’s opponent heading into the Japanese star’s proverbial backyard, as the UFC has announced the 26-6 middleweight will take on Tim Boetsch on February 26 in Saitama, Japan at UFC 144.

Okami had emerged victorious in three straight scraps entering his bout with Silva including wins over Nate Marquardt and Mark Munoz. Considered by Dana White to be the best Mixed Martial Artist to come out of Japan, Okami holds a 10-3 record inside the Octagon with success against a number of respected competitors such as Mike Swick and Alan Belcher.

Boetsch will be bringing the momentum of being 2-0 since dropping to 185 pounds with him when he heads to the Land of the Rising Sun. “The Barbarian” holds an overall mark of 14-4 with eleven stoppages and past wins over David Heath, Kendall Grove, and most recently Nick Ring.

UFC 144 is already scheduled to feature a pair of intriguing encounters with l55-pound champion Frankie Edgar defending his title against red-hot Ben Henderson and Yoshihiro Akiyama making his welterweight debut against former Strikeforce title-holder Jake Shields.


MMATraining Take: Not a bad bout at all. It’s winnable on paper for Okami, a bonus for fans in the Far East, yet Boetsch has also looked sharp since cutting down to middleweight and passing a test like Okami will do a lot of good for his stock. All-in-all a solid card developing, as it should be considering history where Japan/MMA are concerned.