A stormy looking card for 2013′s UFC in Japan. Sunday, March 3rd – a Wandy versus Stann headliner might not be to the taste of many North American UFC fans, but the Japanese fans have a strong sense of nostalgia, and it will be very natuskashii to have the knuckle-twirling Silva back in the Saitama Super Arena.
Yushin Okami will face Hector Lombard, Taknori Gomi to fight Diego Sanchez, Riki Fukuda against Brad Tavares. Takeya Mizugaki and Mizuto Hirota will also be highly anticipated by the native crowd.
Capacity crowd and a well organized event, UFC 144 was MMA-in-Japan’s first experience of a UFC show.
Despite some negatives opinions floating around leading up to the event, it came off an excellent first UFC production under the Zuffa flag.
We spoke to guest fighter, Roy Nelson, who said he’s taking Junior Dos Santos over Alistair Overeem if and when they meet.
Also, we caught up with long time K-1 fighter in Japan, Mark Hunt, who KO’d Cheik Congo without too much difficulty earlier.
Japan’s last minute replacement for George Sotiropoulos, Eiji Mitsuoka, was disappointed at his loss to Takanori Gomi, but he has the most respect from MMA fans here for stepping up and fighting hard. Gomi looked good, but the questions remains how good he would have looked against the injured Austalian, or any top tier competition for that matter.
Yushin Okami was stopped in an incredible comeback from Tim Boetsch. Okami completely dominated the first two rounds when Boetsch came back and knocked him out with some hard uppercuts. Yushin suffers his second consecutive loss in the octagon but, having fought so well until the KO, is sure to fight again when he’s fit.
Quinton Rampage Jackson’s knee injury details and subsequent failure to train effectively and make weight emerged. Doctor’s told him not to fight after having injured his knee while working hard on his wrestling in preparation for Ryan Bader. Ryan, to his credit, told us he was rocked after Rampage slammed him in their fight. Jackson maybe should have called off the fight but felt a strong obligation to fight for the first time in six years (to the day) for the Japanese fans. Fans who have shown him much love over the years.
Very experienced Rampage Jackson, with a long-standing Japanese fan base takes on a hungry and highly motivated Ryan Bader on Sunday, February 26th at the Saitama Super Arena in UFC 144.
And Yushin Okami will be surely eager to show the fans his strength following his title shot defeat in Brazil.
Looking forward to all the fights on this card.
Main Bouts (on Pay-Per-View):
-Frankie Edgar (14-1-1; #1 Lightweight)* vs. Benson Henderson (15-2; #7 Lightweight)*
-Quinton Jackson (32-9; #5 Light Heavyweight)* vs. Ryan Bader (13-2)
-Mark Hunt (7-7) vs. Cheick Kongo (17-6-2)
-Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-4) vs. Jake Shields (26-6-1; #7 Welterweight)*
-Yushin Okami (26-6; #3 Middleweight)* vs. Tim Boetsch (14-4)
-Hatsu Hioki (25-4-2) vs. Bart Palaszewski (36-14)
-Anthony Pettis (14-2; #9 Lightweight) vs. Joe Lauzon (21-6)
Preliminary Bouts (on FX):
-Takanori Gomi (32-8) vs. Eiji Mitsuoka (18-7-2)
-Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto (18-5) vs. Vaughan Lee (11-7-1)
-Riki Fukuda (17-5) vs. Steve Cantwell (7-5)
-Takeya Mizugaki (15-6-2) vs. Chris Cariaso (12-3)
Preliminary Bout (on Facebook):
-Tiequan Zhang (15-2) vs. Issei Tamura (6-2)
*Based on the MMAWeekly.com World MMA Rankings
UFC Japan (UFC 144) Start Times:
Prelims on Facebook: 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT (Live)
Prelims on FX: 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT (Live)
Main Card on PPV: 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT (Live)
The UFC has just released some exciting news for MMA fans and fighter in Japan.
February 26, 2012, at the mighty Saitama Super Arena. Be there.
We visited Yushin Okami at RJW (Real Japan Wrestling, part of the Wajutsu Keishukai network) where he trains several days a week to interview him and watch him take the MMA class with some of the resident professional and amateur fighters.
RJW is located in a very unlikely spot. A residential area of Tokyo, on a converted floor of a condominium, rather hard to find for anyone unfamiliar with Tokyo or the Japanese language. Continue reading
February 27, 2011, Riki Fukuda – team Grabaka’s DEEP Middleweight Champion – fought in the UFC for the first time.
The match which went to a judge decision in the favour of his opponent, Nick Ring (Canada), was widely accepted as Fukuda’s win and it has been reported that Dana White has offered to compensate Fukuda with the same purse as the winner.
MMA-in-Japan will interview Fukuda shortly and get his thoughts on Continue reading
UFC 126 in Las Vegas, Nevada, is headlined by Anderson Silva vs Vitor Belfort. At the weigh ins the crowd seemed to be behind the challenger, Belfort, but the fight itself could shape up to be an epic battle. Both fighters are undoubtedly at the top of the middleweight division so we will have to wait and see on Saturday, February 5th.
Have a look at some of the shots from UFC 122 on Nov. 13, 2010 at the Konig Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen, Germany.
MMA-in-Japan.com would like to congratulate Yushin Okami on his win in the main event and wish him all the best with his fight next year against the winner of Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort.
With Chael Sonnen seemingly out of the running in the middleweight division, Japan’s Yushin Okami is firmly back in the running. Facing Vitor Belfort in UFC 122 in Germany and winning will give Okami a title shot against Anderson Silva.
MMA-in-Japan would like to wish Yushin all the best!
Vitor Belfort is apparently getting a title shot before the end of the year and Nate Marquardt steps in to fight Yushin Okami.