Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has announced a blockbuster middleweight match-up for its return to Japan, pitting former division number one contender Yushin Okami against the new-look Tim Boetsch in "Thunder's" homecoming fight.
"Undefeated since dropping down to middleweight, Tim ‘The Barbarian’ Boetsch has verbally agreed to face top three ranked Yushin ‘Thunder’ Okami February 26th in Tokyo, Japan," said UFC President Dana White.
UFC 144, which takes place on Feb. 26, 2012, in Japan's Saitama Super Arena, is expected to air stateside on Saturday night (Feb. 25) in its usual pay-per-view time slot due to the difference in time zones.
Will he be able to deal with the new-and-improved "Barbarian?"
Boetsch (14-4) was cranked and spanked by 205-pound phenom Phil Davis in November 2010, prompting the rough-and-tumble New Englander to shed some excess skin and try his luck at middleweight.
The results thus far, have been stellar.
UFC 144 is expected to be headlined by a 155-pound title fight featuring Ben Henderson, fresh off his unanimous decision win over Clay Guida, taking on reigning lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. In addition, Jake Shields returns to action against Yoshihiro Akiyama.
Stay tuned to MMAmania.com for future updates to this still-developing fight card.