Photo by Francis Specker via c.photoshelter.com
Yushin Okami has promised to "grind" out a win over Anderson Silva in their rematch at UFC 134. He's assured us that the deadly Brazilian will fall ... again. He's even vowed to "smash" him with superior "technique, power and speed."
These are rather bold statements for the traditionally reserved and soft-spoken Japanese import.
Perhaps it's five years of pent up frustration, having won 10 of 12 contests inside the Octagon with little to no added recognition to show for it (until now), finally pouring out. Maybe he needs to convince himself that their first encounter was no fluke and that he would have won by anything other than a controversial disqualification. Possibly "Thunder," for some reason, feels the need to up the promotional ante to spark interest.
Or, for all one knows, Okami is picking up more than just fight tips from his current training partner -- and trash-talker extraordinaire -- Chael Sonnen. The former number one middleweight contender is never at a loss for words, especially when Silva (or any other Brazilian for that matter) is the topic of discussion.
Sonnen has a few keys to victory for Okami heading into their middleweight showdown at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Aug. 27, 2011. And some of them, told recently to the "MMA FIght Corner" presented by FiveKnuckles.com, might sound familiar:
"I think it'll probably be a long fight. I think it will probably go to a decision. I think it's going to be Yushin's fight. It's not a secret, Yushin has got to make this a fist fight. He can't be one of these guys that buys into the 'Anderson Silva is a great striker myth.' He's not. There's nobody in the UFC that's a great striker. There are guys that are better than others, but nobody a great striker in the UFC. So if Yushin goes in there and gets in a fist fight with him, Yushin will be fine. If Yushin buys any of this hype, he wont be."
Sonnen implemented that same strategy to near perfection when he came literally within seconds of knocking the seemingly invincible Silva from his championship perch at UFC 117: "Silva vs. Sonnen" back in 2010. But a Hail Mary triangle choke in the fifth and final round helped him steal a shocking victory from the clutches of imminent defeat.
Despite the loss on his record, Sonnen still believes he won that fight. If nothing else, he's certain that he exposed Silva for what he really is: A "myth" and a "phony."
Let's let him explain:
"... Anderson's ... starting to realize that he sucks as bad as I told everyone he did. So he's starting to play these mental games on people. I watched the weight-in where he yelled at Vitor Belfort and Belfort took the microphone and said, 'I don't want you to boo him. He's a good guy.' I knew right then that he was going to lose. He beat Vitor on the scales. If Yushin buys into any of that it's not going to be a good night. Don't buy into this myth, go and punch the guy in his face. See how he likes that. See how these pretty boys, with there earings and their little pink t-shirts like getting hit in the mouth ... at the end of the day that belt is nothing but a piece of tin when it's around Anderson. He's not even a top five fighter. He is a straight up phony."
It's crystal clear that Sonnen feels he has etched his version of Silva's Rosetta Stone, which reveals how to beat the dangerous 185-pound champion. And he's confident that if Okami translates it this fall, talks the talk, walks the walk and doesn't buy into the "myth," that he will emerge victorious.
Is it truly a recipe for success or has Sonnen brainwashed Okami into thinking that he can, and will, win the rematch (for real this time) by listening to his rants and raves?