Photo by Esther Lin for MMAFighting.com
More than six years ago, two mixed martial arts (MMA) middleweight upstarts -- Yushin Okami and Alan Belcher -- made their UFC debuts opposite one another. Okami walked away the winner that night, but this weekend at UFC 155, Belcher is the man who is on the rise and in the 185-pound title chase. Will both men continue to head in different directions or will Okami once again emerge victorious in "Sin City?" Jason Probst for MMAmania.com breaks it all down.
Nicknames are hit-and-miss in mixed martial arts (MMA), but Alan Belcher is rightfully dubbed "The Talent."
Because the guy has a blend of tools and athleticism that makes him capable of winning fights in more ways than most. His striking has progressed dramatically since his early days in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), and with a huge frame for Middleweight, he's a tough assignment if you can't outstrike him.
His opponent at UFC 155 this evening (Dec. 29, 2012), Yushin Okami, boasts one of the more throwback-oriented styles in the sport, with an imposing grappling game and stand up that is little more than a rumor. He's either going to takedown Belcher inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, and sit on him for an exceptionally uneventful 15 minutes, or he's gonna get caught, at which point the excitement begins.
You always have to think what the UFC wants with a match up, and here the implications are clear: Nobody is ever going to pay to see Okami in his current form take on division champion Anderson Silva again, but a rising product like Belcher can build his credentials nicely with a win over a former title challenger.
Deduce from that what you will.
Check out a complete breakdown of the UFC 155 main card rematch between Alan Belcher vs. Yushin Okami below:
Okami is used to being the bigger, stronger guy, leveraging these physical advantages to negate foes' striking with big takedowns and stifling top control. Belcher's potent stand up, as well as his ability to force opponents to pay a price at range, are big assets here. If Okami gets frustrated, he tends to go into a defensive shell and wait around. Belcher, therefore, has to brace himself for the initial rush of Okami, who knows he has to set the tone early. The opening battle for a takedown will be a critical momentum swing if Okami can force a clinch.
Belcher is the ascendant guy here, while Okami is in decline.
There are no gameplan mysteries for either fighter. Belcher should be able to mix up his strikes, stuff takedowns and survive if he is taken down en route to scoring more standing than Okami. It's hard to see Okami negating Belcher -- who is a far better athlete and stand up stylists -- and even if he does win, it will be in a manner that's terribly boring and unsatisfying.
Even though it's hard to imagine Belcher in a boring bout.
Win or lose, the guy brings it 100 percent and he's willing to take chances, which is what you need against a paint-by-the-numbers wrestler like "Thunder." In the end, Belcher bangs away on the feet and wears down Okami en route to a second-round knockout win.
Belcher via knockout
Remember that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the UFC 155 main card action later this evening (Sat., Dec. 29, 2012), which is slated to begin at 10 p.m. ET on pay-per-view (PPV). The latest quick updates of the live action will begin to flow earlier than that around 6:30 p.m. ET with the "Prelims" bouts on Facebook and FX Channel.