But instead, Palhares got hurt.
In his place stepped a very game Buddy Roberts, but it was only his second fight in the UFC. He showed a lot of guts stepping in to face a recent middleweight title contender, even if Okami was on a two fight losing streak, but that didn't mean he was going to stand a chance.
In the end, this was one of the more predictable outcomes of the night as Okami wound up scoring a second round TKO via his superior grappling and ground and pound.
So what was the deciding factor for Okami? And what happens next for both fighters?
Follow me after the jump for our Yushin Okami vs. Buddy Roberts UFC 150 post-fight review and analysis.
Early on, Roberts actually held his own as Okami chose to stand and trade. Roberts repeatedly found a home for his right and left hands, but it didn't take long for "Thunder" to wise up to the situation.
After getting rocked, Okami smartly closed the distance via clinch and that's when he completely took over the fight. After a pair of big takedowns from the clinch, it didn't take long for the Japanese middleweight to pass Roberts guard and eventually attain mount.
Okami had back mount and was pounding away in the final 20 seconds of the fight, but the referee allowed it to continue.
Once the second round began, it was rinse and repeat, except this time Okami took Roberts down and mounted him immediately. This time, Okami didn't let Roberts off the hook. He postured up again from back mount and began raining down blows.
Even though the strikes weren't very hard or damaging and Roberts was covering up and blocking them, the referee repeatedly warned him to fight back and he didn't. When Herb Dean stepped in and ended the bout, it was entirely justified.
For Buddy Roberts, there's no shame in losing to one of the best middleweights in the entire division. He had nothing to lose coming into this fight and he actually was outstriking Okami on the feet. If he'd been able to keep the bout standing, he might have had a chance to win. That's easier said than done, however, as Okami is one of the strongest grapplers in the division. In the end, he just got outworked and outmuscled on the canvas.
Potential opponents for Roberts in his next fight include Rafael Natal, Riki Fukuda or Clifford Starks.
For Yushin Okami, it was disheartening to see him get outstruck so badly on the feet, but he stepped up and fought to his strengths, which were clinching, takedowns and ground and pound. He passed guard very well and was aggressive once he had Roberts on the canvas. It's nice to see a fighter adjust to a situation and take over when you know they're capable of it. He made smart tactical decisions and that's why he won. That, and being the superior fighter overall.
For his next opponent, I'd like to see Okami face someone along the lines of main card winner Jake Shields. Other potential opponents include Constantinos Philippou or perhaps they could remake the originally scheduled bout against Rousimar Palhares.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Did this fight go as you expected? What was your take on Okami winning a bout he should have won? Did Roberts surprise you with his striking?