A middleweight mash-up populated the UFC on FUEL TV 8: "Silva vs. Stann" card tonight (March 2, 2013) in Japan, as longtime contender Yushin Okami looked to reach three wins in a row against the stocky Hector Lombard, also aiming to create a winning streak to recapture the magic he had when he returned to the Octagon.
They battled hard throughout the first round, Lombard always looking for that heavy right hand that turns the lights out when it lands flush and Okami using his size to execute a takedown or two to wear down his shorter opponent.
Yes, this included a great deal of pummeling against the cage, that tactic UFC President Dana White so adores.
All that changed in the second, however, when Okami decided to use his reach advantage and pump the jab while bringing a hard right hand down the pipe and staying just out of range of any counters. This didn't just score points, it frustrated "Lightning," who started getting a tad reckless towards the middle of the round.
It was then that Okami snagged a leg and earned another takedown. The stifling attack showcased "Thunder's" skills as the perfect foil to Lombard, who was having all his weaknesses exploited on live television.
Instead of sitting back and waiting for an opening to start the final frame, Lombard threw caution to the wind and came out throwing bombs, some of which landed and seemed to stun Okami. Suddenly a firefight had broken out and fatigue was starting to set in.
The surprise came when it was Okami who appeared to lose his legs.
That allowed Lombard to take top position for a time but he never really threatened with a finish from there and after the first two rounds went the way they did, his scoring points was all but meaningless.
Okami, for his part, was just holding on.
That's what he did, too, managing to make it to the final horn so the scorecards could be read in his favor. They came down 29-28, 28-29, and 29-28 from the cageside judges.
Okami is now up to three in a row and Lombard continues to disappoint.
For complete results and blow-by-blow coverage of UFC on FUEL TV 8 click here.