Sonnen (22-10-1), who had been scheduled to fight Wilson Gouveia at UFC 102 in August, was tapped to replace an injured Okami in May and take on Dan Miller at UFC 98, with Sonnen winning the fight by unanimous decision. An import from the WEC, Sonnen would have been the promotion’s last middleweight champion had title-holder Paulo Filho not failed to make weight for their late-2008 matchup, which Sonnen won by unanimous decision. After suffering a first-round submission defeat to Demian Maia in his UFC return, Sonnen bounced back with the victory over the former IFL champ Miller.
Okami (23-4) remains one of the top contenders in the 185-pound division, losing just once to former champ Rich Franklin in 8 UFC bouts, but has yet to receive a title shot due to his unimpressive wins caused his inability to finish of his opponents and streaks of inactivity. “Thunder” has fought just 3 times over the last 2 years since his June 2006 loss to Franklin, defeating Jason MacDonald by unanimous decision in October 2007 and Evan Tanner via second-round knockout last March. His most-recent win, a unanimous decision defeat of Dean Lister in December, was regarded as one of the most boring fights of the year and, despite the credentials of both Okami and Lister, failed to make the UFC 92 pay-per-view broadcast.
UFC 104 is headlined by a light heavyweight championship matchup featuring current title-holder Lyoto Machida against challenger Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Heavyweight contenders Shane Carwin and Cain Velasquez are set to square off in the PPV card’s co-main event, while Antoni Hardonk vs. Pat Berry, Anthony Johnson vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida, and Ryan Bader vs. Eric Schafer are also rumored for the card.