Yesterday it was announced that Martin Kampmann (3-0 UFC) had been forced to withdraw from his main event fight with Rich Franklin (8-1 UFC) at UFC 72 due to a knee injury. Among the possible replacements rumored was Yushin Okami (4-0 UFC) and it now appears the grappler will be facing Franklin on June 16th. Franklin made the announcement this morning on his official website:
I spoke with Monte (my manager) Saturday evening and that conversation eluded to the fact that Kampman may be out. Monday,I was told he would be replaced with a top 10 opponent, and Okami was presented as the likely possibility. Later that day we found out Okami signed. From my end, the contract remains the same, and I’m still excited to fight June 16th in Belfast. My camp will make some changes in my training as well as develop a new strategy to approach this fight. However, I was and will continue preparing a fight…not a person.
In his last fight Okami defeated a light Mike Swick at UFC 69 via unanimous decision. Outside of the UFC he competed this past weekend in a large submission only tournament, the Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships in New Jersey. Okami was defeated in the first round by Damian Maia.
Although Okami being named the replacement for Kampmann is not entirely surprising he is not the star power a UFC main event normally needs. The event will be broadcast for free on Spike so this may be an attempt by the UFC to stress skill over starpower and to make Okami a more well known name by putting him in front of millions of fans.
For tp-to-date information of UFC 72 check out our UFC Rumors section.