A pair of middleweight contenders will face off at the UFC’s year-end card as Yushin Okami and Alan Belcher will meet for a second time at UFC 155. MMAFighting first reported the middleweight matchup earlier today.
The two fighters made their UFC debuts together in 2006 at UFC 62, a fight that Okami won by decision. A lot has changed since then as both fighters have become much more well-rounded over the years.
Belcher is looking to vault himself to the top of the middleweight contender pack with win over Okami. “The Talent” has won four-straight since a narrow split decision loss to Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 100. Belcher defeated Rousimar Palhares at “UFC on Fox 3” in an eye-opening victory. The result was only surprising since Belcher willingly waded into his opponent’s wheelhouse, and showed strong leglock defense before overwhelming Palhares with strikes after a scramble.
Belcher was originally set to face Vitor Belfort at the newly reconstructed UFC 153 before Belfort was pulled to face light heavyweight champion Jon Jones at UFC 152. The bout’s cancellation has allowed belcher to recuperate from a neck injury sustained while training for Belfort.
Meanwhile, Okami bounced back from a shocking loss to Tim Boetsch at UFC 144 to defeat late replacement Buddy Roberts at UFC 150. The victory snapped a two-fight losing skid – the logest of Okami’s career – that started with his devastating loss to middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 134.
UFC 155 is expected to be headlined by a heavyweight title fight between champion Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez in a rematch of their “UFC on Fox 1” bout. The card will also feature a light heavyweight rematch between Forrest Griffin and Chael Sonnen. The card will take place December 29.