Yushin Okami is the latest 185-pound challenger teed up to take on UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva in the UFC 134: "Rio" main event. "Thunder" will attempt to do what no man, including his outspoken training partner, Chael Sonnen, has been able to in 13 tries inside the Octagon opposite the "Spider:"
Okami has actually already defeated Silva, winning a controversial decision at Rumble on the Rock 8 back in 2006. Regardless, the Japanese import is still a heavy underdog this evening, especially considering he'll have to attempt to score a "real" win over the champion in his own backyard at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
But that perceived advantage is "rubbish," according to Sonnen, who has managed to wedge himself into the discussion that swirls around this rematch at seemingly every turn.
And it's not just because he's brash and opinionated, but because he's also spent nearly eight rounds locked inside a cage with both of them. Sonnen earned a three-round unanimous decision nod over Okami, while coming within less than two minutes of dethroning Silva last year in their five-round championship showdown.
The former number one contender, despite his clear distaste for Silva, recently took a few minutes to answer 15 fast questions from MMA Nation about the UFC 134 main event, strengths/weaknesses of both fighters, their keys to victory and much more.
Check it out:
- How did you and Yushin begin training together? After our fight he asked if he could train with me. I didn't expect anything to come of it. Three days later he was at Portland Airport asking me to pick him up.
- What things specifically have you drilled/trained? Nothing specific, just MMA. No specific training drills. Getting him ready to fight is what we did.
- Do you feel that you wrote the blueprint on how to defeat Anderson? Yes! But again its not down to skill its mind set. The media have made Anderson out to be a super human fighter. [All Yushin has to do is] walk straight up to him, punch him in the mouth.
- Would Okami be a fool to subscribe to your gameplan rather than fight his own fight? Yes, he has to do what he does fight how he knows how to fight.
- Is it possible to get an honest assessment of this match up, considering your distaste for Anderson? It's going to be a tough fight.
- Having fought them both, who is the tougher fighter, why and what exactly was it that impressed you most? Okami is the better fighter. He's stronger, in better shape and he wants to win more.
- What are Anderson's strengths? Weaknesses? His strengths are he's very athletic and quick. His weaknesses are he's rich and lazy.
- What are Yushin's strengths? Weaknesses? His strengths are his mind set and fight spirit. His weakness is that he's not as quick as Anderson.
- Keys to victory for Anderson? Two things: Distance and pace.
- Keys to victory for Yushin? Get in his face!
- What is the one thing Yushin can't do this weekend if he intends on winning? Yushin said it best on AthleteBay.com: He has to fight like this any other fight. No pressure of being in a title fight. All the talk about home field advantage for Anderson is rubbish. If anything it's a lot more pressure for him to win.
- Is there any way Yushin can finish Anderson? If so, how? Of course, TKO, KO, submission per unified rules ... Duh!
- What is your prediction for how this fight will end? Okami via decision
- What makes you so confident? I have been training with him!
Will you be in his corner on fight night? If not, does it have anything to do with the Sonnen lynch mob? No, I won't be in his corner at the request of his sponsors.
- So be sure to join us later this evening right here. In the meantime, share your own prediction for the main event fight and the rest of the card in the comments section below.