The UFC officially announced their return to Germany on November 13 when UFC 122 emanates from König-Pilsener-Arena in Oberhausen. UFC 122 is the first UFC event to take place in Germany since the world’s premier combat sports organisation made its mainland Europe debut in Cologne last June.
In the main event, Vitor ‘the Phenom’ Belfort will face Yushin ‘Thunder’ Okami in a three-round contest to determine who will challenge for the UFC Middleweight Championship in 2011.
UFC Managing Director of International Development Marshall Zelaznik said, “We are glad to be coming back to Germany with UFC 122 and to reward our loyal UFC fans in Germany. Both Vitor Belfort and Yushin Okami are one win away from a shot at the UFC Middleweight Title and are coming to Germany with a great deal to win and lose. This is a sporting event with tremendous international significance, and we are delighted to have been able to bring this event to Oberhausen.”
Marek Lieberberg of MLK, the UFC’s promotional partner in Germany, added, “We are excited to bring the world’s most popular combat sport back to Germany, following our great event last summer. Mr Belfort and Mr Okami are two of the greatest martial artists in the world and this is an excellent main event attraction. Vitor holds a black belt in judo as well as jiu-jitsu and has competed as a professional boxer while Yushin is an outstanding martial artist in his own right.”
Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Vitor Belfort, 19-8 a career which began in 1996, has earned his reputation as one of the greats in his sport. The 33-year-old from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has spent a decade and a half travelling the world and defeating a who’s who of mixed martial arts; ‘The Phenom’ holds wins over the likes of Tank Abbott, Wanderlei Silva, Kazushi Sakuraba, Randy Couture, and Matt Lindland, and he most recently stopped Rich Franklin in just three minutes.
Rightly considered a pioneer of MMA, Belfort believes he is also the future of the 185lbs middleweight division, and knows victory in Germany will put him in striking distance of becoming only the third man to ever win UFC world titles in two different weight divisions.
“It is a joy to go to other parts of the world and fight for fans there,” said Belfort. “I am here to regain my legacy as one of the best fighters in the world. I’ve accomplished so many things in my career, but I am always happy to be in the gym and working on getting better.
“The German fans will see a 100% performance from me against Okami. I am looking for the knockout, I always look for the knockout. I know Okami is the type of guy who can bang a little and also has that judo style, but I am on a mission to be the UFC Champion once again.”
Obe of the most feared fighters in the middleweight division since his UFC debut win over Alan Belcher four years ago, Kanagawa, Japan, native Yushin Okami, 26-5 in MMA, is finally in a position to force his way into title contention. ‘Thunder’ already holds victories over Mike Swick, Evan Tanner, Dean Lister and most recently Mark Munoz, and he knows a win over an icon like Belfort will cement his status at the top contender at 185lbs.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to fight a great like Vitor Belfort in the main event of a big card,” said Okami. “Vitor Belfort is still kind of my idol, so I am very excited. He will bring out the very best in me. Belfort is a great fighter but I feel I have certain advantages I can use in the fight. I will shock MMA fans around the world with my performance.”
Further bouts for UFC 122 will be announced shortly.