This weekend’s UFC 122 event will feature a pivotal match up for the UFC’s middleweight division as top contenders Nate Marquardt and Yushin Okami will be battling it out to determine the next number one contender to the UFC 185-pound throne. Speaking with UFC.com, UFC Middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva, as well as top middleweight fighters Wanderlei Silva and Chris Leben, gave their separate opinions concerning the number one contender’s bout.
For his part, the champ sees this bout (contested between two men he has fought before) as an intriguing contest between two very talented and solid competitors with neither man holding a clear advantage.
“This is a very closely matched fight; both competitors are well rounded and could win by strikes or submission,” Silva said. “I can’t pick a winner. With a shot at the UFC title for the winner, I am obviously very interested to see who wins. I am excited to see who wins but no matter who it is, I look forward to defending my UFC middleweight title against him in the New Year.”
Beleaguered but talented middleweight bruiser Chris “The Crippler” Leben also sees the fight, between two of his favorite fighters, as a toss-up.
“People may think it is a little weird because I fight nothing like either of them, but these are two of my favourite fighters in the middleweight division,” Leben revealed. “I love watching them fight. I think Nate Marquardt is probably a little more rounded, and he’s on the top of his game right now. But Yushin Okami is great with his takedowns and on the ground and hits hard too. I really can’t pick a winner, but I think Okami’s size will be a big factor if it goes to the third round.”
Currently out of action nursing a recent knee surgery, MMA legend Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva agreed with his peers that both Marquardt and Okami are immensely talented but actually picked Marquardt to take home the win based on a stellar overall MMA game.
“I think this is gonna be a good fight between Marquardt and Okami,” Silva said. “Okami is very strong and tough on the ground. Marquardt’s good on the ground too, but I think Marquardt is a more complete fighter. He has good hands and I think this is going to be the difference.”
Who do you think will emerge the victor between Okami and Marquardt? Let us know in the comments section.