Fighters rarely get a second chance to prove their worth in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), especially a 36-year-old veteran like Yushin Okami who hasn’t stepped foot inside of the Octagon since 2013.
Luckily for Okami, he’ll have his opportunity for redemption later tonight (Fri., Sept. 22, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 117 live on FXX from inside the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, when he fills in for an injured Mauricio Rua and fights former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Ovince Saint Preux on just seven days notice.
As you may expect, Okami is going to garner close attention later this evening in his home country of Japan as he makes his light heavyweight debut against OSP. While Okami has never competed in the 205-pound division before, he has compiled an impressive track record at welterweight and middleweight.
During his time with UFC, which spanned from 2006-2013, “Thunder” impressively racked up a 13-5 Octagon record. This includes victories over notable veterans like Nate Marquardt, Mark Munoz, Hector Lombard, Mike Swick, Alan Belcher, and the late Evan Tanner. Okami was able to work his way towards a UFC middleweight title shot opposite the great Anderson Silva, but ultimately lost via second-round TKO. In fact, the only fighters to defeat Okami from his UFC inception up until his lone title shot against “Spider” were Rich Franklin and Chael Sonnen.
Not too shabby, huh?
While Okami rides a four-fight winning streak into his matchup with Saint Preux later tonight at UFC Fight Night 117, the Japanese native is looking to reinvent himself with a move up to light heavyweight. Okami is obviously taking anything he can get at this point in his career, but impressive win opposite OSP will make fight fans quickly forget about his past struggles late into his UFC career and give them hope that he can become another player in the hunt for 205-pound gold.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 117 fight card below, starting with the FXX “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. ET, followed by the main card start time of 10 p.m. ET, also on FXX.