RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JANUARY 13: (L-R) Opponents Yuri Alcantara and Michihiro Omigawa face off after weighing in during the UFC 142 Weigh In at HSBC Arena on January 13, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Omigawa is ranked #20 according to USA Today/BE Consensus Rankings. He's "fallen from grace" so to speak with his infamous loss to Darren Elkins, and really, with his performances in general. Despite being a gutsy fighter he's shown little in the way of craft and calculation in the cage (instead opting for the blood and guts of a Don Cherry anthology as he did against Wiman). If Yuri takes this fight, expect him to knock on the doors of the top 25 just as Elkins did before him.
How do these two stack up?
Alcantara: 31 years old | 5'6 | 71" reach
Omigawa: 36 years old | 5'6| reach unknown
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Alcantara got here on a basis of having won his last 12 fights. While he doesn't do any one thing especially well, he's fairly slick on the ground, and isn't afraid to throw down when called upon.
For Omigawa, he's already been here. When he entered the UFC as a Lightweight, he drew Matt Wiman and Thiago Tavares back to back. In the Wiman fight especially, he acquitted himself well. Unfortunately he hasn't been performing to the level of the expectations fans had for him after finding high levels of success at FW in Japan. Wins over Hatsu Hioki, Hiroyuki Takaya, and Marlon Sandro earned him a certified spot in the top 10 at one point.
To be fair, he should only have one loss at FW in the UFC and that was in a spirited battle against the guy fighting for the title in Chad Mendes. It's difficult to forecast Omigawa's future. Despite gaining elite status at 145, he seems destined to be a talented, gritty, but flawed journeyman. And against Alcantara, there's real upset potential.
Will Omigawa turn into another Japanese prospect that went bust? It seems that way, although should Yuri win, that will speak to Alcantara's abilities more than Michihiro's flaws.
Why should you care?
Omigawa is still a quality fighter, regardless of all the bloated criticism. A win over Omigawa would identify Alcantara as a force at 145. If he's impressive in victory of course.
More SB Nation/Bloody Elbow coverage after the jump...