If you were given the biggest opportunity of your life and came up short, how much motivation would you have the next time you had to go to work? Welcome to Yushin Okami's world. On one side you have an incredibly talented fighter who just can't climb that final hurdle, and on the other side you have...Redneck Judo! Yushin Okami (26-6, 10-3 UFC) meets Tim Boetsch (14-4, 5-3 UFC).
Okami is currently ranked at number three at middleweight in the USA Today/BE Consensus Rankings, while Boetsch is currently holding down the number twenty three position. Okami isn't going anywhere with a win, but the Barbarian's stock could skyrocket if he's able to defeat Okami. This middleweight UFC 144 bout is the third fight of the main card, and will air live on pay per view. The PPV broadcast begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
How do these two stack up?
Okami: 30 years old | 6'2" | 72" reach Boetsch: 31 years old | 5'11" | 74" reach
Yushin "Thunder" Okami is one of the few Japanese fighters that made the transition to North American MMA relatively early in his career. He entered the UFC in late 2006 and rattled off four straight wins before losing a number one contender's bout to former champion Rich Franklin. He then racked up three more wins, but lost to Chael Sonnen. Two more wins got him another number one contenders bout, this time against Nate Marquardt at UFC 122. He won this one though, which earned him a rematch with Anderson Silva at UFC 134 (he held a win over Silva via DQ long ago). Unfortunately he looked very tentative and Silva knocked him out in the second round. This is his first bout since that loss.
Tim "The Barbarian" Boetsch won over the hearts of fans everywhere when he dumped David Heath on his head in his UFC debut at UFC 81. Unfortunately, losses to Matt Hamill and Jason Brilz ushered him out of the organization the next year. Three wins on the regional circuit earned him a second chance, and a win over Todd Brown had people interested, but uber-prospect Phil Davis shut him down in his next fight and submitted him. This led to the Barbarian dropping some pounds and going down to 185. Two solid wins quickly established him as a contender at 185, and he now gets the chance of a lifetime against a top five fighter.
Why should you care?
It'll be interesting to see how Okami rebounds from the Silva loss. Plus, Redneck Judo!
You can catch more UFC 144 preview content from Bloody Elbow after the jump.
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