Yushin Okami finally earned a title shot with his UFC 122 win over Nate Marquardt, but his chances of holding the belt are not good. Photo by Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
"UFC 122: Marquardt vs. Okami" is finally in the books and the event and, as predicted, was completely overshadowed by the Top Rank boxing fight between Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito.
On top of that, Zuffa's promotion of the event (if you can call it that), was downright embarrassing and the card was further trashed when Alessio Sakara pulled out of his co-main event fight with Jorge Rivera at the last minute. This was a lame duck event in every sense of the phrase heading in, more so than any event I can recall.
Cards can look good on paper and not deliver and vice versa. Unfortunately for all MMA fans, this card was not only bad on paper, but in the Octagon as well. The fight to be watching Saturday night was Pacquiao's epic beating of Margarito, not the embarrassment that was UFC 122, where, of the five main card fights, only one had any level of excitement (Dennis Siver's handling of Andre Winner). This was a card mainly devoid of any merit whatsoever.
Even though the card did not pan out (a severe understatement), there's still one thing worth talking about: It looks like Yushin Okami is finally going to get his title shot.
Okami picked up his 10th UFC win with a unanimous decision victory against Nate Marquardt in the evening's main event, earning a chance to compete for the UFC middleweight championship for the first time, likely in mid-2011 where he'll face the winner of the February fight between Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort. I asked Forrest Lynn of Lights Out Radio for his opinion on Okami's chances against either Silva or Belfort.
In two words: Not good. Being so unwilling to pull the trigger will get him knocked out fast against either guy. You can't stand there and stare at Anderson Silva or Vitor Belfort like you can Mark Munoz and Nate Marquardt. Combine that with him being as hittable as he is and he could be TKO'd quick.
Lynn hits the nail right on the head here, in my opinion. You look at Okami's last two fights (with Munoz and Marquardt) and they have been lacking one thing: Significant offense of any variety. They haven't been bad fights necessarily, but Okami's inability to step on the gas is going to severely limit him against rabid fighters like Silva or Belfort.
Unless he makes a significant change, Okami is going to have a tough time competing, especially if he can't get the fight to the ground. He stands a chance there, but if the fight remains on the feet for any significant stretch of time, he's doomed. He'll be knocked out or easily outpointed.
You've got to be happy to see Okami finally get a shot at the title. Ten wins in the UFC is something special, but just like the timing of things didn't work out for him before, the opponent is going to be the big problem this time.