Saturday, December 29 – 10:30 p.m. ET MGM Grand Garden Arena – Las Vegas, NV
Yushin Okami (28-7) vs. Alan Belcher (17-5)
Middleweight bout Line: Belcher -130, Okami +100
In what figures to be the most evenly fought bout on the UFC 155 main card, middleweights Yushin Okami and Alan Belcher will take to the Octagon.
Both of these fighters are coming off TKO victories. Okami punched Buddy Roberts into the ground in the second round of his last bout, but had lost his previous two fights. Those, however, were against the best of the best, including a lost title bout to Anderson Silva, in which Okami held his own until the second round. Belcher has been more consistently successful lately, but hasn’t fought fighters as talented. He last TKO’ed Rousimar Palhares, and prior to that had won three in a row. Ultimately, even though Belcher is the more athletic fighter, Okami is too seasoned to go down easily in this one and should be able to grind out a win. Play on OKAMI as a slight underdog in this one.
The MMA Odds Breaker crew gives their fight predictions based on the opening lines for this bout: "Thunder" Okami is not the most athletic or physically talented of fighters, but he makes up for it with smarts, patience and defense. He owns 12 career decision victories, as he is more than glad to go all three rounds and take it to the judges. But he can capitalize on his openings too, with 10 career knockouts. His ground-and-pound style is supported by his general strength, even if he isn’t necessarily the most seemingly natural fighter. A southpaw and black belt in Judo, he has the pedigree and fight history to either win via decision or TKO here.
Unlike Okami, "The Talent" Belcher has no interest in taking a fight to the judges. He has nine career knockouts and seven submissions. Of his past four fights, all wins, only one made it out of the first round. He is a well-rounded fighter, not insisting on taking fights one way, but has his attack based in his solid striking game. But he also mixes in Judo, Jiu-Jitsu and kickboxing. Belcher will come out aggressively in this one looking to take the early win, but may have a tough time against a smart defender like Okami. Play against the slight favorite here.