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Vitor Belfort fighting Yushin Okami for top contendership at UFC 122

When hard-hitting Brazilian middleweight Vitor Belfort recently made statements regarding an upcoming fight in November against someone other than current 185-pound champ Anderson Silva the speculation on who he might be facing immediately began. Belfort helped clear the matter up a bit last week by eliminating Chael Sonnen from the list of possibilities, leaving slugger Chris Leben and perennial contender Yushin Okami as the two leading candidates.

It now appears fans have an official answer.

Word of Belfort taking on Okami first began surfacing at the UFC 118 “Fan Expo” with “The Phenom” himself mentioning the bout to fans and has since been confirmed by MMAWeekly. According to the report, the fight will take place on November 13th in Germany at UFC 122. The event is actually one Belfort requested to be passed over for, as he recently stated he specifically asked Zuffa executive Lorenzo Fertitta to not be booked overseas for his next in-ring appearance.

The fight between Okami and Belfort will almost certainly earn the winner a crack at the UFC’s middleweight championship, as both have been mentioned as top contenders in the past and Belfort would have already fought Silva for the belt had injuries/timing not prevented the bout from occurring a number of times over the past year.

Belfort is 19-8 as a professional with thirteen knockouts to his credit. He most recently defeated Rich Franklin via TKO in the first round last September at UFC 103 and holds notable wins over Wanderlei Silva, Matt Lindland, and Gilbert Yvel.

His opponent, Okami, holds a 25-5 record and is known for his well-rounded, technical approach to opponents. He has emerged victorious in five of his last six fights and is 9-2 in the Octagon.

  • Vitor better bring all that hand speed with him. If Yushin gets ahold of him he’ll break Vitor down OR get the decision.
    Rather would’ve seen Leben Vs. Vitor but I do think Okami is more deserving of a title shot.

  • bigbadjohn says:

    weird to think both these guys are probably crossing their fingers, hoping the unbeaten and legendary Silva is on the throne still come time for their shot and not the wrestling extraordinaire Chael Sonnen.

  • Rece Rock says:

    I want some Crippler news …..

  • hindsightufuk says:

    yeah i wanna see Chris vs Wanderlei, dont care if they get a shot after or not.

  • Yushi stands zero chance unless…….no chance. Vitor by way of casual break down black and blue blur knockout did that just really happen that fast beat down because Vitor has been in with the best of the best and moved right there with them. Yushi is good but not top 5 in the world in my opinion.

    Vitor on the other hand gets his own paragraph. Vitor has struggled in the past with future Champions but to his credit, Vitor has gone the distance with those future Champions but I give Vitor the win because of what he has done lately. Since his loss the Dan Henderson, Vitor has knocked everyone out in highlight reel fashion except “the messenger” who has gone the distance with the likes of Jeremy Horn in 2003 and Fabricio Werdum in 2002.

  • moosebaby02 says:

    i have vitor if is stays up and okami if it hits the ground or the cage

  • Mad_Hatter_XX says:

    Tired of hearing when or if Vitor will fight or even who. Just do it and be done with it. I got Vitor via KO rnd 2

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    This will be interesting. I doubt Vitor against Okami, in fact I would actually say he has a better chance against A. Silva than Yushin. Okami may be able to frustrate Belfort with his strength in the grapple and wear him out, whereas Anderson would be more likely to try and best him in a striking match where I have rarely seen Belfort lose apart from against Chuck in his prime, when Vitor was unprepared due to short notice and even that was a close one.
    I actually think this is how it is going to play out. Okami will beat Belfort, Sonnen will beat Silva, Okami will beat Sonnen and then hopefully Belfort and Silva will fight, and if it happens I got Belfort by TKO.

  • MCM says:

    Sonnen already beat Okami, and I don’t think he’s gonna get passed Silva this time either. But I like your take on Vitor/Okami. :)

  • Sykotick says:

    Ok Vitor has been my favorite fighter for a LOOONG time (since he beat the crap out of Daijiro Matsui) so I Will never make a smart decision when it comes to his fights, hell when Barnett tested positive and it was rumored that Vitor was gonna step in against Fedor, I thought “he could take em” so I will say Vitor by “DAAAMN” knock out.

    On a sidenote, I love how Chael Sonnen has been deemed the savior after being FINISHED by Anderson Silva. Sure he was kicking ass, but like it or not, there was no controversy over it, there was no “Machida v Rua 1” decision, he was finished. On to the next opponent for The Spider… The Phenom.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Yes he got choked and no there was no controversy about it but he was winning 40-33 on most score cards and winning the 5th easily before making a mistake and Anderson sinking in a triangle/arm lock combo. He won the majority of the stand up and for over 4 and a 1/2 rds completely dominated Silva. There does not have to be controversy over a win to warrant a rematch. I want a rematch because I think Sonnen will win, A. Silva had a training camp in which he would have focused mainly on take down d, getting up and working off his back and yet Sonnen took him down at will and held him there for 4 and 1/2 rds without being in any danger on the ground apart from the obvious triangle attempt and success by Silva. A. Silva will not be able to stop the take downs next time either, the question is will Sonnen make another mistake.

  • Creature says:

    Pretty sure i called this one lol :) and going with okami via dec

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    40-34 is more like it.

  • JabCrossHook says:

    lol to the dude that thinks okami can lay on vitor, you’re in for a reality check

  • Creature says:

    Well okami wont just lay on him, hes gonna take him down and beat him up, much like chael/silva. and if u didnt see the munoz fight he stand up has improved alot, enough 2 stand wit vitor until he gets the takedowns, vitor may be fast, but his 1 touch ko power isnt like hendo/liddell/rampage. okami will be fine

  • bigbadjohn says:

    lol to the dude who said Okami will beat Sonnen. Either he didn’t see their past fight or he and Yushin have perfected time travel and Okami went back to the late 90s and joined the Minnesota Golden Gophers

  • Sykotick says:

    Wtf?! Vitor’s one hit power isn’t like liddell’s? Didn’t liddell smash franklins face for like 4:45seconds? Yeah, and Franklin couldn’t really defend with one arm?

    Now correct me if I’m wrong but Vitor put Franklin away early in the first, wasn’t it?

    Didn’t people think that Lindland was gonna die after he got smashed? (not pokin fun at what happened, just using it to prove a point, I personally am glad he wasn’t seriously hurt). Isn’t he a hard guy to finish?

    Belforts one weakness in my eyes is his will to win a fight when he is being pushed around, cuz KO power he has got in spades

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    lol to the dudes that think if the f1st fight goes one way the 2nd will too. Sorry but saying that Okami lost to Sonnen so he will again is dumb it may happen but it may not. I’m sick of people saying but blah blah won the first fight. Yeah no shit but it doesn’t mean he will win the 2nd one. Perhaps you should look at rematches in the past. Hughes vs Penn, Sylvia vs Arlovski, Chuck vs Couture, Penn vs Pulver, Rampage vs Wanderlei, Machida vs Shogun, Serra vs GSP, Lesnar vs Mir, Chuck vs Horn, Couture vs Belfort, Sonnen vs Filho, Lister vs Horn and about 20,000,000 other instances, so the next time some one says “duhhh but that guy beat him last time” don’t, it makes you sound silly.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    By the way of Vitor’s 8 loses at least 5 were because he was taken down and controlled so I don’t get where people are finding it hard to fathom. The other 3 were Randy’s dirty boxing, Chuck’s stand up and Overeem’s choke. If Belfort has a weakness that is what it seems to be. If you want to beat him you take him down and control him or wear on him in the clinch. Okami is capable of doing just that. Will he? we’ll see.

  • stone says:

    I hope Vitor gets a fast brutal KO! Okami is a borring decision winner… Yeah he has “oCtAgOn-CoNtRoL” but it is BORRING to watch! C’Mon Vitor! He’s an “Old-School” favorite and I always root for those guys!!!

  • Creature says:

    Hahaha well 1. liddell didnt smash franklins face for 4:45 sec. idk what fight u think u were watching my friend. 2. sorry shoulda said a prime chuck liddell. and yeah he won in the 1st but didnt KO him in 1 punch, cought him and followed up with multiple punches afterwards.

  • stone says:

    IF CHAEL FIGHTS OKAMI AGAIN, HE WILL F–K HIM UP AGAIN! Chael’s stand up wasn’t lookin too bad against the Spider, Chael would own him in that aspect of the fight as well! Its not about “blah blah he won the 1st fight” its the simple fact that CHAEL OWNED OKAMI! Okami traveled all the way to Oregon to train with Team Quest afterwards… CHAEL OWNS OKAMI!

  • Creature says:

    Wasnt saying he doesnt have power, just saying not enough 2 touch okami once and the fights over, the way hendo, rampage, and a PRIME liddel had

  • JabCrossHook says:

    When we see Okami convulsing on the floor like matt lindland i will laff. But seriously all of Vitor’s losses were at LHW, so he’s used to facing bigger fighters than Okami. Weght and strength factor a lot into top control and IMO, Vitor is bigger and stronger than Okami, enough that he should be able to take it back up to the feet. If that happens then Okami is going to sleep.

  • boomnutz says:

    40-34???? and 40-33???? where the hell are those scores coming from. more like 40-36, you can’t really be saying 2 or 3 rounds were 10-8 are you?!?! 10-8 rounds are total beatdowns. This fight scares as me these are the typical fights Vitor struggles with, a strong grappler, although he did just knock Lindland’s head off, so i’ll stick with Belfort, and i got Silva in the rematch, i like Vitor but i think if he fights Silva it will be one of those fights that makes Silva look unhuman, he’ll feed off Vitor aggresiveness. We’ve seen it in the past when people come after Anderson (standing) they die… a la Forrest Griffin and everyone else

  • JabCrossHook says:

    I’m sorry but Vitor no longer rushes people like that, lately he’s been very patient and has been training at Xtreme Couture with Randy and a bunch of other good fighters. He’s actually been patient with his striking, not throwing a lot of shots but the ones he threw were well placed counters or just well timed controlled aggressiveness. He evolved as a fighter but we shall see how far if/when he beats Okami, hopefully in spectacular fashion.

  • bigbadjohn says:

    MMA Logic, have you ever seen someone stuff Chael? no. But people have had some success off their backs against Mr. Sonnen. Okami wasnt really one of them. I couldnt in a million years see Yushin taking a rematch. You can go ahead and list examples of vengeance in rematches but guess what, they dont suggest nearly the logic that their previous fight has already provided.

  • Niv says:

    I think this is a good tune up fight for Vitor before he gets a crack at taking the Spider out. This version of Belfort seems to be a reborn fighter clear of past demons and this is why I think he’s still the best bet to dethrone Silva.

    As impressive as Sonnen was against Silva I really don’t see him winning the next time around either.

    If we look at who Belfort has wins against it’s a who’s who of mma and the impressive part is he beat guys like Couture, Wandy, Herring and Yvel when they were at the top of their games.

    I personally believe the tragedy regarding his sister in 2004 is behind him which clearly triggered the downslide in his career. The guy we see now is maybe even more dangerous than the guy fighting 7 years ago, I truly believe he’s the guy that will dethrone Silva.

  • Dufresne says:

    I’m going with Vitor for a couple of reasons.

    1) Vitor obviously has the better striking

    2) Vitor has fought, and beaten, better opponents. And don’t say “But Okami beat Silva!” because that was a DQ and a crappy one at that. Okami could have continued, he just pussed out.

    3) Okami has lost to guys with worse hands and ground games (Franklin anyone?) than Vitor.

    4) Okami is smaller than other wrestler’s Vitor has faced.

    5) Okami isn’t as high of a caliber a wrestler as Vitor has faced.

    I’m not trying to dog on Okami, but the fact is that he doesn’t have the background that Vitor does.

  • boomnutz says:

    just curious, and i’m not trying to suggest anything at all, but am i the only that thought Vitor looked soft in his last fight, like body composition wise? I also thought he seemed sad almost. He’s the perfect example of a fighter that could use a sport’s pyshologist, the phenom moniker def. fucked with him, i’m hoping he’s all straight in the head now though

  • JBAR says:

    The 2 times Okami has stepped up the level of his competition he has lost, Franklin and Sonnen. No reason for me to think this time will be any different but this is MMA and anything can happen.

  • manny says:

    Vitor vs Okami = Hoping to see Vitor win by KO so he can get the next chance against silva fi not then ‘m not to interested in this fight.

    What makes Sonnen fans & the UFC think that Sonnen can beat a HEALTHY SIlva if he couldn’t do it while he was hurt????
    Nothing. Its all about $$$$
    A healthy Silva will FINISH Sonnen AGAIN, no matter wat the score cards show, the result was a Lost by Submission. Sonnen will make a mistake again like he has done on most of his fight, just ask Filho W(triangle), F. Griffin W (Triangle), Maia W( Triangle, & Silva W(Triangle). When was the last time Sonnen actually stopped anyone?


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