UFC 155: Yushin Okami vs. Alan Belcher Head-to-Toe Breakdown

Tim McTiernanCorrespondent INovember 20, 2012

UFC 155: Yushin Okami vs. Alan Belcher Head-to-Toe Breakdown

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    The UFC's annual New Years card is shaping up to be one of the best in recent memory. In the main event, Junior dos Santos will put his heavyweight title on the line against a previous opponent, Cain Velasquez.

    In the co-main event, there's a light heavyweight matchup between Forrest Griffin and Phil Davis. Also on the card is a No. 1 contender fight at middleweight between Tim Boetsch and Chris Weidman, an interesting lightweight matchup between Joe Lauzon and Jim Miller, and rounding out the main card is a middleweight rematch between Alan "The Talent" Belcher and Yushin Okami.

    Belcher and Okami previously met in their UFC debuts. Okami took home a unanimous decision that night, so let's see who's got the edge this time.

Striking

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    Neither fighter is a particularly high-level striker within the realm of MMA. Both have solid striking, but it is not their bread and butter.

    That being said, Belcher probably has the advantage in the striking category. Having been knocked out in two of his last three fights, Okami does not help his case there.

    Edge: Alan Belcher

Grappling

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    This is another category that's rather difficult to call. Belcher is a talented grappler. He was able to play footsie with Rousimar Palhares and live to walk another day.

    Not many people can say that; just ask Tomasz Drwal.

    Meanwhile, Okami is a wrestler first and foremost. He takes his opponents down and looks to win fights that way.

    Given Okami's success against some top-level fighters such as Nate Marquardt and Mark Munoz, he takes the edge here.

    Edge: Yushin Okami

Submissions

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    Okami may have the edge in grappling, but Belcher has the edge when it comes to submissions.

    As mentioned on the previous slide, Belcher played footsie with Palhares and survived. That means he has outstanding submission defense.

    In his career, Belcher has seven submission victories. Okami has 10 more fights and only four submissions.

    Edge: Alan Belcher

Strength

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    Yushin Okami is known as one of the strongest middleweights in the UFC. He was promoted for his title fight against Anderson Silva, and he trains with the likes of Chael Sonnen.

    Okami is incredibly strong for someone who fights at 185 pounds, and he will definitely have the edge in that category.

    Edge: Yushin Okami

Conditioning

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    Belcher has never had a problem with his cardio. He always comes into fights in good condition and is able to go hard for 15 minutes or until the fight is over.

    Okami hasn't shown serious cardio problems, except in the third round of the Tim Boetsch fight when he gassed out badly. He lost that fight because he got tired, and that could make or break him against Belcher.

    Edge: Alan Belcher

Variables

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    There really is no main variable in this fight. These two are both well-rounded fighters who are very evenly matched in this fight.

    It's going to come down to who has the better game plan and who can execute better come fight night. The only possible factor in this fight is whether or not the loss to Okami will mess with Belcher's head.

    Don't count on that, though; after coming back from several serious injuries, one would expect Belcher to be very mentally tough.

Prediction

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    Okami won the first match, but count on Belcher to even the score on fight night.

    Belcher has improved, and Okami looks as though he may be tailing off in his career. Belcher will execute better and be able to outstrike and out-grapple Okami.

    Prediction: Alan Belcher by unanimous decision


    Tim McTiernan is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. For the latest news on everything MMA, follow him on Twitter @TimMcTiernan.