Yushin Okami may need to bring an extra set of drawers if he can't get the fight to the ground against Alan Belcher.
The two middleweight contenders are scheduled to meet again in a long-awaited rematch of their August 2006 bout at UFC 155 on Saturday night.
Okami was the fighter with all the momentum in the first bout. He defeated Belcher by unanimous decision and went on to climb to the top of the middleweight ranks.
Things are bit different this time around, as Belcher is the one on the rise. While Okami is 1-2 in his last three fights, Belcher is riding a four-fight win streak.
A win over Okami would go a long way in finally getting Belcher over the hump and pushing him into the upper-echelon portion of the middleweight division. In an appearance on MMAWeekly Radio, Belcher explained why fans should expect a much different fight this time around.
I've got to scratch that one; we're both different fighters. He's still the same athlete and still a good grappler, but he's improved in a lot of different ways. I was looking at his most recent fights to go by.
I wouldn't even have to train for him if I could just erase that and not know what he was going to do at all, I could go in there and he wouldn't take me down at all, as easy as he did then. Now he couldn't do the same thing to me again. That fight doesn't matter, and I'm a lot better at wrestling and grappling than I was then.
Belcher has come a long way in the grappling department. He proved it in his last bout against Brazilian Jiu-jitsu ace Rousimar Palhares. After being taken down, Belcher reversed Palhares into the truck position, where he nearly secured a twister submission.
Despite his improved grappling, Belcher is primarily known for his world class striking. Outside of Anderson Silva, he is arguably the most diverse striker in the entire division.
The standup isn't where Okami wants to be in this fight. He'll likely look to utilize his striking to set up takedowns in the open or against the cage. Belcher believes his newfound grappling abilities will make all the difference in this fight.
If Okami can't get the takedown, he could be in a lot of trouble.
Every second we're on the feet, I'm going to be bringing the pain to him. I'm going to make him not want to be in there with me. I want it worse than him, I want this win worse than any fight ever.
If he can't get me down, he's going to be crapping his pants. Whenever I hit him, he's going to realize when he looks in my eyes that I want it a lot more than he does, and he's just going to be the best he can just fighting off his instincts, his heart's not really going to be in it because he's going to feel my heart and my ferocity. He will be scared.
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