In one of the more important fights on UFC Fight Night 28, middleweight contenders Yushin "Thunder" Okami and Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza squared off with title implications in place. Both men were top 10 fighters coming into this bout, looking to make a push toward No 1.
In a bout many fight fans thought would be competitive, Souza peppered the Japanese fighter with relentless power strikes. A right hand put Okami down and Souza pounded away until the referee broke it up. Let's take a look at what we learned from this ever-important affair that lasted just one round.
What We'll Remember about This Fight
Souza's striking. Obviously, he is one of the premiere submission artists on the ground, but lately he has shown his stand up is something to be reckoned with.
All it took was a couple of big shots and the Brazilian broke through the tough jaw of Okami. The stoppage was warranted, as Souza was completely beating up the former title challenger.
What We Learned about Okami
Is Okami a gatekeeper? Possibly. What we learned today is that if he cannot make a fight ugly, he is in trouble.
I think the only way Okami was going to win this fight was to put Souza against the fence and grind out a win. Clinch fighting was essential, but he never got to it. It was surprising to see a guy as highly regarded as Okami get drubbed like that.
What We Learned about Souza
He's legit. The dude has one of the best ground games in MMA, plus he has hatchets for fists. He has become a true mixed martial artist that is a threat for the UFC middleweight belt.
If he keeps this up, he will definitely get a shot at gold. I don't see too many middleweight fighters wanting to meet up with this guy in the cage.
What's Next for Okami
I think a bout with nearly-retired Rich Franklin would be a good bout for both men. Realistically, I don't see that happening, so maybe a fight with the loser of Costa Philippou and Francis Carmont, which takes place at UFC 165 later this month.
What's Next for Souza
I think he will need to win one more fight to get a title shot, especially when considering the possible scenarios of the Chris Weidman-Anderson Silva bout. That said, the winner of the upcoming bout between Michael Bisping and Mark Munoz may be a good fight for him to take in the meanwhile.