The UFC's return to Japan follows the theme of "the bigger the name, the bigger the odds" as UFC Fight Night 117 goes Friday night at the Saitama Super Arena.
The card was originally topped by light heavyweight contenders Ovince Saint Preux and Mauricio Rua, but Shogun was injured, forcing former middleweight contender Yushin Okami into the Main Event. And sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark clearly don't believe Okami's time away from the UFC has served him well as he is a huge underdog to the erratic Saint Preux.
Okami, who lost a title fight to Anderson Silva in 2011, has fought mainly in World Series of Fighting since leaving the UFC three years ago. But the brawler is 5-2 in those seven fights, including four straight wins, and has the grappling pedigree to get this fight to the mat.
He should also be buoyed by a home crowd and has the size to hang with a bigger man in Saint Preux, who has lost four of his past six fights. Most of the Asian betting sites offering lines on this fight have Okami at nearly +400 (bet $100 to win $400) odds.
While the rest of the card is heavy on local Japanese and South Korean talent, the best scrap of the night features two women from Brazil. And again, oddsmakers have a steep betting line here on the favorite Claudia Gadelha (-270) over Jessica Andrade (+210).
Both lost recent title shots at the 115-pound women's strap, and Andrade would make a case for a rematch against Joanna Jedrzejczyk with a win here. Gadelha faces a tougher road back to a title fight, as she has already lost twice to the champion.
The other big name on the card is Japanese MMA pioneer Takanori Gomi, who is a big underdog against South Korea's Dong Hyun Kim. That's the lightweight Dong Hyun Kim nicknamed Maestro, not the middleweight Dong Hyun Kim nicknamed Stun Gun, for those keeping track at home.
Gomi, known as the Fireball Kid, has been finished emphatically in his past four UFC fights, so his presence here is mainly for name appeal on the card. Oddsmakers seem to agree, setting Kim, a middling fighter who was finished violently in his first two UFC scraps, at an expensive -350 price on the betting lines.
Gomi is a +265 underdog and probably not a great bet to win just his second fight since 2012.
The card also features the UFC debut of K1 kickboxing champion Gokhan Saki. He is favored at -175 odds for Friday night over Brazilian heavyweight Luiz Henrique da Silva (+145).