UFC 134 Fight Card: 4 Reasons Yushin Okami Could Beat Anderson Silva
Anderson Silva is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
He is a deadly striker that can finish just about anyone in the middleweight division and just about anyone in the light heavyweight division. Silva has put together quite the string of highlight reel victories, along with some underwhelming ones.
Nevertheless, he has cemented himself as the consensus top fighter in the world.
At UFC 134 Silva will face off against Yushin Okami. This a rematch of their 2006 fight where Okami won by disqualification after Anderson performed a bone-rattling upkick while Okami's knees were still on the ground.
While the record books still call it a win for Okami, if you watch the fight it was clear who was winning. "The Spider" had Okami mesmerized and desperate while they were on their feet. It was only after Anderson sprawled Okami's take down was he able to grab a leg and pull it out for top control.
Many fans have already laughed off this fight as just another win for Anderson. I've heard more people asking about Silva's next fight whether it be against welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre or on Fox against an unnamed opponent.
This is expected, but Okami should not be counted out of this fight. He has a chance to shake the MMA world to its core.
Here are a few reasons why he could pull it off.
Okami Can Control Silva on the Ground
Yushin Okami is not Chael Sonnen.
His wrestling pedigree is nowhere near the level of Sonnen. However, Okami does have the ability to take fighters down whether it is with his judo or his wrestling.
Anderson Silva has either shown excellent takedown defense or, as we saw with Sonnen, he got manhandled.
Okami has got the skill set to get him down if he can put the pressure on Silva rather than let Anderson sit back and counter him. Why Sonnen was so successful against Silva was his ability to be relentless in his efforts to get him down.
In their first fight Okami was very hesitant and looked lost on his feet. He has got a solid chin and the submission defense to survive on the ground with Silva.
I know many write off Anderson's match with Sonnen because of the reported injuries Silva was dealing with and Sonnen's positive test. Even more so after Silva made us forget about how close he was to losing the belt when he knocked out Vitor Belfort.
With Okami now training with Sonnen I expect him to be much more aggressive. If he can push the pace against Silva and close the gap on the feet, it will be a much closer fight than people expect.
Anderson Silva just turned 36 this past April. There comes a point in every fighter's career that age catches up to them.
As I mentioned earlier, a lot of fans wrote off Silva's performance against Sonnen due to his reported injuries and of course the positive test from Sonnen.
However, we never really saw Silva tested versus Vitor Belfort. Sure, Silva dropped Belfort with a highlight knockout. We still didn't see him tested.
Okami is going to be pushing the pace against Silva. He is going to be in his face constantly trying to take him down. It could be that Silva's takedown defense has declined enough for this to happen.
Okami on top of Silva is bad news for the Spider's fans. While he isn't going to submit him, if he can keep up an aggressive ground and pound attack he could wear him down.
Doing this for five rounds is another story, but if Silva's skills truly are declining then it is entirely possible.
Age catches everyone.
MMA's Judging System
We all know that the judging and scoring system favors top control. Realistically, the most probable way Okami wins this fight is by decision.
If he is going to win it will most likely be because he was able to get Silva down and keep him there.
Now we know that even if Okami doesn't do any real damage to Silva his ability to control the action and be aggressive will win him the fight. Even Chael Sonnen didn't do any substantial damage to Silva, but we all know that he was leaving there with the belt if they made it to the bell.
Agree with it or not that is what we have with MMA judging at this point.
It will be a challenge for Okami to get Silva down in the first place and an even greater one to keep him there for five rounds.
However, if he can, he will most likely be crowned the new UFC middleweight champion by the judges.
This Is MMA
I'll be honest with all of you. I believe that come Saturday night we will see Silva do what he does best and will leave with his belt.
The purpose of this article was not to throw ridiculous arguments out there for Okami like, "Well, he won the first fight." I wanted to take a realistic approach and give you the most likely reasons that Okami could become the UFC middleweight champion.
My best argument may simply be that this is MMA we are talking about.
It is one of the most unpredictable sports in the world, and just when you think you are certain about the outcome of a fight the impossible happens.
Okami is a massive underdog and I wouldn't place any money on him. However, he has the chance to shock the world.
I know most of you will rolls your eyes and brush it off, but there are a few things you need to remember.
Fabricio Werdum submitted Fedor Emelianenko.
Gabriel Gonzaga knocked out Mirko Cro Cop with a head kick.
Matt Serra stopped Georges St-Pierre.
We all love this sport for many reasons, but the unpredictability will always be one of the top ones. It may be "unthinkable," but never impossible.