"...And the new UFC middleweight champion of the world, Yushin Okami!"
These are the words that UFC middleweight contender Yushin Okami is hoping to hear in less than 24 hours, but in order to hear them he will have to defeat the greatest mixed martial artist of all-time, Anderson Silva.
Silva and Okami are set to square off in the main event of UFC 134 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, which takes place later today.
With 13 straight victories in the UFC, and eight consecutive title defenses, Silva has looked almost unbeatable during his time in MMA's most prominent promotion. But he definitely does have some holes in his armor.
So, what does Okami need to do if he wants to beat Silva and become the UFC's new middleweight champ?
Basically, he needs to do exactly what Chael Sonnen did to Silva at UFC 117, and that is keep the pressure on him.
Too often guys are bewildered by Silva, they just stand in front of him, hesitant, because they're afraid to engage with him.
This hesitancy allows Silva time to figure out his opponents timing, and is a big part why he has such success on his feet.
Okami needs to be aggressive right out of the gate, and not give Silva any time to figure out his timing.
While using his aggression to keep Silva off balance, Okami needs to drag this fight to the ground, where his greatest advantage will be.
He has to get inside Silva's range, likely eating a couple punches, and get the fight to the mat before Silva can do any damage in the clinch with his brutal Muay Thai.
The hardest part will likely be getting inside Silva's range. Okami is an excellent grappler, so once he has a hold of Silva he should be able to take it the ground quickly.
Once on the ground the game plan is simple: Stay busy and don't get submitted.
This simple strategy almost worked for Sonnen a little over a year ago, and there is no reason it can't work for Okami at UFC 134.
Sonnen is known for having sub-par submission defense, and it took Silva almost five rounds to submit him.
Okami has never been submitted by anyone, so I think there is a realistic chance that he could roll with Silva for all five rounds without getting caught in anything.
Sonnen has already laid the groundwork for how to beat Silva, and Okami has all the tools to be effective using that same strategy.
Keep the pressure on, get inside, get the takedown and stay on top.
That's what Okami's game plan should be for this one and, if he can execute it perfectly, we may very well have a new middleweight champion.
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