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UFC 150: Yushin Okami looks to get back on winning track against Buddy Roberts

Yushin Okami (left) will face Buddy Roberts at UFC 150

The UFC 150 event will feature a middleweight fight between former number one contender Yushin Okami and Buddy Roberts. This is a big fight for Okami as he’ll be looking to avoid his third loss in a row while Roberts will be looking to make a name for himself with a win over a top ten middleweight and former number one contender. Let’s see how this one breaks down.

Buddy Roberts (12-2) comes into this fight off his successful promotional debut against Caio Magalhaes on the UFC on FX 3 event in June. Roberts was able to win a unanimous decision to set up his showdown with Okami. Roberts trains out of Jackson’s MMA and has five submission wins to his credit and four wins via TKO/KO. Admittedly I do not know much about Roberts, but he did show pretty good takedown defense against Magalhaes while striking enough to earn the decision. I’m pretty sure that Roberts has a well rounded game just by the camp that he trains with and his record indicates that he’s versed in striking and submissions. However, Okami will be the best fighter he has faced in his career to date.

Yushin Okami (26-7) comes into this fight off the stunning upset loss to Tim Boetsch at UFC 144. Okami was dominating the fight for the first two rounds only to be hurt with a punch that changed the entire fight and ultimately led to his TKO loss at the hands of Boetsch. Okami has now lost back-to-back fights for the first time in his career with the other loss coming in his title fight against Anderson Silva. The Boetsch fight is the best that I’ve seen Okami look in the cage prior to getting rocked and put away. His striking seemed very crisp and he transitioned well from striking to takedowns whenever he wanted. Okami has nine wins via TKO/KO and four wins via submission.

This should be an interesting fight as both fighters can fight standing or on the ground. I think Roberts will be more interested in keeping the fight standing and utilizing the reach advantage that he’ll have over Okami. Okami has good takedown defense anyways, so it’s not likely that Roberts could get the fight to the mat. That’s not going to happen. Okami is the more accurate striker of the two fighters, and Okami has been succesful on 49% of his takedown attempts in the UFC against very good competition.

I think the key Roberts to pull of the win is simply to keep the fight standing, using good footwork to create angles to strike while striking from a distance. He should avoid clinching with Okami as that’s a strength of his and it would allow Okami the opportunity to take him down. Okami has very good top control on the ground, so Roberts will need to get back to his feet instead of trying to play the submission as Okami has never been submitted in MMA competition.

Okami needs to continue doing what he was doing in the Boetsch fight(minus getting knocked out). As I said earlier, it was the best Okami that I had seen in the cage and Boetsch has a similar style to Roberts. Okami needs to use his jab to close the distance to clinch and work takedowns or to land the straight left from the southpaw position.

I am a little worried that Okami has been TKO’ed in his last two fights, but I think this jump up in competition is a bit much for Roberts at this point. I do think it’ll be a close fight, but Okami should take this via decision.

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