“Thunder” trumped “Lightning” in a battle of top contenders in the UFC’s middleweight division as Yushin Okami survived a late onslaught by Hector Lombard to earn a split decision victory.

Yushin Okami used his kicks to start and then circled out of trouble as Hector Lombard stalked looking for a fast start. Lombard then blistered Okami with a kick but it cost him as Okami ducked in and put him on his back. Lombard exploded off his back and quickly made his way back to his feet, getting right back to pursuing Okami. Lombard finally found the range with his jab, then followed up with a nasty left hand down the middle. Okami would earn another late takedown but again was unable to control Lombard on the ground. As time counted down on the round, both fighters battled in the clinch with knees and punches to the body.

As Lombard came out moving forward, Okami struck first with a knee up the middle. Okami went to work with his jab, then peppered Lombard with a straight left hand. Okami continued to dictate the range with his jab as Lombard struggled to get inside and land. After establishing his stand up game, Okami mixed it up and took the fight back to the mat once again. Okami went to his trademark smothering style from there, wearing down Lombard with his stifling top control. Okami made his way to mount then punished Lombard with punches from the top until the bell sounded on the second.

Lombard came out with a tremendous sense of urgency to start the third, landing big bombs to the head of Okami. A staggered Okami fought back but ate a flurry of powerful shots from Lombard as he struggled to survive the onslaught. Okami managed to recover, but then pulled guard giving up position to Lombard. Okami defended well from his back then scrambled to his knees looking to get his hands on Lombard’s leg, but ended up on his back once again. Both fighters fought back to their feet and then engaged in the clinch. Lombard then stuffed another takedown attempt from Okami, but failed to mount any serious offense as time ran out on the bout.

After three exciting rounds of action, scores of 28-29, 29-28, and 29-28 improves Yushin Okami’s record to 29-7 overall (13-4 UFC). The loss for Hector Lombard drops his overall record to 32-4-1 (1-2 UFC).

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