Alan Belcher came into his rematch with Yushin Okami seeming more prepared than ever. A win would have propelled him to the top of the contender list in the middleweight division and put a huge exclamation point on a return to the octagon that many thought would never be possible. The title ambitions will have to wait.
Belcher’s much improved grappling game was not enough to stifle the best Japanese fighter in the world and his ability to control him on the feet came up short. Okami was relentless with his takedowns, and even with a referee that was consistently standing the fight up to Belcher’s advantage, the Mississippian could not get it going.
In the second round, Okami was wobbled by Belcher, which was one of the high points of the fight fort he fighter. Short of having him mounted briefly in the third, Belcher offered little for Okami.
For Okami, it is a huge win, one of which keeps him in the top tier of the middleweight division. And while it took years to fight Anderson Silva for the title, Okami proved to the world that he is still a foce to be reckoned with in the UFC.