Thunder will collide with Lightning when Yushin Okami takes on Hector Lombard at UFC on Fuel TV 8 on March 3rd at the Saitama Super Arena.
Okami and Lombard have established themselves as two of the best middleweights in the world, but both had a tough 2012, thanks to Tim Boetsch. Okami looked to rebound after his knockout loss to middleweight king Anderson Silva and he looked to be doing just that for the first two rounds in his fight against Boetsch. However “The Barbarian” overwhelmed the former title contender with brutal uppercuts, leading to remarkable third round TKO victory for the American. Meanwhile Lombard, former Bellator Middleweight Champion, would make his long anticipated UFC debut against non other than Boetsch. After three lackluster rounds, Boetsch would come away with the split decision victory.
Both ended the year strong with Okami dominating Alan Belcher and Lombard knocking out Rousimar Palhares. This will be a crucial fight for both men, with a win elevating the victor to contender status.
Also confirmed for the show is a featherweight clash between Mizuto Hirota and Rani Yahya. After a successful run as a lightweight, winning the Cage Force, Sengoku and DEEP championships, Hirota will drop down to featherweight for a new challenge. Yahya, a veteran of HERO’S and WEC, will look to to get back to back wins for the first time since 2009. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt is coming off a first round submission victory of Josh Grispi back in August.