Alan “The Talent” Belcher (18-6-0) vs. Yushin “Thunder” Okami (27-7-0)

Just over six years ago, two fresh faced middleweights were making their debuts in the octagon. One was a 9-2 American that had finished all but one of his fights, and the other was a 16-3 Japanese wrecking machine that had a win over soon to be middleweight champion Anderson Silva. It would take four years for Okami to earn his rematch with Anderson Silva, but he would go 10-2 in the octagon before that fight. Alan Belcher did not have it quite as easy at first, because at the young age of 22 he had some growing pains in his career.

Belcher went 1-2 in his first three bouts in the UFC, which lead to him being cut from the promotion. A last minute match at light-heavyweight signaled his return to the UFC and also a turn in his career. Since that 205 bout, Belcher has gone 8-2 with his losses coming to Jason Day, and a very close split decision loss to Yoshihiro Akiyama, which many people believe went to the wrong fighter. While he has not earned a title shot yet, many feel that Belcher is not where he wants to be in his career for two reasons. First, it’s been tough finding willing opponent to take on Belcher, and second a severe eye injury kept him out for nearly two years.

In this bout, it will show where each fighter is headed in his career. Okami was knocked out by Anderson Silva in their rematch, and stopped by Tim Boestch late in the third round. His only win since then is a second round TKO victory over relatively unknown Buddy Roberts. Belcher became the first man to stop Rousimar Palhares by punches, which came surprisingly after going to the ground.

The Bottom Line:

Belcher will want to keep this standing, while Okami will look to bring it to the ground. Belcher’s game has just progressed to the point wheere will be seeing in a second round TKO over Okami.