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Yushin Okami Gets Jon Fitch at WSOF 24

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Japanese fighter Yushin “Thunder” Okami attempts to do what many fighters have done before him in changing weight classes – in his case he’s dropping from middleweight to welterweight.

World Series of Fighting announced that Okami will fight at 170 pounds for the first time in nine years when he takes on fellow veteran Jon Fitch at WSOF 24, Oct. 17 at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn. The event will be broadcast on live on NBCSN.

Okami has spent most of his career fighting at 185. In the last nine years, he’s fought in several promotions – including a seven-year stint in the UFC that garnered him some success. Training with Team Quest and Chael Sonnen, Okami evolved into the fighter that he is today. He defeated former world champions Evan Tanner, Nate Marquardt and Hector Lombard. He unsuccessfully challenged Anderson Silva for the UFC middleweight title in 2011.

The Japanese fighter was released from the UFC after his loss to former Strikeforce middleweight champion Ronaldo Souza. Shortly after UFC gave him the boot, he signed with WSOF and defeated Svetlozar Savov in his promotional debut. Okami unsuccessfully challenged David Branch for the WSOF middleweight title in November. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt finished him in the fourth round via TKO, which led to his decision to drop to 170.

Thunder’s previous stint at 170 pounds lasted two fights when he competed in the Rumble on the Rock welterweight tournament in 2006. He advanced to the second round after Silva got disqualified for hitting him with an illegal upkick. He was eliminated from the tournament after dropping a majority decision to Jake Shields.

Okami has a good opponent for his return to 170. Fitch is looking to get back on the winning track after Rousimar Palhares submitted him with a kneebar in their welterweight title fight. He also failed the post-fight drug test.

This could be an exciting fight or a boring one. Both fighters have a plethora of experience, proficient mat skills and good striking. Some may argue that this fight should have happened a few years ago, but MMA promotions seem to be putting on “those kind of fights” lately. Both Okami and Fitch are known to fans and their names still carry some value – enough to have the heavyweight title bout between champion Blagoy Ivanov and challenger Derek Mehmen.

Cynicism aside, a win over Fitch could be the first in a long and successful run for Okami at 170.

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Ovince Saint Preux Steps in to Face Corey Anderson at UFC 217

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UFC 217 just got even more interesting. Earlier this week, Patrick Cummins pulled out of his light heavyweight matchup with Corey Anderson due to a Staph infection. Corey “Overtime” Anderson was not happy with his opponents decision, even calling out his opponent on Instagram asking how Cummins could, “call it quits so far from fight night”.

The UFC left Anderson on the card, and he found an opponent through the magic of Twitter. Ovince Saint Preux tweeted out directly to Anderson stating:

It didn’t take long for Anderson to respond agreeing to the fight, tagging Mick Maynard and Dana White in his response.

Only a few short hours later, the fight announcement came from the official UFC twitter account.

 

This top 10 Light Heavyweight matchup should add to an already amazing card coming in November at Madison Square Garden. Saint Preux is coming off of back to back wins both due to the very rare von flue choke, he finds himself ranked #7th in the latest edition of the 205-pound rankings. Corey “Overtime” Anderson is 4-2 in his last 6 fights, but is coming off a brutal first round knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa in March.

With such a exciting fight added to this card, what do you see happening November 4th?  Will Corey Anderson bounce back and look to jump into the top 5 of the rankings, or will Ovince Saint Preux go for a third straight von flue choke? Let us know.

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*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

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Bellator 185 Fight to Watch: Heather Hardy vs. Kristina Williams

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Heather Hardy will compete in MMA for the second time at Bellator 185 on Friday night, as she faces Kristina Williams in a strawweight contest. The fight takes place on the main card at the Mohican Sun Arena in Connecticut.

Potentially, what Bellator have in Heather ‘The Heat’ Hardy is a major draw that they can build their 125 pound division around. While relatively new to the organisation she is fast becoming one of the more popular names on the roster. Her career is in the early stages, but many have already started to draw comparisons with former boxer turned MMA star, Holly Holm. Holm’s UFC success partly inspired the native New Yorker to make the switch from boxing.

Hardy is already an established world champion in the land of the ‘sweet science’, holding a 21 fight undefeated professional record. She made her MMA debut in June this year with a victory over Alice Yauger, at Bellator 180. At 35, Hardy is a late starter in the sport, but proved at Madison Square Garden against the credible Yauger that she has a bright future.

Hardy’s first outing in the cage was disciplined and composed. Despite a slow start in round one, Hardy grew in confidence as the fight progressed and her cardio never faltered. She mixed in plenty of kicks that complimented her boxing and looked at ease in the clinch, even defending a couple of takedown attempts in the process.

Despite looking on course for a decision win, Hardy forced the TKO stoppage with just thirteen seconds remaining in round three. Even a large cut that required seven stitches from an accidental head clash could not deny her victory.

Hardy was fighting an experienced professional, competing for the tenth time in MMA, which makes the win over Yauger more impressive. However, her upcoming opponent Kristina Williams will be making her professional debut.

There is little known about Williams except that she is 3-0 at amateur level. One of those wins came by way of submission so there may well be a threat to Hardy if the fight goes to the ground. More importantly for Williams is how she copes on the big stage against a popular opponent, who is more familiar competing in high pressure combat situations. If Williams can produce an upset it will be a huge boost in her young career.

But in all honesty, this fight is about Hardy. It’s about getting the win and gaining valuable experience. The boxing career is on hold while MMA takes centre stage. Beating Williams will mean she likely continues fighting inside a cage rather than a boxing ring.

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