by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
Rich Franklin confirmed this morning that the Ultimate Fighting Championship has signed Yushin Okami to face him on the June 16 event in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Franklin was originally scheduled to face Danish fighter Martin Kampmann, who had to withdraw due to a severe knee injury.
On his website, Franklin said that after being notified that Kampmann was out “Okami was presented as the likely possibility [as a replacement]. [Monday night] we found out Okami signed.”
Franklin returned to the Octagon victorious over Jason Macdonald at UFC 68 after having lost his UFC Middleweight Championship to Anderson Silva in October of last year. A win in Belfast would likely put Franklin into a title bout with the winner of the Anderson Silva and Nate Marquardt bout that headlines UFC 73 on July 7.
Okami is riding a 6-fight winning streak – the last 4 in the UFC – having recently dominated Mike Swick at UFC 69 in Houston, Tex. He actually holds a win over current champion Silva, albeit by disqualification in the opening round of last year’s Rumble on the Rock 175-pound Grand Prix.
Manager Ken Pavia told MMAWeekly that Kampmann likely has damaged ligaments in his knee that may require surgery and an extensive rehab. He declined detailed information, however, until Kampmann goes through a second MRI once the swelling in his knee goes down.