Yushin Okami and Hector Lombard were both looking to their UFC on Fuel TV 8 bout in Japan to set up 2013 for a run towards title contention.
It was clear from the opening bell what each man’s game plan was for this fight. Lombard walked Okami down, looking to land the knockout punch, while Okami shot on Lombard, wanting to keep him on the mat.
It was Okami’s tack that bore fruit, however.
Lombard was aggressive from the opening bell, walking Okami down, looking for an opening for his knockout power. Okami did a good job avoiding danger, using his jab to keep Lombard at bay, and set up his takedowns.
Okami put Lombard on his back often in the first two rounds, not doing a lot of damage once he did, but doing enough with his ground and pound to keep Lombard on the defensive.
Lombard knew he had to go for broke in round three and he did. He immediately stormed Okami, swinging for the fences. Lombard hurt the Japanese fighter, dropping him briefly to the mat, and staying on top of him, unrelenting with his combinations, but couldn’t find the opening he needed.
Lombard sprawled a couple of Okami takedowns in the final round, but instead of forcing Okami to stand and trade, he pushed Okami to his back and got caught up in a ground game that saw Okami able to do enough to slow Lombard down and avoid a fight-finishing attack.
It was a close fight, but in the end, two out of the three judges scored the bout in Okami’s favor, awarding him a split decision victory.
Okami has now won three consecutive fights after failing to wrest the UFC middleweight title from Anderson Silva and then losing to Tim Boetsch. He’s working his way back into “the mix,” while Hector Lombard is left to go back to the drawing board, hoping that he doesn’t become the latest high profile fighter to be released from his contract.