Yushin Okami entered his UFC on Versus 2 bout with Mark Munoz on Sunday night with the praises of UFC president Dana White saying he was about due for a title shot ringing in his ears.
He was unable to use his striking prowess to land a flashy knockout that would all but ensure a title shot, but Okami did come out on top, winning a split decision over Munoz.
“I was surprised, but Munoz was really good fighter,” Okami said of the eyebrow-raising score.
There were no surprises out of Munoz, a national champion in collegiate wrestling at Oklahoma State University, when he worked for the takedown from the opening bell and throughout the fight. He was intent on putting Okami on his back to pound him out.
The problem being that Okami didn’t get the memo.
He blocked all but one of Munoz’s takedown attempts and used his striking to pick away at him over the 15-minute duration. Okami rocked Munoz on a couple of occasions, but never came close to finishing.
He did, however, stuff Munoz’s game, and proved that he is one of the most durable fighters in the UFC middleweight division.
Now 9-2 in the Octagon, his only losses to former middleweight champion Rich Franklin and possibly incoming champion Chael Sonnen, Okami has set himself up to make good on White’s words of a title shot.