UFC 92 Prelims: Okami Lined Up for Shot at Silva

December 27, 2008

LAS VEGAS – The UFC 92 preliminary fight card ended up being a mix of lackluster affairs amidst some year-end fireworks, as the Ultimate Fighting Championship returned to the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday night.

In the evening’s final preliminary bout, Yushin Okami continued his quest to get back to a shot at current UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. He controlled all three rounds of his bout with Dean Lister, who continually dropped to his backside and tried to bait Okami into an unwanted ground game.

Okami used his striking to keep Lister out of his game and rack up points on the scorecards. When Lister was finally able to get him to the ground late in the fight, Okami ground and pounded the master grappler, earning 30-27 scores from all three judges.

Okami is 9-1 in his last 10 fights and considered as one of the top contenders to face Silva the next time he defends his belt.

In a heavyweight contest, Mike Wessel started strong in his UFC debut. But Antoni Hardonk – caught on his back in round two – swept the newcomer, took his back, and started raining down punches and elbows. Wessel turned again, giving up full front mount, and Hardonk took full advantage, continuing with punches until the fight was stopped.

Addressing the perception of being a one-dimensional kickboxer, Hardonk said after the fight, “I know more than just kickboxing. People talk about my kicks, and I take it as a compliment, but there’s more than that.

“As soon as I was on top of him, it seemed like he didn’t know what to do.”

He was appreciative of his opponent though. Wessel stepped into the fight on little more than a week’s notice. “He took the fight on short notice. I thank him for that, and it takes courage to do that.”

Matt Hamill utilized his hands to keep Reese Andy at bay throughout the first round. In the second, he found the sweet spot, dropping Andy to one knee with a well-placed body shot. Hamill followed with an onslaught of punches that forced the TKO stoppage.

The win is Hamill’s first since losing to Rich Franklin at UFC 88.

“My first round was horrible and I got hit too much,” he said after the fight. “The second round was better, don’t you think?”

In a welterweight contest, former International Fight League athlete Brad Blackburn primarily used his hands to batter Ryo Chonan over the first two rounds of their bout to capture a unanimous decision. Chonan came back strong in round three, but it as too little, too late.

Pat Barry opened the night and his UFC career with a thunderous leg kick that crippled Dan Evensen, leaving him unable to continue. The fight was stopped 2:19 into the opening round.

UFC 92 Preliminary Bout Results:
-Yushin Okami def. Dean Lister by Unanimous Decision (30-27 x 3), R3
-Antoni Hardonk def. Mike Wessel by TKO (Strikes) at 2:09, R2
-Matt Hamill def. Reese Andy by TKO (Strikes) at 2:19, R2
-Brad Blackburn def. Ryo Chonan by Unanimous Decision (29-28 x 3), R3
-Pat Barry def. Dan Evensen by TKO (Kick) at 2:36, R1