Yushin Okami Set To Headline WSOF 12 In Tokyo

Former UFC middleweight title challenger Yushin “Thunder” Okami was unceremoniously cut from the world’s biggest MMA promotion following his lopsided first round TKO loss to the currently No. 4-ranked “Jacare” Souza at last September’s UFC Fight Night 28.

Many believed it a very rash decision, as Okami had racked up three straight wins heading into his bout with “Jacare.” However, his experience and name most likely lead to a high price tag that the UFC simply was not willing to pay.

Okami quickly found in new home in young upstart promotion World Series of Fighting (WSOF), but he didn’t make his promotional debut until last night’s WSOF 9 from Las Vegas.

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It was a classic performance for Okami, who faced largely unknown newcomer Svetlozar Savov, a fighter who had not yet fought inside the United States. Taking Savov down and outclassing him with ground and pound, Okami notched his first submission win since 2006 with a tight second round arm triangle. It may not have been against the most illustrious of competition, but Okami got his first win out of the way and is now apparently headed for big things in WSOF.

At the event’s post-fight presser, WSOF officials announced that Okami would be headlining WSOF 12, which takes place August 2 in Tokyo, Japan. It’s the company’s first foray into that market, but it’s obviously a no-brainer with seasoned vet Okami as one of their most prominent stars.

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No opponent has been named for “Thunder,” just as no official venue has been confirmed for the event.

Japanese MMA has been struggling mightily as of late, as Okami arguably their biggest star, so this was a slam-dunk booking for WSOF.  He has a chance to shine on a grand stage, but are there any middleweights in WSOF that can give him a legitimate challenge?

Photos: Ron Chenoy & Jason Silva for USA TODAY Sports