This Saturday, the UFC will touch down in the MMA hotspot of Japan with UFC Fight Night 117. Originally, the card was expected to be headlined by a light heavyweight scrap between PRIDE legend Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, and his former foil Ovince Saint Preux. Unfortunately, the injury bug enjoyed its latest feast at the expense of this main event, and Shogun was forced to bow out with a damaged knee. Shogun’s replacement for this fight was a definite shocker.
Rather than sifting through its sizeable light heavyweight roster for a new opponent for Ovince Saint Preux, the UFC opted to call on former UFC middleweight title challenger and recent World Series of Fighting welterweight Yushin Okami.
Okami accepted this offer, and just like that, after seven-straight fights outside the UFC, and five-straight in the 170-pound welterweight division, he’s in a 205-pound UFC Fight Night main event.
In advance of this exciting card, the UFC hosted a media day in Japan, during which Ovince Saint Preux and Yushin Okami had their first staredown. See their staredown as above.
As expected, Saint Preux looks like he’s quite a bit bigger than the former welterweight.
The UFC’s Saturday return to Japan will also feature a number of other compelling contests. In the co-headliner, we’ll see recent UFC strawweight title challengers Jessica Andrade and Claudia Gadelha collide. Elsewhere on the card, we’ll witness the UFC debut of the “Turkish Tyson”, Gokhan Saki, who takes on Henrique da Silva. These pairs can also be seen partaking in staredowns in the video above.
Other notable features of the card include a lightweight scrap between Japanese legend Takanori Gomi and “Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim, a featherweight bout between Teruto Ishihara and Rolando Dy, and an additional featherweight bout between Mizuto Hirota and Charles Rosa.
Do you think Yushin Okami can pull up an upset for the ages against Ovince Saint Preux in Japan? Make your pick in the comments section!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 9/19/2017.