Biography and Profile of Yushin Okami Introduction:
Back on April 7, 2007, middleweight MMA
fighter Yushin Okami wasn't all that well-known yet. So when he entered the Octagon on that day to take on former TUF 1 contestant Mike "Quick" Swick, many were expecting him to lose. Instead, what they saw was Okami literally overpower, even manhandle Swick, to the point that the smaller fighter actually went back to his corner and commented on his opponent's power. After losing to Okami by decision, Swick dropped down in weight to welterweight.
Says a lot, no? Here is Okami's story.
Date of Birth:
Yushin Okami was born on July 21, 1981, in Kanagawa, Japan.
Martial Arts Background:
At the UFC website
, it indicates that Okami has a judo black belt.
Training Camp, Fighting Organization, Nickname:
Okami does most of his training with Team Quest in Portland, Oregon, working with Chael Sonnen
, amongst others. He is also affiliated with Wajyutsu Keisyukai, a network of mixed martial arts gyms located in Japan.
Okami fights for the UFC. His nickname is "Thunder".
Several years ago, Okami reports that a friend got him started with MMA training. Regardless, he was a quick study. Okami won the pre-Pride 4 tournament as an amateur, defeating two opponents before submitting Yuuki Tsutsui via triangle choke in the finals.
That said, his professional MMA career began on September 8, 2002, at a GCM event, winning by unanimous decision over Kyosuke Sasaki. In fact, Okami won his first six professional bouts before losing to Amar Suloev by TKO.
Anderson Silva and the Illegal Upkick:
Okami fought Anderson Silva
at Rumble on the Rock 8 on January 20, 2006. He won when Silva delivered an illegal upkick from his back in the event, which Okami could not come back from. This was "The Spider's" last loss before his now famous winning streak began.
Later, Silva told Sherdog.com the following about the fight: "I feel it was a cheap, cowardly way of winning. People that were there saw that he was in the condition to come back and keep fighting, and he didn't."
Okami made his UFC debut on August 26, 2006, defeating Alan Belcher by unanimous decision. In fact, he won his first four fights with the organization before losing a hotly contested decision to Rich Franklin
, one in which Franklin was nearly caught in a kimura submission
at the end of the fight.
Okami is a very powerful fighter with a strong wrestling
base. In other words, he's a ground and pound nightmare for would be opponents. In fact, his wrestling has improved tremendously since his lost to Chael Sonnen, in that it motivated him to come and train at Team Quest with the man that had defeated him.
In terms of striking, Okami's skills have improved tremendously over time. Though he is most threatening as a ground and pound fighter, his technical stand up is above average at this time.
Okami's submissions are underrated. His submission defense is excellent.
Some of the Greatest Wins of Yushin Okami's MMA Career:
- Okami defeats Anderson Silva by DQ (illegal upkick) at Rumble on the Rock 8: Was it a glorious win? Heck no. Still, when you're the last guy to defeat a man before he goes on one of the greatest win streaks in MMA history, it's worth noting.
- Okami defeats Mark Munoz by split decision at UFC Live: Jones vs. Matyushenko: This was a close, hard fought win for Okami. In it, he showed off those improved technical striking skills of his, as well as some serious takedown defense and overall wrestling.
- Okami defeats Nate Marquardt by unanimous decision at UFC 122: This was for the right to fight for the middleweight title. By defeating Marquardt, Okami left no reason to give the shot to anyone else.