Japan Card Adds Thunder vs. Lightning
January 07, 2013
Japanese middleweight contender Yushin “Thunder” Okami has been added to the Ultimate Fighting Championship® card scheduled for Mar. 3 at the Saitama Super Arena. The UFC® announced that the 31-year-old, from Japan’s renowned Wajutsu Keishukai Gym, will meet former Olympic judo competitor Hector “Lightning” Lombard in middleweight (185 lbs.) action when the organization returns to Japan.
Okami (29-7-0) holds wins over several UFC veterans, including UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, who he defeated via disqualification in 2006. Lombard and Okami, both coming off dominant wins in December, continue their run toward the middleweight title. Lombard (32-3-1), a Cuban-Australian mixed martial artist and former Olympic judoka, has a 4th degree black belt in Judo and is known for his vicious power punching.
Also announced on the main card will be an intense featherweight bout between Rani Yahya and Mizuto Hirota. Hirota (14-5-1), who has never been knocked out in his career, is a veteran of the Sengoku and DEEP organizations in Asia. Prior to his North America debut in STRIKEFORCE last July, he was 4-1 in his past five fights. Brazilian Yahya (17-7) has won all but two of his fights by way of submission and holds notable wins over Mark Hominick and Eddie Wineland.
Silva vs. Stann to Headline UFC Japan 2013
updated December 12
Former PRIDE® middleweight champion Wanderlei Silva will step into the Octagon against top contender and decorated U.S. Marine Brian Stann in a five-round, light heavyweight bout on Sunday, March 3 when the Ultimate Fighting Championship® returns to Japan’s Saitama Super Arena.
Other bouts confirmed for the event at today's press conference in Japan include:
Mark Hunt vs. Stefan "Skyscraper" Struve - heavyweight (previously announced)
Takanori Gomi vs. Diego Sanchez - lightweight
Dong-Hyun Kim vs. Siyar Bahadurzada - welterweight
Riki Fukuda vs. Brad Tavares - middleweight
Cristiano Marcello vs. Kazuki Tokudome - lightweight
Takeya Mizugaki vs. Bryan Caraway - bantamweight
Alex Caceres vs. Kyung Ho Kang - bantamweight
Click here for ticket on-sale information.
Hunt vs. Struve Anchoring UFC's Return to Japan
updated December 4
Following UFC 144's success in February of 2012, the UFC will return to the Land of the Rising Sun on March 3 for a broadcast airing live on FUEL TV on March 2 in the United States.
The first big bout announced for the card is a heavyweight showdown between Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve and Mark “The Super Samoan” Hunt. The fight between the two men was originally scheduled to take place at UFC 146 in May of 2012 but was cancelled when Hunt suffered an injury in training. Struve went on to defeat Lavar Johnson at that event and Stipe Miocic in the main event of UFC Nottingham in September; the March date will mark Hunt's first foray into the Octagon since defeating Cheick Kongo at the 2012 Japan event.
The spectacular matchup is not only visually arresting, as 5-foot-10 Hunt faces seven-foot-tall Struve, but one that will also have a significant impact on the heavyweight pecking order, as both fighters have been on a tear in recent bouts.
More information on the event, including ticketing details, will be available in coming weeks.