Once heralded by UFC President Dana White as “the best fighter to ever come out of Japan,” former middleweight title challenger Yushin Okami (29-8) has been released by the UFC.
A fixture in the division since making his organizational debut with a win over Alan Belcher at UFC 62, the Japanese veteran compiled a 13-5 record inside the Octagon, including wins over Mike Swick, Mark Munoz, Nate Marquardt, and, most recently, Hector Lombard.
In August 2011, Okami squared off with then middleweight champion Anderson Silva in the main event of UFC 134, the company’s first show in Brazil in over a decade, losing in his bid to claim championship gold. An upset loss to Tim Boetsch at UFC 144 followed, but Okami was able to rebound, stringing together three consecutive victories, re-affirming his standing as one of the top competitors in the weight class.
Earlier this month, Okami suffered the eighth loss of his career, falling to former Strikeforce champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in the first round of the Ultimate Fight Night 28 co-main event in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Despite his overall success in the cage, Okami has long been criticized for his grappling-heavy approach, which, while effective, has never been the most appealing to fans. Of his 13 career UFC wins, eight came by way of decision, while he has been stopped in each of his last three losses.
Currently ranked sixth in the Official UFC Fighter Rankings, Okami becomes a victim of a bloated roster, but at age 32, will likely draw interest from several other organizations now that he has become a free agent.
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