Silva’s training partner, heavyweight Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, wrote in his weekly column for Brazilian newspaper O Globo on Saturday that Okami will challenge “The Spider” for the UFC middleweight title at “UFC Rio.” The event, officially announced by the promotion in December, takes place Aug. 27 at the 18,000-seat HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro.
In January 2006, Okami and Silva met for the first time in a now-infamous Rumble on the Rock bout in Honolulu. Midway through the opening round, Okami knelt in Silva’s guard when he was drilled by a vicious -- and illegal -- upkick that knocked the Japanese standout senseless. Okami was awarded the win by disqualification in what remains the only blemish on Silva’s record since 2005.
Silva, 35, has rattled off 14 consecutive wins since losing to Okami, including an unprecedented 13 straight victories inside the Octagon and eight defenses of his UFC title. Widely considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in MMA today, Silva’s resume is anchored by wins against the likes of Dan Henderson, Nate Marquardt and Rich Franklin (twice). The Curitibano was last seen in February, when he demolished challenger Vitor Belfort with a front kick to the face at UFC 126.
Since his first meeting with Silva, the 29-year-old Okami has gone 12-3, with a 10-2 UFC record since joining the promotion in August 2006. “Thunder” was previously expected to challenge for Silva’s title at UFC 90 in October 2008, but was forced to withdraw due to a hand injury and was replaced by Patrick Cote. Okami currently rides a three-fight win streak, including his title shot-clinching unanimous decision nod over Marquardt at November’s UFC 122.
Marcelo Alonso contributed to this report.view original article >>
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