The UFC announced the change during Saturday night’s broadcast of UFC Fight Night 116, saying only that Rua was out because of an unspecified injury.
Okami has not fought in the UFC since his September 2013 loss to Ronaldo Souza at UFC Fight Night 28. Since then, the former UFC middleweight title challenger has competed mostly as a middleweight in the promotion formerly known as WSOF, as well as a couple isolated fights in his home country of Japan. He has won his last four fights, following a two-fight skid in WSOF, which included a failed bid for its middleweight title.
Now Okami (34-10 MMA, 13-5 UFC) returns to face light heavyweight Saint Preux (20-10 MMA, 8-5 UFC), who recently snapped a three-fight losing streak with a submission of Marcos Rogerio de Lima in April.
The main event of the UFC’s return to Japan was originally intended as a rematch of the 2014 bout between Saint Preux and Rua, which Saint Preux won via knockout in the first minute.
With Rua now sidelined, the UFC seems to have turned to a former contender with some hometown appeal for Japanese fight fans, offering Okami a short-notice return likely trying to salvage interest in a fight card that was less than star-studded to begin with.
UFC Fight Night 117 takes place next week at the Saitama Super Arena.view original article >>