As expected, the Ultimate Fighting Championship announced today they will be making their highly anticipated return to Germany on November 13th for UFC 122. While last June’s debut took place in Cologne, the Octagon’s second German show will be jumping off from inside the König-Pilsener-Arena in Oberhausen.
A middleweight scrap between former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort and Japanese sensation Yushin Okami will headline the Spike TV broadcast. Prior to yesterday’s unfortunate turn of events, the winner was expected to stand behind Chael Sonnen for next dibs at the title.
Monday’s official press release briefly – yet vaguely – touched on the subject:
“In the high-stakes main event, mixed martial arts legend Vitor ‘the Phenom’ Belfort will face Japanese powerhouse Yushin ‘Thunder’ Okami in a three-round contest to determine who will challenge for the UFC Middleweight Championship in 2011.”
Belfort has never fought at middleweight under the UFC banner. Although he’s riding a five-fight win streak, his only Octagon appearance during that run came a year ago in a 1stRound knockout of Rich Franklin at a catchweight of 195 pounds.
“It is a joy to go to other parts of the world and fight for fans there,” said Belfort. “I am here to regain my legacy as one of the best fighters in the world. I’ve accomplished so many things in my career, but I am always happy to be in the gym and working on getting better.
“The German fans will see a 100% performance from me against Okami. I am looking for the knockout, I always look for the knockout. I know Okami is the type of guy who can bang a little and also has that judo style, but I am on a mission to be the UFC Champion once again.”
Okami, on the other hand, is fresh off a split decision win over Mark Munoz at “UFC on Versus 2.” The well-rounded fighter has won five of his last six scraps. His only loss during the stretch came to the aforementioned Sonnen.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to fight a great like Vitor Belfort in the main event of a big card,” said Okami. “Vitor Belfort is still kind of my idol, so I am very excited. He will bring out the very best in me. Belfort is a great fighter but I feel I have certain advantages I can use in the fight. I will shock MMA fans around the world with my performance.”
Although the official press release made no mention of how North Americans will be able to watch the show, Spike TV is expected to broadcast the main bouts free via same-day tape-delay.
Here are the athletes rumored/expected to participate in the event:
Pascal Krauss vs. TBD
Dennis Siver vs. Andre Winner
Seth Petruzelli vs. Karlos Vemola
Kyle Noke vs. Rob Kimmons
Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Jason Brilz
Amir Sadollah vs. Peter Sobotta
Jorge Rivera vs. Alessio Sakara
Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Goran Reljic
Yushin Okami vs. Vitor Belfort