Yushin Okami shuts down, outpoints Mark Munoz

Source: usatoday.com

Japanese middleweight Yushin Okami stifled Mark Munoz's wrestling and landed enough punches to earn two judges' favor on Sunday and possibly get close to a title shot in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Okami won a split decision over Munoz in the co-main event of the UFC on Versus 2 card in San Diego. Two judges scored it 29-28 for Okami. One had the same score for Munoz.

Fight statistician Compustrike counted 76 strikes landed of 151 thrown by Okami. Munoz connected on 19 of 45 strikes. Okami landed more power strikes than Munoz, 17 to 13, including 11 for the winner in the final round.

The fight followed the gradual, cautious pace that has characterized several bouts involving Okami, the No. 8 middleweight in the USA TODAY/SB Nation consensus rankings and the highest-rated UFC fighter who has yet to be awarded a shot at the 185-pound belt held by No. 1 Anderson Silva.

Sunday's bout started cautiously. Okami spent the opening three-and-a-half minutes controlling the center of the ring, walking down his opponent and occasionally throwing jabs or straight punches. Munoz scored a takedown with about 90 seconds remaining in the round, and although he could not keep on the mat long, he spent the next minute clinching with Okami.

Munoz fought more aggressively in the second stanza. He dropped Okami about halfway through the round, and regained his feet quickly when the Japanese fighter responded with a takedown. Munoz tried to keep up the pressure on his opponent standing, although Okami weathered the storm.

Okami asserted himself in the final round by outboxing Munoz, culminating with a right-hand counter that caught Munoz on the chin to send him tumbling to the ground. Munoz's takedown shots became increasingly telegraphed, and the last 90 seconds saw him simply clinging to his opponent's leg, while Okami threw short punches to the ribs.

(Posted by Sergio Non)

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