(Yushin Okami after wrecking Rory Singer.)
Although we reported earlier that a matchup between middleweight contender Yushin Okami and UFC prodigal son Evan Tanner would go down at UFC 84, various reports have confirmed that the fight has been booked for the main card of UFC 82: “Pride of a Champion” instead. Scheduled for March 1st in Columbus, Ohio, “PoaC” is already so stacked that big names like Diego Sanchez, Josh Koscheck, and Andrei Arlovski may wind up on the untelevised undercard. (Sticking Arlovski on the undercard would be more out of punishment than necessity, but that’s another story.)
Clearly destined for UFC 82′s undercard is a fight between Chris Leben and Alessio Sakara, which was confirmed today by Sam Caplan. Chris Leben is best known for urinating on Jason Thacker‘s bed during the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, losing to Josh Koscheck and Kenny Florian on the show, and getting destroyed by Anderson Silva in the Spider’s UFC debut. His last match was a knockout win over Terry Martin at UFC Fight Night 11 last September. Sakara’s last fight was nine days ago at UFC 80, where he beat down James Lee in the first round, and this will be his first fight as a middleweight. (Ed. note: Dropping a weight class with only a month and a half between fights? Hmm.) We’re not sold on either of these guys, but putting two relatively unskilled fighters against each other often results in a “Knockout of the Night,” so we’ll reserve our bitterness for now.
On a related note, MMA Fightline is floating a rumor that UFC 83 — which was originally scheduled to go down March 8th in Manchester, England, before other reports began to claim that it would be held elsewhere — has been canceled altogether. Though it always seemed strange that the UFC would hold two major events only a week apart, no official reason for the cancellation has been announced yet. If this report turns out to be true, scheduled fights between Michael Bisping and Charles McCarthy, and Houston Alexander vs. James Irvin would be moved to other UFC events. You’ll know more when we do.