("Another mid-level opponent who doesn’t put me any closer to a title shot? Sweet!")
— Well, at least the UFC hasn’t completely forgotten about Yushin Okami. The perennial top middleweight contender, who has won his last three fights against Jason MacDonald, Evan Tanner, and most recently Dean Lister in December, will reportedly be back in action at UFC 98 (May 23rd, Las Vegas) against Dan Miller. In his last 10 fights, Miller has gone 9-0 with one no-contest, and has been undefeated in the Octagon, picking up wins against Rob Kimmons, Matt Horwich, and Jake Rosholt. An impressive win for Okami would further cement his case for a title shot, though we get the feeling that "Thunder" would have to rack up a few consecutive wins by stoppage before the UFC finally gives him a chance. With Serra/Hughes now official, the UFC 98 card is lookin’ stacked.
— Exciting welterweight rising star Anthony Johnson and impressive prospect John Howard have agreed to meet at the TUF 9 finale in June. Johnson is riding a two-fight win streak after his first-round TKO over Luigi Fioravanti at last month’s UFC Fight Night 17, and his highlight-reel head-kick KO of Kevin "Pokey" Burns at the TUF 8 finale in December. A veteran of the IFL and various regional MMA leagues in the East Coast, Howard made his Octagon debut at UFC 94, winning a split decision against Chris Wilson and taking home one of the event’s Fight of the Night bonuses.
— Dutch heavyweight Stefan Struve and British welterweight Paul Taylor have been added to UFC 99 (June 13th; Cologne, Germany), though opponents for them haven’t been announced yet. [Update: Struve will be facing Denis Stojnic, and Taylor will be taking on German newcomer Peter Sobotta.] Both fighters face must-win situations. Though Struve built up an impressive record in European leagues, he got smoked in his Octagon debut last month against Junior Dos Santos, succumbing to a hail of punches just 54 seconds into round one. Most recently dropping a decision to Chris Lytle in October, Taylor has lost three of his last four fights in the UFC, though he picked up Fight of the Night bonuses in all three losing efforts.