UFC president Dana White today revealed to reporters that a middleweight bout between former Strikeforce middleweight champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Yushin Okami is being targeted for a future event. The fight is intriguing in some ways, but it could turn out to be a huge stinker if Okami’s game plan is to push Souza against the fence for 15 minutes. Although Souza is a fine grappler in his own right, he is smaller than Okami and could have problems with his size if Okami’s plan is to just wall-and-stall, which he tends to do in the majority of his fights. However, if the grappling neutralizes each other and the fight becomes a stand-up battle then it’s a lot more likely that Souza wins. The Brazilian’s hands have gotten much better in recent years and although Okami is a fine striker in his own right, his chin is very suspect at this point of his career and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Souza won the fight via TKO. The fight will be closer than the public believes, as I’m sure they will be all over Souza. As such, I expect “Jacare” to open at around -200 with the comeback on Okami being +150. I do favor Souza slightly because he does have the striking advantage but if the line reaches the +200 mark for Okami the bet might be on him. It’s a close fight though and the right play might just be to pass it altogether unless the line holds ridiculous value for either man. Koch vs. Poirier Added to UFC 164 According to MMAweekly.com, a featherweight tilt between Erik Koch and Dustin Poirier has been added to the upcoming UFC 164 card, which takes place August 31 at Bradley Center in Milwaukee, WI, which is the city Koch trains out of. This is an exceptional matchup between two guys hovering around the top 10 of the UFC featherweight division and I expect it to be closely contested, so much so that I see the opening betting line being around a Pick ’em of -115 for each fighter. Although Koch has the striking edge, Poirier has the grappling advantage and as Koch showed in his last fight against Ricardo Lamas, he is definitely susceptible to being put on his back. However, if he can keep the fight standing he has a very good chance of knocking “The Diamond” out. I don’t have a lean either way yet in this fight and my bet will likely depend on where the betting public takes the line. Thales Leites Returns to UFC Former UFC middleweight title challenger Thales Leites is returning to the UFC after winning six of his last seven fights since being cut by the promotion following back-to-back losses to Anderson Silva at UFC 97 and Alessio Sakara at UFC 101. The news was reported today by Sportv.Globo.com. Although a lot of people are surprised by Leites returning, I for one am not. Leites is actually a very solid middleweight fighter and in my opinion he should have never been released in the first place because losing to Silva was an automatic loss on his record and the judges absolutely robbed him against Sakara. There has been no opponent named yet for Leites in his return but expect him to compete on the UFC 163 card against one of the division’s lower-end fighters, perhaps someone from TUF 17.
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