While much of the limelight seems to be glaring down on Sunday's main event between Jon Jones and Vladimir Matyushenko, a fight that could help shape the middleweight division will be taking place just prior to it. Both coming off impressive wins over not so impressive opponents, Okami and Munoz are each taking a step up in competition to climb another rung in the ladder closer to the 185lb strap.
The other storyline in this fight is of course, each fighter's affiliation with either Anderson Silva or Chael Sonnen. Munoz has been training with Silva at Black House recently, while Okami has been spending some time with Team Quest following his loss to Chael Sonnen last October. Both Silva and Sonnen have a dog in this fight, but really only somewhat of a moral victory. Each is claiming their man will take this fight with ease, but that's really just training partners hyping training partners.
In Munoz, we have a phenomenal wrestler and D1 national champion. A ground and pound expert, Munoz has made no secret of his gameplan for Sunday night. Speaking with The Examiner's Dennis Guillermo, Munoz preached- "I'm going to take him down and pound him out." I don't want to say Munoz is a one trick pony just yet, but having the same gameplan against every opponent regardless of their tendencies sends a shiver down my spine. Make no mistake, Munoz has a chance to win this fight, but with so much hinging on his ability to take Okami down and control him, I just don't think Munoz has the depth necessary to beat a crafty veteran like Yushin just yet.
Okami is a much safer bet here, literally. If his current betting line holds at -200, he's expected to win this fight 66% of the time. Again, if Munoz is somehow unable to out-wrestle 'Thunder,' it could be long night for the Filipino Wrecking Machine. Since his fight with Anderson Silva, Okami has only dropped decision losses to Jake Shields, Rich Franklin, and Chael Sonnen. I'm not typically into the transitive property of MMA math, but I've seen more in Okami's losses than I have in Munoz's victories. Give me one good third round over Franklin any day. I expect to see the Japanese star use the entirety of his tool box en rout to a decision victory.