A middleweight rematch more than six years in the making between Alan Belcher (18-6 MMA, 9-4 UFC) and Yushin Okami (27-7 MMA, 11-4 UFC) will fill out the main card for the UFC's year-end event.
The fight, which was announced by UFC officials two months ago, remained a strong candidate for placement on the UFC 155 main card, but also had competition from other bouts at the event.
But sources close to the card on Monday told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps | MMAjunkie.com
) that the middleweights will fill out the top portion of the bill.
UFC 155 takes place Dec. 29 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The main event is a heavyweight title fight rematch between champion Junior Dos Santos and ex-titleholder Cain Velasquez.
Also already official for the main card are bouts between Forrest Griffin-Phil Davis; Chris Weidman-Tim Boetsch; and Gray Maynard-Joe Lauzon. Now Belcher and Okami will slide into that fifth slot rather than having a position on the FX-broadcast prelims.
UFC 155 also features the return of Chris Leben after a yearlong suspension for a fight against Karlos Vemola. As a fan favorite with six fight-night bonuses in his career, Leben typically is a candidate for main-card placement.
A bantamweight fight between former WEC champion Eddie Wineland and fellow hard-hitter Brad Pickett also was recently booked for the show. But along with Leben-Vemola, Wineland-Pickett is expected to be part of the preliminary card on FX.
Belcher and Okami first fought at UFC 62 in August 2006. The fight was the promotional debut for both men, and Okami won by unanimous decision.
More recently, Belcher was supposed to meet Vitor Belfort at UFC 153 this past month. But Belfort was shifted to a light heavyweight title fight against Jon Jones. In May at UFC on FOX 3, Belcher stopped submission artist Rousimar Palhares with a first-round TKO.
Okami in February dominated Boetsch at UFC 144, but then was stunned early in the third round and lost by TKO. But he rebounded in August for a TKO over Buddy Roberts at UFC 150.
Champ Junior Dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez - for heavyweight title
Phil Davis vs. Forrest Griffin
Tim Boetsch vs. Chris Weidman
Joe Lauzon vs. Gray Maynard
Alan Belcher vs. Yushin Okami
Chris Leben vs. Karlos Vemola
Brad Pickett vs. Eddie Wineland
Phil De Fries vs. Matt Mitrione
Michael Johnson vs. Myles Jury
Leonard Garcia vs. Cody McKenzie
Byron Bloodworth vs. Erik Perez