WSOF 9 Play: Yushin “Thunder” Okami (-800) vs Svetlozar Savov (+620)

Yushin OkamiWSOF 9 Date: March 29, 2014 Arena: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino City: Las Vegas, NV Middleweight bout: Yushin “Thunder” Okami (-800) vs Svetlozar Savov (+620) Fight Breakdown: The WSOF 9 main card will be featuring a middleweight bout between a pair of promotional newcomers, as former UFC middleweight title challenger Yushin Okami takes on the 25 year old Bulgarian middleweight prospect in Svetlozar Savov. Okami is the heavy favorite in this contest at -800 ($800 to win $100), with the return on the big underdog Savov being +620 ($100 to win $620) at Several Bookmakerss. Yushin “Thunder” Okami (29-8 MMA, 0-0 WSOF) is set to make his World Series of Fighting debut, after being cut from the UFC roster. His release came after a lone loss, which came after a three fight winning streak, which included wins over the likes of Hector Lombard and Alan Belcher, respectively. The loss was to Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza at UFC Fight Night 28 nearly seven months ago. He has since recouped, signed a contract with WSOF, and has his eyes on the promotion’s 185 pound gold, and believes that with a victory tonight, he will be earning that opportunity for his next outing. Okami is one of the biggest middleweights in mixed martial arts is considered the best wrestler to come out of Japan. He possesses great takedowns, and is generally able to take opponents down at will. The 32 year old sometimes he gasses after eight minutes of action, and and other times he is able to go the distance without really tiring out, so you generally can’t be sure where his conditioning is at. However, for this bout, I think he is very motivated, and I expect him to have his cardio in check for 15 minutes of domination. The UFC veteran has a really nice jab that he works his opponents with. While his specialty is to take his opponents down and ground and pound them, he continues to improve in the striking department, and does work an excellent jab. However, he has a suspect chin, so I would feel much more confident with him on the mat in top position, rather rather trading shots on the feet, even if he is getting a technical edge over his opponent. As the cliche goes, all it would take is one shot. Svetlozar Savov (12-4 MMA, 0-0 WSOF) will be making his World Series of Fighting debut coming off a unanimous decision victory Bojan Velickovic in the Eastern European circuit five months ago. Savov is not a talented striker by any stretch of the imagination, but he does move well on his feet. He loves to throw kicks, and has some decent front kicks. The Bulgarian is light on his feet, but isn’t very technical, as he has a tendency to wing wild punches. His favorite punch seems to be the overhand right, though he does not find much success in landing it. Savov is generally not very accurate with his strikes, and has not yet learned how to properly use his height and reach to his technical advantage. It is also worth noting that does not have a good chin, so I could see him getting hurt and finished by Okami. The 16 professional fight veteran does not have much cage experience, as he is used to fighting and training inside of a ring. As was evident during the Taisumov vs Prazeres bout during the UFC Fight Night 38 prelims this past Sunday, the ring-to-cage transition can be very tough to make for some fighters. However, for others, like Khabib Nurmagomedov, it has never been an issue. Not only will Savov be out of place inside of a cage, but he will also be fighting in the biggest show in his professional mixed martial arts career, not to mention against the toughest opponent he yet to face. It is likely jitters will play a factor for him in this bout. It’s a very tall order for the 25 year old, but he is up for the challenge. The Bulgarian works some nice takedowns, prefering the single leg, but also good with the double leg and body lock takedowns. He is talented on the mat, though he will be at a tremendous grappling disadvantage against the superior grappler in Okami. Not only will he be at a general grappling disadvantage, but also at a disadvantage in both physical size and strength. I foresee him attempting to take Okami down to the mat, but I don’t see him finding any success. While he generally has decent takedown defense, I don’t think he will be able to stop Okami’s takedown, should the UFC veteran opt to take the fight to the mat. When Savov does score takedowns, he remains active from the top position, though he is not very dominant, which could either be due to a lack of proper technique, or strength. He has a decent submission game, and likes to go for chokes. His submission defense is decent, as well, and he is not afraid to be on his back, as he is capable of working some nice reversals. That said, I don’t think he will be able to get the Japanese wrestler off of him, should he find himself in bottom position. The 25 year old does not like to play it safe, and is always fighting for the finish, even when he believes he is already ahead on the judges’ scorecards. Gabe’s Prediction: I think Okami will have the advantage on the feet, so I could see him choosing to keep the fight standing. If he does that, I think he will be taking a bit more of a risk, but believe that he will still be able to outstrike Savov en route to a 30-27 unanimous decision, if not drop him, and then follow him to the mat for a ground and pound stoppage. I could see either of those scenarios playing out, but I think it would be wise of Okami to initiate to the takedown as soon as possible, and look to TKO the Bulgarian via ground and pound, which is what I believe to be his quickest and easiest route to victory, and I am hoping he and his coaches agree. Gabe’s Call: Yushin “Thunder” Okami by TKO (punches, 2:13 round 2) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Yushin Okami (-800) parlayed with Marlos Moraes (-600) for -338 4.75u to win 1.4u

Written by Gabe Killian

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