In the battle between teams, Okami believes: “If I win, I’ll be an idol”

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Okami displays Flamengo soccer club banner. Photo: Carlos Ozório.

Just after the UFC Rio press conference this Thursday, GRACIEMAG.com spoke with one of the fighters with the most interview requests, Yushin Okami, the challenger to Anderson Silva’s middleweight title.

Japan versus Brazil – all signs point to the crowd in the HSBC arena being vehemently opposed to Okami this Saturday. But who knows, maybe something will change? Especially during these times when soccer is a marked presence in Brazilian MMA, like in how a Vasco da Gama soccer club fan like Minotauro crossed over to team Internacional, for example.

At Wednesday’s open training session on the beach, while Anderson pounded the mitts decked in a Corinthians team jersey, jeers could be heard from rival team Flamengo’s fans . And it was that very team Flamengo’s flag that Okami was gifted with at the Copacabana Palace hotel, as well as with a visit from the team’s greatest idol, Zico. Could the Japanese fighter receive the support from the team with the biggest fan base in Brazil, come fight time? Might the “Okamikaze” tactic – a term opportunely coined by “O Globo” newspaper – pan out? Okami carries on addressing his opponent with respect, but he doesn’t discard the possibility of a surprise arising on fight day, as you can see:

GRACIEMAG: What’s the best route to beating Silva, with Jiu-Jitsu or striking?

Okami: That’s a secret!

Then tell us, what are Anderson’s main strengths against your game?

He’s a marvelous fighter, both in Jiu-Jitsu and standing. He has great punches an kicks.

If you beat him, what kind of reception do you expect in Japan?

The Japanese people will be overjoyed, I’ll be an idol!

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