After weeks of speculation, a UFC 82 middleweight bout between Evan Tanner and Yushin Okami is now official. Additionally, the UFC today revealed that a welterweight bout between “The Ultimate Fighter 1” standout Josh Koscheck (9-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) and Cincinnati-based fighter Dustin Hazelett (10-3 MMA, 3-1 UFC) will appear on the event’s un-televised preliminary card.
News of the Tanner vs. Okami has been reported — and re-reported — for the past month. However, Tanner’s camp couldn’t confirm the bout to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), and a source close to the UFC told us that UFC executives were “extremely pissed” that news of the fight got out in the first place.
In the interview, Tanner also revealed that the UFC had an extremely difficult time finding him an opponent. The bout was offered to four fighters — all of whom turned it down. The UFC eventually booked Okami, a middleweight contender who’s 5-1 in the UFC. He signed a new contract with the UFC after his most recent fight: a UFC 77 unanimous-decision victory over Jason MacDonald.LINK