Yoshihiro Akiyama will make the drop to 170 pounds for a Feb. 26 bout. | Photo: Taro Irei


After three consecutive defeats at middleweight, Japanese star Yoshihiro Akiyama will make a long-awaited move down the scale in February, and he’ll do so before a hometown crowd.

UFC officials announced Monday that Akiyama and welterweight contender Jake Shields have verbally agreed to square off in a 170-pound bout at UFC 144. While not formally announced by the promotion, the event is expected to take place Feb. 26 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, and will likely feature a lightweight title bout between champion Frankie Edgar and former WEC titleholder Ben Henderson.

Akiyama, 36, has fallen on hard times since entering the UFC in July 2009 on a 13-fight unbeaten streak.

Since winning his Octagon debut by narrowly outpointing Alan Belcher, “Sexyama” has been submitted by Chris Leben, decisioned by Michael Bisping and, most recently, served a brutal knockout from Vitor Belfort in August. The skid marks the first losing streak of the decorated judoka’s MMA career, his only other defeat coming in 2005 against K-1 legend Jerome Le Banner.

Shields also enters the bout on his first losing streak, having dropped back-to-back bouts in 2011.

The 32-year-old Cesar Gracie pupil won 15 straight bouts between 2005 and 2010, including a split-decision win over Martin Kampmann in Shields’ October 2010 UFC debut. After losing a lopsided, five-round bid to dethrone Georges St. Pierre in April, Shields was knocked out for only the second time in September by heavy-handed contender Jake Ellenberger.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

What Ronda Rousey Needs to Do to Return to the Top of the UFC

  • 14 days ago
  • 106 views

After beginning her MMA career with 12 consecutive victories, all of them inside the distance and 11 inside the first round, Ronda Rousey has now lost her last two fights. Actually, it's an understat read news >>

The UFC's best photos of 2016: Blood and sweat, bulging eyeballs and distorted faces

  • 4 days ago
  • 51 views

Take a look back at the best of the best UFC photos from 2016. Filed under: Featured Videos, News, Photo Gallery, UFC, Videos read news >>

Cyril Asker Drops Dmitrii Smoliakov and Some Bombs (UFC Phoenix Fight Highlights) | MMAWeekly.com

  • 3 days ago
  • 3 views

Watch as Cyril Asker drops Dmitrii Smoliakov and some bombs for the finish at UFC Fight Night 103 in Phoenix. read news >>

Sergio Pettis Picks Up Third Consecutive Win (UFC Phoenix Results) | MMAWeekly.com

  • 3 days ago
  • 3 views

Sergio Pettis has been mostly known for being former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis' younger brother, but he's been fighting himself out of the shadow. read news >>

Angela Hill returns to UFC, faces Andrade in Houston

  • 2 days ago
  • 1 views

After tearing through the strawweight division in Invicta FC, former Ultimate Fighter standout Angela Hill will return to take care of some unfinished UFC business on Feb. 4 when she takes on No. read news >>

Jose Torres Asked for Pedro Nobre Fight Titan FC 43 | MMAWeekly.com

  • 10 hours ago
  • 3 views

For his first 125-pound title defense, Jose Torres faces UFC veteran Pedro Nobre in the main event of Titan FC 43 on Saturday. read news >>

Watch Germaine de Randamie Finish Anna Elmose (UFC 208 Free Fight) | MMAWeekly.com

  • 25 minutes ago
  • 0 views

Watch Germaine de Randamie defeated Anna Elmose in May of 2016. She faces Holly Holm for the inaugural UFC women's featherweight championship next. read news >>

Corey Anderson vs. Jimi Manuwa, Joseph Duffy vs. Reza Madadi, more set for UFC Fight Night 107 in London

  • 2 hours ago
  • 5 views

The UFC’s return to England continues to build with the addition of four fights for March in London. Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

That time Tito Ortiz met Chael Sonnen backstage at UFC 136, and how it (allegedly) led them to Bellator 170

  • an hour ago
  • 10 views

LOS ANGELES – Bellator light heavyweight Tito Ortiz remembers the day he walked into Chael Sonnen’s dressing room after Sonnen’s submission of Brian Stann at UFC 136.Filed under: Featured, Featured V read news >>

Steve Swanson Ready for War at Combate Americas DIEZ | MMAWeekly.com

  • a day ago
  • 3 views

The brother of UFC veteran Cub Swanson, Steve Swanson will face Gustavo Lopez in the 135-pound main event of Combate Americas DIEZ on Thursday. read news >>