Akiyama Drops to Welterweight, Faces Shields at UFC 144 in Japan


  • Share on Tumblr
  • submit to reddit

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 >>

Related News

  • 24 days ago
  • 47 views

At UFC Fight Night 44, Cub Swanson made his case to be the next featherweight title challenger with a convincing unanimous decision win over Jeremy Stephens. The action began fairly evenly, with Swanson employing his diverse kickboxing arsenal against Stephens' trademark punching power. The turning point in the fight may have occurred in the third round, when Swanson landed a stiff kick to Stephens' liver. Stephens was clearly hurt by the shot, and some of the starch seemed to come out of him as more

  • 15 days ago
  • 131 views

Former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz is set to make his long-awaited return at UFC 178 against Takeya Mizugaki, UFC officials confirmed on Tuesday evening. more

  • 14 days ago
  • 13 views

Number one women's bantamweight contender Cat Zingano will make her long-awaited return to the Octagon on Saturday, September 27, as she faces Brazil's Amanda Nunes in a UFC 178 bout... more

  • 12 days ago
  • 25 views

Lightweight bouts between Bobby Green and Abel Trujillo, as well asMichael Johnson and Josh Thomson are no more. more

  • 11 days ago
  • 25 views

With Bobby Green pulled in favor of a UFC on FOX 12 appearance, Ross Pearson has agreed to step in and face Abel Trujillo at UFC Fight Night 47.Filed under: News, UFC more

  • 11 days ago
  • 18 views

Abel Trujillo will now fight Ross Pearson at UFC Fight Night “Bader vs. St. Preux.” more

  • 8 days ago
  • 23 views

In the wake of an injury to the UFC flyweight division’s contender apparent, champ Demetrious Johnson is moving on against a new opponent.Filed under: News more

  • 29 days ago
  • 54 views

Can "Hendo" find success in a familiar place? It looks like Dan Henderson now has to watch his Popeye's Chicken intake if he wants to make weight for his next mixed martial arts (MMA) fight. On the heels of his loss to Daniel Cormier (video), the No. 2 ranked light heavyweight in the world at UFC 173 last month, Henderson has decided to drop back down to the middleweight division. "Hendo's" manager, Daniel Woirin, spilled the beans to MMA Fighting. Henderson hasn't competed in the 185-pound clas more

  • 28 days ago
  • 20 views

UFC bantamweight Alex “Bruce Leeroy” Caceres faces the biggest test of his career at UFC 175, taking on former WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber in the night’s featured preliminary bout. The fight will give him the opportunity to establish himself as one of the best 135-pound fighters in the sport. Faber has defeated half of the current Top 10 on the UFC.com rankings, and Caceres understands that some people may be looking past him. Caceres had this to say about his upcoming fight: I’m alw more