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

‘Baby Slice’ Faces Jonathan Tomasian in Pro Debut at Bellator 160

  • 25 days ago
  • 15 views

“Baby Slice” Kevin Ferguson Jr.'s Bellator arrival was trending on social media for two-straight days. On Monday, Bellator confirmed his first challenge. read news >>

Luis Santos to Face Igor Svirid at ONE: Titles & Titans in Jakarta

  • 24 days ago
  • 6 views

A former champion faces a former title challenger in the main event of ONE: Titles & Titans later this month. read news >>

Andrew Leone Injured, Tilek Batyrov Faces Adriano Moraes at ONE: Heroes of the World

  • 19 days ago
  • 9 views

The interim title match between Adriano Moraes and Andrew Leone has been nixed due to an injury. Kyrgyz flyweight Tilek Batyrov steps in to fight Moraes. read news >>

Eduard Folayang Thinks a Win Over Adrian Pang Could Lead to ONE Championship Title Shot

  • 17 days ago
  • 12 views

Eduard Folayang faces one of his toughest tests to date in Adrian Pang in a main card 155-pound bout at ONE: Heroes of the World. read news >>

Former Champ Joe Warren Faces Sirwan Kakai in Bellator 161 Co-Main Event

  • 16 days ago
  • 3 views

A bantamweight showdown pitting Joe Warren against Sirwan Kakai has been added to the main card of Bellator 161: Kongo vs. Johnson. read news >>

UFC 202 Free Fight: Nate Diaz Defeats Michael Johnson

  • 15 days ago
  • 20 views

Watch as Nate Diaz earned a decision victory against Michael Johnson at UFC on FOX 17 in December 2015. read news >>

Nate Diaz Not Interested in Title Fights (UFC 202 Video)

  • 8 days ago
  • 11 views

If Nate Diaz defeats Conor McGregor for a second time at UFC 202, what's next? Is he then ready to step into a title fight? read news >>

Saad Awad Eyeing Title Shot if He Defeats Derek Anderson at Bellator 160

  • 2 days ago
  • 7 views

Initially Saad Awad was hoping a title shot would come his way, but instead he’ll be facing fellow longtime 155-pound fighter Derek Anderson at Bellator 160. read news >>