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

Michael Page plans to become 'one of the biggest faces in MMA'

  • 16 days ago
  • 20 views

Bellator welterweight prospect Michael Page plans to become one of MMA's most notorious stars. Michael 'Venom' Page has all the tools to become a tour de force in MMA. The kickboxing dynamo entertain read news >>

Michael Page: Only a matter of time before I'm 'one of the biggest faces of MMA'

  • 17 days ago
  • 1 views

Not if. When. That's essentially what Michael Page said when asked about becoming one of Bellator's biggest stars. The dynamic British welterweight believes it's a foregone conclusion. "I don't just read news >>

UFC Fight Night 71 results: Holly Holm remains undefeated, defeats Marion Reneau via unanimous decision

  • 17 days ago
  • 2 views

Holly Holm remains undefeated. "Preacher's Daughter" defeated Marion Reneau at UFC Fight Night 71 via unanimous decision at Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, Calif., tonight (Weds. July 15, 201 read news >>

UFC Fight Night 71 results: Manny Gamburyan defeats resilient Scott Jorgensen via unanimous decision

  • 17 days ago
  • 0 views

Scott Jorgensen returned to the Bantamweight division to battle Manny Gamburyan at UFC on FOX 71 earlier tonight (Weds. July 15, 2015) inside Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, Cali., on FOX Spo read news >>

UFC Fight Night 71 results: Alan Jouban lands rare cartwheel kick, defeats Matt Dwyer in action-packed bout

  • 17 days ago
  • 8 views

Up-and-coming welterweights Alan Jouban and Matt Dwyer went head-to-head earlier this evening (Weds., July 15, 2015) in a clash of 170-pound rising stars at UFC Fight Night 71 on FOX Sports 1, which read news >>

Bellator 140: 'Irish Bad Boy' Brennan Ward drops opponents ... and F bombs

  • 19 days ago
  • 26 views

"Irish Bad Boy" wants to make good and win his second straight Welterweight fight, but if he's not having fun and getting the job done, F**K IT, he's outta there ... Brennan Ward was at one time on t read news >>

Photos: Rory MacDonald and Robbie Lawler's faces, a day after UFC 189 war

  • 20 days ago
  • 381 views

Check out how Rory MacDonald and Robbie Lawler's faces look just a day after UFC 189. Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald engaged in a 5 round war on their welterweight title fight at UFC 189. It was a read news >>

UFC 189 results: Gunnar Nelson drops, then chokes out Brandon Thatch in first

  • 21 days ago
  • 4 views

LAS VEGAS – Gunnar Nelson proved points on the feet and the ground, dropping Brandon Thatch with a combination of punches, then sinking in a fight-ending rear-naked choke in Round 1.Filed under: News read news >>

UFC 189 results: Gunnar Nelson drops, chokes out Brandon Thatch in 1st round

  • 21 days ago
  • 32 views

Check out the result of the UFC 189: Mendes vs. McGregor welterweight main card bout between Brandon Thatch and Gunnar Nelson. A striker vs. grappler contest between Brandon Thatch and Gunnar Nelson read news >>

Tim Means is UFC 189's 'Fighter to Watch' tonight in Las Vegas

  • 22 days ago
  • 8 views

"Dirty Bird" faces off with No. 5-ranked welterweight Matt Brown on the FOX Sports 1 'Prelims' portion of the UFC 189 pay-per-view in Las Vegas, Nevada. It's a must-watch showdown! Ultimate Fighting read news >>