After going 1-3 during his middleweight run in the UFC, Yoshihiro Akiyama listened to those that said he should be fighting at 170 pounds instead of 185. “Sexyama” will make his debut at welterweight at welterweight at UFC 144, which will take place on February 26, 2012 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. Akiyama’s opponent for the fight, according to the UFC, will be Jake Shields.
Akiyama came to the UFC in July of 2009 with a record of 13-1-0-2. He earned a split decision over Alan Belcher in his debut ay UFC 100 and then followed that with three straight losses to Chris Leben, Michael Bisping and Vitor Belfort. His fights against Belcher, Leben and Bisping all garnered him “Fight of the Night” honors.
Shields, a former EliteXC and Strikeforce champion, will enter the fight on a two fight losing streak, dropping fights to Georges St-Pierre and Jake Ellenberger after scoring a win over Martin Kampmann in his UFC debut.
Photo: UFC fighter Yoshihiro Akiyama of Japan during a training session before UFC 116 on June 30, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Francis Specker