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Akiyama moving to 170 and plans to train with GSP

Best80smovieRAD2011-09-07 03:25:50 +0000 #1
mmajunkie

Quote:

Japanese superstar Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-4 MMA, 1-3 UFC) isn't planning on shedding any sexiness, but he will look to drop about 15 pounds.

Akiyama recent revealed to Japanese news outlet Sponichi he's intending to drop down to the welterweight division in an effort to snap out of a three-fight losing streak.

Additionally, Akiyama, who recently closed his gym in Japan, said he hopes to shift his training base to North America and work alongside UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.

Akiyama made his professional debut in 2004 and quickly rose to prominence while fighting under the K-1 and DREAM banners. While controversy followed Akiyama from his judo career into a few hotly-debated bouts with Kazushi Sakuraba and Kazuo Misaki, Akiyama continued to rise in popularity throughout the Asian market.

In July 2009, Akiyama made his UFC debut with a controversial split-decision win over Alan Belcher. However, he's struggled in recent contests, dropping consecutive fights to Vitor Belfort, Michael Bisping and Chris Leben. While the bouts with Bisping and Leben were competitive and each earned Akiyama additional "Fight of the Night" bonuses, he looked fatigued in the latter rounds of both contests.

Meanwhile, the fight with Belfort ended in a spectacular first-round knockout loss.

A date for Akiyama's welterweight debut has not been planned. However, with the UFC's announced intentions to visit Japan in the near future, Akiyama would seem a near-lock to fight on the card.


DriveBy732011-09-07 03:31:16 +0000 #2
This sounds like a good move for him, I just hope that by training with GSP he doesn't catch a case of the boring...or the clap.
LordZardoz2011-09-07 03:39:59 +0000 #3
I think this is a good thing for Akiyama. Hopefully he can start to get some wins at Welterweight. Akiyama was very competitive in his losses to Leben and to Bisping, and I expect he would do well against many of the Welterweights who favor striking (except perhaps the most techincal of those). I also wonder how well his Judo will serve him against the wrestlers at Welterweight. Off the top of my head, Fitch, Koscheck, Shields, Brennerman, Ebersole, Matt Huges, Anthony 'Rumble' Johnson, and GSP himself all have very strong wrestling, stronger then anything he had to face at middleweight.

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BruceLee2011-09-07 03:44:25 +0000 #4
Wouldn't the whole point of dropping down to potentially be able to fight GSP.

The whole appeal of 170 is to see how good he would be there.
Str8Ryt2011-09-07 04:05:37 +0000 #5
Quote:

Originally Posted by BruceLee

Wouldn't the whole point of dropping down to potentially be able to fight GSP.

The whole appeal of 170 is to see how good he would be there.

Agreed. Happy about the weight cut but the part about riding GSP's sack is weird to me. I would rather him drop down and start calling people out with his eye on GSP.
LordZardoz2011-09-07 04:54:38 +0000 #6
Quote:

Originally Posted by Str8Ryt

Agreed. Happy about the weight cut but the part about riding GSP's sack is weird to me. I would rather him drop down and start calling people out with his eye on GSP.

There arent many people at 170 who would be better for Akiyama to train with. Also, no one has said that Akiyama would choose to pass up a title shot against GSP just because he is training with him.

Also, lets face it, Akiyama is in no danger of getting a titleshot in the UFC at any weight class in the near future. A shot at GSP is at best a few years off.

Still, I am cautiously optimistic. Akiyama is very durable (unless he faces someone with speed and technique like Belfort). Akiyama is not at all afraid to strike (probably too eager to do so, really), and he does know how to grapple. If he can learn enough takedown defense to deal with the high level wrestlers at Welterweight, he should do ok.

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