I’m glad [Akiyama]’s a tough opponent. It will probably be even on the odds. From my take I don’t like it when everybody starts to, you know, kind of stroke my ego, saying, “This is the perfect match for you,” and all this. I like it when there are still a lot of people out there who think he is going to do good. And they should because he’s a really tough guy, you know. But the tougher the matchup and the more of a challenge it is, the better I get up and get ready for the fight…I like being the underdog. It makes me more hungry for the fight. Because when everybody says you are going to beat the person, then there is really no pleasure in winning the fight. Everybody knows you are going to beat him, and you only have something to lose and nothing to win…This fight is similar to the Kang fight, where I have a lot to gain fighting a top-notch opponent, so I take it very seriously…The only thing that I wish was a little different is that – nothing against Akiyama – but after Kang I thought they’d give me somebody that has already proven themselves in the UFC.
–Alan Belcher talking to TheMMAFiend about how he likes being the underdog against Akiyama.
Belcher’s last comment was also interesting. Akiyama could very well turn out to be a disappointment like a few other fighters that have transitioned from Japan, but I’m not sure Belcher can be too disappointed in the match-up. He was clearly losing the fight against Kang up until the very point when he sunk in the guillotine choke for the win. His finish may have been impressive, but his overall performance was not.