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Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Jake Shields Announced For UFC 144 in Japan

It’s official. Yoshihiro Akiyama will return to Japan for his welterweight debut, but unlike many of his past fights in Japan, this one won’t be a gimme.

The UFC announced today that he’ll take on Jake Shields when they cross the Pacific for UFC 144 on Feb. 26.

“Verbal agreements are in for a welterweight matchup in Tokyo, Japan between former Strikeforce champion Jake Shields and Asian superstar ‘Sexyama’ Yoshihiro Akiyama February 26th,” said UFC President Dana White.

It’s no surprise the UFC is bringing Akiyama to Japan. He’s a big draw there and having him for the Asian market is probably the only reason he still has a job in the UFC following three straight losses.

Breaking that losing streak won’t be easy though. Shields may be on a slide of his own, but he didn’t win 15 straight fights before he ran into Georges St. Pierre because he’s a mediocre fighter. He knows how to win fights and will certainly be looking to get back in the win column after a difficult 2011.

  • Awwaters

    Im stoked about this fight a fan of both of these guys.

  • Quardy

    IMO this is a must win for both fighters…so hopefully they don’t play safe and be boring.

  • Quardy

    IMO this is a must win for both fighters…so hopefully they don’t play safe and be boring.

  • i like sexy time

    Theres no place in the ufc for shields its his last fight!

    • Steve Barry

      His dad did just die a couple weeks before the fight. Maybe cut him some slack?

    • Mooliani

      nooooo way. shields should have dropped outa that fight but he didnt now hopefully his head is clear and he can retire akiyama

  • warriordave927

    This is a good matchup but as quardy said let’s hope they don’t make it a points match,these guys should go out and try and get fight of the night cause eveyone loves the guys who give it their all in a 3 round war

  • mitch

    Shields will have a place in ufc win,lose or draw.  He is a 170-185 fighter like many guys he falls in between two weight classes like Nick Diaz heck even GSP could fight at 180 or 175.  Nick Diaz & Nate could fall in 155-170 or ideally 165 lbs.  If Shields does lose which will be a hard thing to predict, becuz of his dad passing and the need for solid 185ers – he might be able to jump up a class and fight there maybe even earning himself a shot at Anderson in time.  Plus with both Diaz brothers being able to fight at 170 & Daniel Roberts he might be better off at 185. He did beat a bigger Dan Henderson not that long ago and a rematch with Mayhem or matchups with Bisping, Leben, etc would be fun to watch.

    • c dizzle

      mmm i agree cept i wouldnt want to see shields vs anderson… i can see that going exactly like the okami fight. sure shields has the tools to put anderson on his back and stay out of submissions but shields isnt that aggressive. i can already see anderson with his hands down infront of shields just playing around with him.

  • c dizzle

    aahhh yes, i love how i think it and they make it
    like a freakin mma nostradamus… needless to say im very excited.

  • Mooliani

    finally ufc japan is here theres a few fighters that wont have a job much longer (yamamoto, akiyama) but who knows maybe its the air up there and they will both win

  • Lanfear

    Akiyama did have very interesting/exciting fights, win or lose. I think that has more to do with him still having a job. You’re so cynical Steve.

    • Steve Barry

      That may be true.

    • Steve Barry

      That may be true.

    • Mooliani

      nope lots of fighters have exciting fights and still get cut the only reason akiyama is still in the ufc is so that he can be on the japan card

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