The UFC is bringing “Sexyama” back.
According to reports, Japanese superstar and HERO’s Grand Prix winner Yoshihiro Akiyama making his return to the octagon, Sept. 20, at UFC Fight Night 52 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. He will face former XFC Middleweight champion Kyle “KO” Noke.
This fight marks the first time Akiyama will compete in the octagon since 2012. He dropped a decision to Jake Shields at UFC 144 in the promotion’s return to Japan. Despite being on a four-fight losing streak – which included losses to Vitor Belfort, Michael Bisping and Chris Leben – Akiyama wasn’t on the receiving end of the chopping block that usually comes to fighters who suffer 2-3 consecutive losses. That said Aykiama is an exciting competitor – with three “Fight of the Night” performances to his credit – and deserves to have one more shot in the octagon.
His opponent comes in with a similar situation. Noke has gone 1-3 in his last four fights, including a decision loss against Patrick Cote. Prior to that fight, he picked up a 45-second TKO win over Charlie Brenneman.
This should be a fun bout for fans. Not only do both fighters have the capability of pulling off finishes, but also Akiyama and Noke kind of have their backs against the wall and when competitors have their jobs at stake, that’s when they tend to go for broke and put on some of the most exciting performances of their career.
I’m sure Akiyama will have extra motivation since he is fighting in front of the Japanese crowd. While the Japanese crowd is usually reserved, I’m sure they’ll go bananas the moment “Time to Say Goodbye” blasts through the speakers and Sexyama makes his way to the octagon.
Who do you think will win this fight? Answer with a comment below or send a tweet to @cagepagesfs.