At a recent press conference held in Japan to promote the release of the UFC Undisputed 2009 video game, international fight star and brilliant Judoka Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-1) confirmed he will face Brazilian MMA legend Wanderlei Silva in early 2010.
The match-up is a truly thrilling one with both men seeking their spot on the upper echelons of the middleweight ladder. Akiyama, err “Sexyama” as he’s referred to by adoring fans (and there are plenty of them), bested Alan Belcher at UFC 100. The win raised his stock here in the U.S. and showed the UFC brass that he has the potential to indeed be a force on the big stage. He will face one of his toughest challenges at either UFC 110 or 111 (both unannounced as of now) opposite Silva.
Wanderlei is looking to reinvent himself at 185 lbs. after little success at light heavyweight over the past couple years State-side (1-3). Regardless of the losses, Silva remains a huge draw and the embodiment of what a fan-favorite MMA fighter is. His years fighting in Japan’s PRIDE organization cemented his legacy as one of the all-time greats and the hard-hitting beast still has plenty of gas in the tank for one last run.
This is excellent bout planning to excite not only American and worldwide fans, but the mainstream and hardcore fan appeal Akiyama vs. Silva has will surely make it a huge hit.