Many UFC fighters don’t make it past three consecutive losses, let alone four but the Japanese Judoka Yoshihiro Akiyama has done just that. After winning his UFC debut against Alan Belcher at UFC 100, the fighter known as “sexyama” has lost his last four bouts. Though he’s survived the unemployment line thus far, things aren’t getting any easier for him, but that’s nothing new.
There’s never an easy fight inside the Octagon but the UFC hasn’t done Akiyama any favors either.
After winning his debut, Akiyama was set to face Wanderlei Silva at UFC 116 before a rib injury to the “Ax Murderer” switched things up and Chris Leben stepped in on short notice. Leben is a tough fight with a full camp and on short notice can be a nightmare, which is what Akiyama had after the fight slipped away late from him. Next up was Michael Bisping and his outpointing style at UFC 120 and after yet another “fight of the night” performance, Akiyama walked away with another loss.
After pulling out of a fight against Nate Marquardt due to the earthquake and tsunami off the coast of Japan, Akiyama faced Vitor Belfort at UFC 133. There would be no fourth consecutive “fight of the night” performance as Belfort knocked out him out just 1:52 into the opening round.
After three defeats in a row and still employed, Akiyama dropped down from the middleweight division to welterweight in hopes to change his losing ways. For his first fight at 170 lbs. the UFC was kind enough to match him up against the former EliteXC and Strikeforce champion Jake Shields at UFC 144 in Japan. Taking a page from Bisping, Shields outpointed Akiyama in his backyard to hand him a fourth loss in a row.
Tell me if you’ve heard this one……
Still employed by the UFC, Akiyama gets another tough fight in an attempt to halt this downward spiral. Once again the UFC has done him no favors as they have matched him up against title contender Thiago Alves, tentatively scheduled for UFC 149 on July 21st. Alves hasn’t been having a good run in the UFC either, having just lost to Martin Kampmann and has dropped four of his last six fights.
On one hand Akiyama is lucky to still have a job in the UFC, but on the other throw the guy a freaking bone and give the guy a break.