7 Jan 2011 05:57:54 AM
(Not pictured: Stefan Struve’s cover for ‘Tall-Ass Honkey Weekly’.)
No, Yoshhiro Akiyama will not be taking on a convicted white-collar criminal in his next appearance. ESPN reports that Akiyama will instead face off against Nate Marquardt at UFC 128: Shogun vs. Evans, March 19th in Newark. The Japanese middleweight star is coming off two consecutive losses against Chris Leben (humiliating!) and Michael Bisping (slightly less humiliating, but still!), and likely needs a victory to keep his contract. Marquardt is coming off his own underwhelming loss against Yushin Okami at UFC 122, but will certainly be the favorite in this matchup.
Speaking of notable bookings, heavyweight contender Stefan Struve — who has slugged his way to back-to-back wins over Christian Morecraft and Sean McCorkle — has drawn another rising prospect for his next outing. According to MMAJunkie, Struve will return at UFC 130 (May 28th, Las Vegas) against undefeated Travis Browne, who just suffered through a foul-filled draw against Cheick Kongo at UFC 120. The only other match reported for UFC 130 at this point is Thiago Alves vs. Rick Story.