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UFC Signs Yoshihiro Akiyama

Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Denis Kang – Watch more free videos
(Akiyama putting a hurting on Denis Kang, back when that meant a little more.) announced this afternoon that Yoshihiro Akiyama has signed on with the UFC.  There’s no word on who his first opponent will be, but he’s expected to step into the Octagon for the first time this summer.  

This is a big move for the UFC because it not only bolsters their middleweight roster, but also helps Dana White’s eventual plan to take his business to Japan.  Akiyama is the kind of fighter many Japanese fans (and Shinya Aoki) love to hate, partly because he is ethnically Korean and has been involved in one or two greasing scandals of his own.  As the UFC gets more top Japanese fighters on its roster, especially ones the Japanese fans will pay to see in spite of themselves, it’s going to make things much easier when the UFC finally manages to schedule an event over there.  

As Dana White is quoted as saying in the story:

“I’m excited to bring Akiyama into the UFC and I can see him making an immediate impact in the middleweight division,” said UFC President Dana White. “Besides his great judo and submission game, he’s a finisher, and UFC fans are going to love watching him because he always shows up to fight.”

Word.  But who will he fight this summer?  And does ‘this summer’ mean UFC 99, 100, what?  Oh, the questions.  Fortunately the UFC is planning press conferences in both Japan and Korea to answer them in the coming days.  Take that, Asian MMA market.

Cagepotato Comments

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theqavish- September 2, 2011 at 5:53 pm
wind up cutting leather with perfection, then it is possible to even have a tendency to turn that on into your profession.Fractional Ownership
Franklin Rockafeller- February 26, 2009 at 1:04 am
Akiyama has HUGE star power in South Korea & Japan. Lets hope the UFC treats him right.
Gina's Right Breast- February 25, 2009 at 12:35 pm
Lyotohhh, I think it's flat out idiotic to assume Gina has fake tits, considering they just banned a woman from boxing for that very "offense". Freaking stupid poseurs...
Ed- February 25, 2009 at 2:59 am
Sorry, but Akiyama won't help sell anything in Japan. He is truly in a hate/hate relationship with the Japanese public. He hasn't fought anyone remarkably challenging either, which is another reason he isn't liked in Japan.
Kintama Chikara- February 25, 2009 at 1:21 am
Japanese love to hate Akiyama cause he's flip-flopped back and forth on being proud to be "Japanese" then being proud to be "Korean". In addition, he admitted to greasing. Usually he wears his gi while fighting.... when he greased his legs, he shows up in the gi, ref checks him out, he enters the ring, then takes off the gi. Afterwards he was accused and admitted it. I don't like him but he does usually finish his fights - personally hope he gets his judo loving ass handed to him.
Anonymous- February 25, 2009 at 12:47 am
I think one of the main problems fighters from japan are having is dealing with change in the rules. They are use to being able to knee and kick downed opponents, which was a big part of wanderlei and shoguns success. They are also not use to dealing with elbows. There are many fighters that came from japan that have been successful like anderson silva, rampage, and fedor who are all champions.
BM2- February 24, 2009 at 8:04 pm
Akiyama doesn't need steroids, he sweats grease and eats babies.
dave - February 24, 2009 at 6:48 pm
he is little and trash keep the steriods out the USA
bob loblaw- February 24, 2009 at 6:14 pm
cant wait to see Akiyama fight. cant believe he got signed!
LukeTheDuke- February 24, 2009 at 6:07 pm
Grease or not I love this fucking dude he kicks ass. all of times.
dave - February 24, 2009 at 5:42 pm
it depends

personally if you look at the fighters if they get cake walk fights they can win.

but if the get tough opponets they struggle. rampage faught a bum who kang just kod in 15 seconds

i like gono but again his opponet was sub par

look im not trying to be an ass. all im saying is look at the guys when they come to UFC the are much smaller then when they fight in japan. my best advice for them is to drop a weight class when the make the switch to UFC and they will do fine. I think they are great fighters just too small to compete with the big boys
TPark- February 24, 2009 at 5:22 pm
Akiyama huh? Funny cuz I read korean and it says Winner: Chu Sung Hoon at the end of the clip. But then again he has some weird "not japanese - not korean" thing about him... eh w.e

So dave does yourstatement take into consideration Akihiro Gono? I recall him winning his debut against Tamdan McCory by armbar. and Rampage and many other fighters. Just want to know, not stirring up a fight
ken po- February 24, 2009 at 5:06 pm
u know dave i didnt really think of it. But now that youre saying it, that sure does make sence. they all struggle in the UFC at first.

hey well im with you WARR BELCHER

keep kicking ass you should be ranked in the top 8 or ten guys and no one gives you any credit
dave - February 24, 2009 at 5:00 pm
no im not saying that at all

im just saying that most of the guys over seas are taking steriods
and that is a fact. those guys cant compete with the natural fighters.
thats why they keep losing in there debuts.

didnt mean to offend you
Anonymous- February 24, 2009 at 4:54 pm
@ kknblx

You're american. You're saying anything other than what goes on in America sucks. Is this is a surprise? You're a biased shithead who thinks his country is the greatest and has no respect for others.
dave - February 24, 2009 at 4:51 pm
it is accurate thing to say that belcher would beat his ass too
kosterzoo- February 24, 2009 at 4:46 pm
... funny that, when i fighting at the Kano Cup this year he got a huge response from a section of screaming Japanese women so i don't think that's an accurate thing to say..

dave - February 24, 2009 at 4:44 pm
lol that to funny.

Its sad but true

other guys are having the same problems ex Wiladila Silva, RUA, Thiago Silva

the list goes on and on and on
mikej - February 24, 2009 at 4:40 pm
i agree kk. plus alan is so much bigger fighter. the guy would have no shot
he and kang and all the japaneese 185 guys will have to fight 170. just in case the dont speek english. please let them know nooooo steriods
kknblx- February 24, 2009 at 4:30 pm
im so tired of these jap fighters comming here to try to beat us fighters.

hey i know the UFC wont let it happen to another one of there new guys but im going to say it in hopes of it happening. give him belcher for his first fight too.
UFC wont take that chance because they know alan could beat akiyama also!!!
and they would not want to take that chance again. truth is belcher let kang beat himself. when was the last time kang got off so many punches and didnt even rattle the other guy. oh and lets not forget kang could not do shit on the ground either. he got frustrated and alan knew it was going to happen. I think it has alot to do with the steroid use in japan and when they get off the juice they cant perform as well. guys like alan who are young and all natural have such an advantage agianst the juice head fighters


one day they will have to give you the respect you deserve
skidding- February 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm
I don't think a wrestler could hold Akiyama down... and it would be very hard to take Akiyama down in the clinch. As much as I would love to see Akiyama kick ass, everyone who fought in Japan is letting me down. especially Dong Hyun Kim
Jamz2xcite- February 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm
That fight sucked. It looked like Kang just gave up. He'll get beat in the UFC.
Saggy Balls- February 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm
mmm grease me
BM2- February 24, 2009 at 4:02 pm
They LOVE to hate Akiyama. That's the point.
Jap Fan- February 24, 2009 at 3:54 pm
but the jap fans hate akiyama.