(Video courtesy YouTube/UFC)
Call me crazy, but I’m more excited for the Akiyama-Silva fight than I am the main event on the July 3 UFC 116 card. The chances that someone’s getting knocked out quickly make the Lesnar-Carwin bout somewhat less appealing to me.
I don’t think I’ve ever not been pumped to see Wanderlei fight and Akiyama always puts on a good scrap. Neither fighter has a clear-cut advantage over the other and there likely won’t be any feeling out process as it isn’t either fighter’s style to be cautious, so this bout could very well have Fight of the Night honors in the bag.
I’m thinking Akiyama will try to prove something against Wanderlei, much like he did against guys like Melvin Manhoef, Denis Kang and Alan Belcher and will stand up with him, but Silva isn’t so sure.
"I think he’s going to try to take me to the ground, for sure," Wanderlei said. For a guy to stand with me, he’s got to have balls."
Akiyama didn’t say much about where he sees the fight going, just that he needs to win to reinvigorate Asian MMA, possibly in reference to the losses of Shinya Aoki and Hayato Sakurai in their recent matches against Gilbert Melendez and Nick Diaz.
"I know Wanderlei Silva is aggressive today as he was as a PRIDE champion," Sexiyama asserted. "A victory over Wanderlei will ignite the martial arts world in Asia and I will become a recognizable fighter in the UFC."
According to UFC president Dana White, the pairing of the two highly-touted middleweights was no accident.
"Not only did Akiyama ask for Wanderlei — he was willing to sit out until he was available."