Fighter Analysis: This fight is an intriguing matchup featuring two fighters whose UFC careers haven't gone according to plan. They each entered the organization with over 10-fight win streaks, won their first fights in the UFC and haven't earned a victory since.
Jake Shields' 15-fight winning streak before his lackluster unanimous-decision loss to Georges St. Pierre included victories over Dan Henderson, Paul Daley, Yushin Okami, Nick Thompson, Robbie Lawler, Jason Miller and Martin Kampmann.
After his loss to GSP, Shields was quickly knocked out in Round 1 against Jake Ellenberger. That fight came shortly after the death of Shields' father, and it was surprising to some that Shields even fought that night.
Another twist to this fight is that Akiyama is stepping down from middleweight to welterweight. Akiyama has lost three fights in a row in the middleweight division, to Chris Leben, Michael Bisping and Vitor Belfort in succession. Shields used to fight at middleweight, as well, and appeared to be more explosive and better conditioned in that weight class. His last fight at middleweight was a victory over Dan Henderson right before Henderson went on to beat Fedor Emelianenko and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua.
Breakdown: This fight is going to revive the UFC career of one fighter and deliver a blow to the career of the other. Akiyama has shown to have questions with his conditioning and a drop to 170 pounds probably won't help. Akiyama is the superior striker so he could take the fight if Shields decides to keep the fight standing. If Shields sticks to his game plan then his superior grappling should result in a disappointing homecoming for the man that calls himself "Sexyama."
Prediction: Shields by submission in Round 3
Bonus Prediction: Shields will earn Submission of the Night