Jake Shields. Vitor Belfort. Michael Bisping. Chris Leben. Alan Belcher. This is the list of the last five opponents of one Yoshihiro Akiyama. The former Judo World Champion is currently riding a four fight losing streak after falling in his native Japan in his welterweight debut to former world champion Jake Shields. The biggest question surrounding Sexyama is whether he will get another chance in the UFC or will he get cut.
After finally moving to his nature weight class, many felt we would see the best the Akiyama had to offer. However he was controlled by the awkward striking Shields for all three rounds, never seeming to get any momentum going.
A combination of age (36), celebrity (married a famous Japanese model in 2009) and distractions (he is a famous singer in Japan as well) having seemingly kept Yoshihiro from rising to the level that he was expected to when he signed with the UFC.
Over his five fights with the promotion, he is 1-4 with only one of the defeats being a lopsided affair. Subtract the loss to Belfort in which Vitor outclassed Akiyama standing, and his four other UFC fights were all fairly competitive, three round affairs. He won fight of the night in his first three attempts in the Octagon while being the main or co-main event in three of his UFC appearances.
Despite all the hype and effort, Akiyama could very easily be 2-3 or even 0-5 in the UFC. His victory over Alan Belcher was a loss for the Japanese star in many scorecards, while in his loss to Chris Leben he dominated the fight only to become gassed out and be submitted with 20 seconds left in the fight. With such close fights to his record, he has gotten a longer leash than many.
In the end, it seems that Sexyama time in the UFC may be be done if it weren't for all the factors that will most likely gain him one last chance. It won't solely be his Japanese stardom, nor the gauntlet of fighters he's had to face. Maybe it's his propensity for close, exciting fights, or maybe the fact that he is finally at his proper weight class.
Whatever the case may be, Yoshihiro Akiyama will most likely get one final chance in the UFC, something that he has earned despite his four straight losses.