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UFC 144 Results: Breaking Down Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Diego Sanchez

Kyle SymesCorrespondent IIIDecember 13, 2016

UFC 144 Results: Breaking Down Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Diego Sanchez

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    Yoshihiro Akiyama may have not come out on top at UFC 144 but it won't be the last time we see "Sexyama" inside the UFC's Octagon.

    Akiyama impressed many fans in his welterweight debut by showcasing good takedown defense along with some improved conditioning.

    A match-up that would provide fans with an exciting show would be against Diego Sanchez. Both men are coming off decision losses and both men are known for their exciting, fan-friendly styles. So how do these two welterweight stars match up?

Wrestling

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    This is one area of the fight where Diego Sanchez holds a significant advantage. Sanchez has made a career out of taking people down and beating on them.

    Yoshihiro Akiyama meanwhile would much rather toss his opponent around like a rag doll. In his UFC 144 bout with Jake Shields, Akiyama utilized his judo trips to sweep Shields off his feet as he came in for a takedown.

    The best case scenario for Akiyama would be to batter Sanchez on the feet to reduce the effectiveness of Sanchez's takedown attempts.

Striking

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    A striking battle would likely turn into a technique vs. power equation. Yoshihiro Akiyama has shown to have good technique on his feet. He's defeated prominent strikers like Alan Belcher, Melvin Manhoef and Francois Botha.

    Diego Sanchez may not utilize the best technique at times but there's no denying he has some heavy hands. Sanchez will likely look to close the distance for a takedown or he could instead rip some hooks through Akiyama's body and head.

    A preview of the standup exchanges in this potential bout would look similar to Sanchez's fight against Martin Kampmann.

Conditioning

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    Yoshihiro Akiyama gassed early and often at middleweight but showed no signs of dropping off in his bout against Jake Shields at UFC 144. Fans have been clamoring for Akiyama to drop to 170 pounds for quite some time and it appears to have been the right move.

    Diego Sanchez has a gas tank that simply doesn't dry up. He can push a pace that few fighters are able to match. Even if he's losing, Sanchez just won't stop coming forward.

    Akiyama's conditioning would surely be tested in a bout against "The Dream."

Grappling

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    Although Yoshihiro Akiyama has a slew of submission victories to his credit, the majority of them were against one dimensional strikers or by using his judo gi. Diego Sanchez is not one dimensional and Akiyama's gi will not be allowed inside a UFC Octagon.

    Despite being more known for his wrestling skills, Sanchez also owns some impressive grappling credentials. He's also handled a number of Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts like Kenny Florian, Jorge Santiago and Nick Diaz among others.

    Akiyama may be able to use his judo to get the fight to the ground but it won't be a walk in the park with Sanchez's jiu-jitsu skills.

Conclusion

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    A bout between Diego Sanchez and Yoshihiro Akiyama would no doubt lead to fireworks inside the Octagon. Both men have aggressive styles and are always crowd favorites.

    Sanchez would look to push the pace and it'd be interesting to see if Akiyama could keep up. If he can, Akiyama would likely utilize his punches and use his judo throws/trips to win rounds.

    "The Dream" meanwhile would likely look to take the fight to the mat where he has more of an advantage and could wear Akiyama down. If Akiyama gets tired during the grappling exchanges, Sanchez has the skills to pull off a submission.

    Regardless of who would come out on top of this potential bout, the real winner would be MMA fans as this bout could be a "Fight of the Night" award winner.

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