Chris Leben should be on a Hawaiian island rather than entering the Octagon again. However, Leben is a true gamer seeking to always test himself and capitalize on opportunities that can elevate his career. Wanderlai Silva had too many injuries to take on Akiyama but Leben with a win on the last TUF finale clearly did not have enough.
This fight tested Leben’s durability as well as Akiyama’s chin. Akiyama on paper has judo and a crafty nature on his side while Leben possesses a granite chin and hands that may as well be cinderblocks. The fight was a back and forth see saw battle with two tough as nails fighters refusing to back up and step away.
Akiyama worked his Judo takedowns as well as tricky punches and kicks to confuse Leben. Chris however was truly the energizer bunny and kept going and going and never losing batteries. Leben showed marked improvement threatening with submissions from the bottom with a few armbar attempts as well as a triangle.
Akiyama threw everything but the kitchen sink at Leben and the red-haired locomotive refused to fall. Leben threw his ever present wild hooks and right hands to daze and wobble his Japanese opponent. In the end it was Leben who came through with a spectacular triangle choke for the tap out.
Leben has shown himself worthy of his “crippler” moniker as well as worthy enough to return to the UFC. With a true fighting mentality Leben will take a fight anytime, anywhere and yes anybody.
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