UFC 133 Preview: Is Yoshihiro Akiyama Fighting for His Job?

Jeffrey McKinneyContributor IIIJune 24, 2011

LAS VEGAS - JULY 11:  (R-L) Alan Belcher throws a right at Yoshihiro Akiyama during their middleweight bout during UFC 100 on July 11, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

In Yoshihiro Akiyama’s short UFC career he has earned a Fight of the Night bonus in every fight.

The only problem is he has gone 1-2, winning a very close fight at UFC 100 and dropping his last two fights.

Akiyama has been entertaining to watch, but entertaining losses can only get you so far.

Akiyama is 13-3-2 overall in his career. The Japanese star has shown his great chin and ability to dish out shots just as hard as he can take them.

A combination of Akiyama’s cardio and poor planning have been his downfall in the last two fights.

Akiyama opened up strong in both bouts. Akiyama got the better of Chris Leben for much of their fight. Leben took advantage of a gassed Akiyama though, defeating him by submission with seconds left.

Akiyama faced Michael Bisping next, rocking the Brit in the first round. Bisping became more technical in his striking in the next two rounds and won the fight by decision.

Akiyama is never in a boring fight and as one of Japan’s top stars, he is a great asset to the UFC.

But Akiyama will have to do more in order to keep his job.

One step in the right direction would be to defeat his next opponent, Vitor Belfort at UFC 133.

Belfort was the most recent victim of middleweight champion Anderson Silva. A win over Belfort would put Akiyama’s career back on track.

Akiyama will come in highly motivated to win. Not just to keep his job, but as a dedication to the people who have had to suffer because of the terrible earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March.

If the fight is an exciting one and Akiyama loses, I don’t believe he will lose his job just yet. He will be on the chopping block, however, if he can’t turn it around.

Akiyama has international appeal and is an exciting fighter. But seeing him cut may become a reality if he does not win.