The move makes sense for Akiyama, who has lost three straight in the middleweight division, and there is no doubt that UFC President Dana White is happy about the announcement.
After Akiyama's loss at UFC 133, White made it known that he had been hoping for some time that the Japanese superstar would drop down to 170lbs.
Considering that he has lost three straight in the UFC, losing to Chris Leben and Michael Bisping before Belfort, Akiyama's position with the promotion is rather precarious. He'll need to choose his next fight carefully.
He'll be looking for a name with some recognition, but also someone who isn't overly dangerous—someone beatable.