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Post UFC 133, Whats Next For Akiyama
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Let me just begin by saying I’m a huge Akiyama fan, the guy comes to fight every time and puts on Fight of the Night performances every fight. However if you keep up with MMA and are interested in Akiyama you know he was riding a two fight losing streak going into the bout with Belfort last Saturday. He went into this fight and lost by first round knockout in the first two minutes. Belfort blitzed him early and caught him and didn’t stop punishing leaving him face down on the canvas. Now hes on a 3 fight losing streak and many people are wondering what’s next for this former contender?

1. Drop down to 170.

This is probably the option I like best, I believe Akiyama is just too small to be at middleweight. Belfort looked like he was a weight class above Akiyama and same with Bisping. He is simply just too small for UFC middleweights, he needs to drop down to 170 if he wants to be successful in the organization. Look at his friend Dong Hyun Kim, the guy is taller than Akiyama but he’s a weight class below him. If Akiyama wants to keep fighting in the UFC he’s going to have to move down to 170 and start a clean slate.

2. Give him a tune up fight.

Akiyama was fed to the wolves as soon as he entered the UFC, facing top tier guys every fight. Guys like Alan Belcher, Michael Bisping, Chris Leben, and now Vitor Belfort. He went 1-3 against them and offered fight of the night performances against the first three. He has never been dominated against all three and put up quite a fight against them. He could just need a tune up fight against a lower tier fighter to get his confidence back up. If he won against another fighter he could find his rhythm again and be a force in the middleweight division.

3. Cut him

Akiyama is now on a 3 fight losing skid in the UFC. That is usually the magic number for any fighter in the UFC to get cut. However Dana White hasn't cut him yet and is probably going to give him another chance. He defiantly has the talents to be in the UFC, world class judo, crisp striking, a good chin. However with those talents he also has a lot of holes, one he notoriously has is gassing mid way through the fight. He did it in his first three appearances and it cost him the fight against Chris Leben. If you can't fix a problem like that in three fights one has to ask does he deserve to be there?

Akiyama is a talented fighter and I’m a huge fan of him even before he came into the UFC, however he has not lived up to the hype that people had put on him before his entrance. In my opinion he needs to drop down to 170 where I think he will be more successful. However one has to ask following three straight losses, is he really UFC material?


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