The UFC’s newest middleweight acquisition could be making his debut under the brightest of lights. According to a Monday report by MMAjunkie.com, talks are ongoing for Yoshihiro Akiyama to face off against Alan Belcher at UFC 100, scheduled for July 11 in Las Vegas.
According to Junkie, a source close to the negotiations said that while the fight isn’t signed bout agreements could be finalized any day now. If signed, Akiyama vs. Belcher would appear on the same card expected to feature Georges St. Pierre defending his welterweight title against Brazilian Thiago Alves.
Also expected to take place at UFC 100 is a middleweight matchup between Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson, the rival coaches on the upcoming ninth edition of The Ultimate Fighter. A heavyweight title unification match between UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar and interim UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir could headline the event.
The Korean-born Akiyama was just recently signed by the UFC. The former K-1 HERO’s veteran is a world renowned Judo practitioner. He began his MMA career fighting with K-1 in 2007 and has most recently fought for the DREAM organization.
Akiyama is currently 12-1 with two no contests in his brief career with seven of his victories have coming by submission while five have come by knockout. Only two of his fights have ventured past the first round.
Belcher is coming off an upset victory against Denis Kang at UFC 93. Kang, who once lost to Akiyama, looked impressive in controlling the bout until Belcher was able to pull out the win by securing a guillotine choke with seconds remaining in the second round.
Belcher owns a 14-5 overall record and is 5-3 in the UFC with victories over Kang, Ed Herman, Sean Salmon, Kalib Starnes and Jorge Santiago. He reportedly had been slated to fight Alessio Sakara at UFC 99 in Germany this June.
Sources close to Akiyama said the Korean fighter expressed a strong desire to make his UFC debut in America but eventually would like to help the UFC enter into the Asian market.