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Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Nate Marquardt penciled in for UFC 128

An exciting middleweight match-up between Yoshihiro Akiyama and Nate Marquardt appears to be set for a spot on the card at UFC 128 this March in Newark, New Jersey. Though both men are coming off losing performances in their previous bouts there is little doubt the pairing should provide fans with a good deal of entertainment based on the experience and well-rounded skills both will enter the Octagon with.

News of the face-off and attached event were reported by ESPN. It was also stated verbal agreements have been made and contracts are en route.

Prior to the 30-10-2 Marquardt’s unanimous decision defeat to Yushin Okami last November at UFC 122 he had won four of his last five fights and appeared to potentially be in line for another crack at the promotion’s 185-pound championship. He has found in-ring success against a number of notable opponents including Demian Maia, Martin Kampmann, and Kazuo Misaki in his career and has only been finished a single time in the last seven years.

Akiyama also found himself on the losing end of the judges’ scorecards in his last fight, a headlining scrap at UFC 120 against Michael Bisping this past October. It was the second consecutive defeat for the man dubbed “Sexyama” with the other being his highly-memorable throwdown with Chris Leben at UFC 116. He holds an overall record of 13-3 and beaten respectable foes like Alan Belcher, Melvin Manhoef, and Denis Kang.

The middleweight duo will join light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at the March 19 show, who is defending his belt against Rashad Evans, with Urijah Faber, Joseph Benavidez, Jim Miller, Kurt Pellegrino, and others also attached to the card.


  • bigbadjohn says:

    great match-up for ‘the great’

  • Makington says:

    I like Akiyama, but I’m surprised he’s still getting high-profile match-ups like these. Granted, he beat the respectable Belcher at his own game, but the decision was razor thin at best (although I gave it to Akiyama) After that fight he suffered 2 pretty big setbacks in a row, getting subbed by Leben after controlling him all night and getting picked apart by Bisping. He’s shown very large holes in his cardio all 3 fights, which I think will be his downfall again when he fights Marquardt. Nate is a huge middleweight with cardio for days so I’m positive he can grind Yoshihiro down all he wants.

    I’m sure Dana and lots of people have probably mentioned moving down to WW, which is really the only move he can make to save his career. No wonder he has bad cardio when he has to carry around guys that outweigh him by 15 pounds almost. Everything would translate over well like his speed and power since he still wouldn’t be cutting much weight and wouldn’t be gassing at the end of the first round.

    I hope he does drop to 170 soon because I like him, and I was always kind of hoping he’d be the first asian UFC star (they don’t really hype Okami, even with a title shot) and would encourage lots of other athletes to make the jump overseas. Being fed top contenders in a weight class that absolutely doesn’t suit him serves him no purpose.

  • MCM says:

    Isn’t that what we said about Sonnen and Okami.

    I do think Nate will win this one though. Which sucks for Sexyama as that will make it 3 in a row (4 to some). He just never delivered like the UFC thought he would. It’d be interesting to see if he could make 170 as I think Nate is gonna look like a HW next to him.

  • MCM says:

    My response was to bigbadjohn, lol.

    looks like you and I were thinking along the same lines Makington

  • Dufresne says:

    I have never been on the Akiyama fan wagon, although I will give him serious props for that fight with Leben as it was one of the most entertaining fights I’ve ever seen. I thought he lost to Belcher and since then he’s never really lived up to the hype he was getting coming into the UFC.

    That said, I find myself falling off the Marquardt fan wagon as well. I can’t really justify why, but for some reason Nate just doesn’t seem to be as impressive lately as he was in the past. Granted he’s only lost to guys at the top of the division (I’m not counting the split decision to Letes, when you’re docked 2 points and it’s still a split decision, you won the damn fight) but other than the quick KO over Maia and punishing Palhares for being an idiot (defend yourself at all times is the first thing they’re told by the refs in the locker room and the last thing they’re told before the fight starts) he just hasn’t impressed me lately.

    Looking at it objectively, my opinion is baffling even to me, the guy is 5-3 since his last title shot with 2 of those losses being in #1 contender fights (and the other was complete bs), all 3 losses were via decision, and his 5 wins are all by stoppage (4 by knockout, 1 by submission) against guys like Jeremy Horn (sometimes phones it in, but still an absolute legend with a record of 112-20) , Martin Kampmann (17-4 with 13 finishes and I still think he beat Shields), Gouveia (granted he seems to be fading fast lately) and Demian Maia. And even with all this I can’t shake the feeling that he hasn’t been living up to his potential lately.

  • bigbadjohn says:

    I certainly didn’t expect Nate to struggle against Yushin as much as he did MCM but as pointed out: Okami doesn’t get a whole lot of recognition. I’ve grown to appreciate his talent since that fight. After Chael beat Yushin down, Yushin sourced out Sonnen’s camp and was determined to improve his wrestling, tenacity which impressed me. He was willing to challenge himself and grow as a fighter even if it was a bit humbling to walk into Qwest for a lesson.

  • stone says:

    Nate should be able to knock this dude out… Nate is clearly the #1 contender… His only losses were to 2 of the best wrestlers in the game… The Yushin Okami fight might have been one of the most borring main events of last year! I really don’t see Akyama ragdollin Nate around and he sure as hell aint gonna out strike or submit him. NATE THE GREAT ALL THE WAY!

  • bigbadjohn says:

    clearly the #1 contender?? He lost to Chael AND Yushin. Chael was minutes from beating him. My math says he’s no higher than #3.

  • stone says:

    Yep! The #1 contender… You can’t put Chael in the picture now, and Okami isn’t really that good. The only fight that guy finished was some no name and Evan Tanner (RIP)… Every other fight was him giving a Ground and bullshit Pound on the other…NEVER looking like he was going to finish the fight. Yushin just has a great base and control. MMA is or should be exactly that, MMA… This isn’t wrestling. That’s what Okami is a wrestler, that’s it. Vitor isn’t the #1 contender but, the fight is good for the fans. Vitor Belfort vs Anderson Silva is like a super-fight for true mma fans… But ummmm, yeah, I can’t really think of a better 185er at the moment. Nate needs to make an example out of Akiyama and Dana needs to quit dangling the title shot in Nate’s face.

  • stone says:

    Chael minutes from finishing him? No way in hell! Chael doesn’t finish anyone, he punches like a pussy! I like Chael too! But hey, “I callz it likez Ize seez it!”. Nate landed a few strikes on Chael and godamn it they counted. Chael even admitted he was knocked out for a few seconds. The ref couldn’t tell because he was just layin on top of Nate, which is what he was doin anyways!

  • bigbadjohn says:

    Let me add this up. Marquardt lost to Chael, lost to Okami, and was dominated by Anderson. Chael was minutes from WINNING not FINISHING. if you missed the fight, Sonnen was submitted late in the 5th round after imposing his will throughout. Okami earned his W against Nate, as did Sonnen. Vitor is untested at 185 but a fresh face with exciting hands and with huge fan support. Marquardt isn’t in the immediate picture. A win, dominantly especially, would push him a fight away from a #1 contender spot possibly. You are obviously a huge fan, perhaps why you are overrating his position in the division. I like Nate too, if The Spider didn’t rule 185 he would definitely be a constant threat to dethrone.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    How come a guy like Carwin gets to fight nobody, Nobody, nobody, nobody and then Gonzaga but guys like Akiyama get thrown against 4 top 10 UFC MWs in a row?.
    Can’t help but think he is being used as a name fighter who is willing to put on a show but lose to UFC stars. I’m no sure why he is such a big name anyway. He has 3 victories of note and has also been done for cheating in MMA and accused in Judo. Yes he is a world class judoka but you wouldn’t know it the way he fights.
    What’s the bet he comes in with no game plan and tries to bang again.

  • bigbadjohn says:

    Carwin is a big American with KO power and first round stoppages. He sells himself. The reason Akiyama keeps getting put in the cage with beasts is because the UFC is trying to break into the mainstream culture in Japan and other parts of Asia as Pride had. So far, not many asian fighters have faired well enough to stick around. If they continuously put Akiyama against contenders he’s bound to win one (or maybe not, me thinks), which the UFC hopes will stoke the Asian market. That’s my guess at least.


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