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Yoshihiro Akiyama dropping to welterweight for next fight

After urging from UFC President Dana White and the MMA community at large, it appears popular Japanese fighter Yoshihiro Akiyama will move to the 170-pound division for his next fight. Akiyama is coming off a brutal knockout at the hands of Vitor Belfort last month and has lost three fights in a row, also likely a factor in the 13-4 competitor’s decision to make the move down from middleweight.

News of his plan was first reported by Sponichi where “Sexyama” also mentioned in interest in training alongside champion Georges St. Pierre to prepare for his next bout, one he hopes will come in February when the UFC is rumored to be holding an event in Japan.

As far as GSP, Akiyama said he wanted to become his “apprentice” giving testament to St. Pierre’s abilities and climb to become one of the sport’s most dominant competitors.

Akiyama is known for his exciting style and displays of heart but hasn’t won in more than two years after falling to Belfort, Michael Bisping, and Chris Leben in his last few fights. Prior to the defeats, the talented judoka had racked up victories over the likes of Alan Belcher, Denis Kang, and Melvin Manhoef.



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