Yoshihiro Akiyama

Report: Thiago Alves vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama Likely for UFC 149 in Calgary

Thiago Alves. Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC.

A welterweight bout between struggling former contenders Thiago Alves and Yoshihiro Akiyama has reportedly been targeted for UFC 149, which is scheduled for July 21 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

The news comes from MMAFighting.com. UFC 149 is slated to be headlined by Jose Aldo defending his UFC featherweight title against an opponent yet to be named.

Alves is coming off of a heartbreaking loss to Martin Kampmann at UFC on FX 2 last month, submitting to a gullotine choke in the final moments of their bout after appearing to be on his way to a victory.

After winning a close split decision over Alan Belcher in his UFC debut nearly three years ago at UFC 100, Akiyama has gone on to drop four straight bouts. He suffered consecutive losses to Chris Leben, Michael Bisping and Vitor Belfort before dropping down to the welterweight division and falling to Jake Shields in his last appearance at UFC 144 in February.

Video: Akiyama Improving Striking Prowess Ahead of Belfort Fight

Former world-ranked middleweight and K-1 star Yoshihiro Akiyama discusses his upcoming fight with former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort at UFC 133 on August 6 in Philadelphia, PA.

Silva-Akiyama Rumored For UFC 111 in Australia

Wanderlei Silva. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Former PRIDE light heavyweight champion Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva will make his first appearance at middleweight in February when he takes on top contender and K-1 veteran Yoshihiro “Sexyama” Akiyama.

The report comes of USA Today who states the bout is rumoured for UFC 111 on February 21 when the UFC makes its first appearance in Sydney, Australia.

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All Fighters Make Weight for UFC 100

Tom Lawlor sporting “Just Bleed” paint. Photo property of Ultimate Fighting Championship.

The official weigh-in results for UFC 100: Making History are in and all of the fighters successfully made weight in preparation for their bouts Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The card will be headlined by a UFC heavyweight title bout featuring champion Brock Lesnar taking on interim champion Frank Mir. UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre will defend his title against Thaigo Alves as well.

Main Card:

Brock Lesnar (265 lbs) vs. Frank Mir (245 lbs)
Georges St. Pierre (170 lbs) vs. Thiago Alves (170 lbs)
Dan Henderson (185 lbs) vs. Michael Bisping (186 lbs)
Yoshihio Akiyama (185 lbs) vs. Alan Belcher (186 lbs)
Jon Fitch (170 lbs) vs. Paulo Thiago (170 lbs)

Preliminary Bouts:

Mark Coleman (205 lbs) vs. Stephan Bonnar (205 lbs)
Mac Danzig (154 lbs) vs. Jim Miller (155 lbs)
Jon Jones (206 lbs) vs. Jake O’Brien (206 lbs)
Dong Hyun Kim (171 lbs) vs. T.J. Grant (170 lbs)
C.B. Dollaway (186 lbs) vs. Tom Lawlor (184 lbs)
Matt Grice (155 lbs) vs. Shannon Gugerty (156 lbs)

UFC Signs Yoshihiro Akiyama

Yoshihiro Akiyama. Photo courtesy of Fight Entertainment Group.

Think the UFC isn’t serious about heading to Japan this time around? Think again:

The Ultimate Fighting Championship today announced that it has signed top-ten middleweight contender Yoshihiro Akiyama to an exclusive promotional contract that will see him step into the UFC Octagon for the first time this summer.

“I’m excited to bring Akiyama into the UFC and I can see him making an immediate impact in the middleweight division,” said UFC President Dana White. “Besides his great judo and submission game, he’s a finisher, and UFC fans are going to love watching him because he always shows up to fight.”

This signing is huge. Not only does the stagnant middleweight division receive a boost in the form of a Top 10 middleweight, but the UFC now has another fighter that they can use for a potential trip to Japan in the next year or so. Akiyama moving to the UFC is a huge blow to DREAM and K-1, where he was a huge star and one of their biggest draws.

Dana White has said multiple times in the past few months that he is determined to get into the Japanese market. We heard it before after Zuffa bought PRIDE and then opted to dismantle it instead, but the recent signing of Caol Uno and the obvious discussions with Kid Yamamoto and Satoshi Ishii are potentially giving the UFC a legitimate shot to draw fans overseas. No longer is the UFC content with trading barbs with the Japanese MMA figureheads. Now they are set on taking their fighters too.

Will they actually end up holding an event in Japan? Time will tell. In reality, the threat of the Yakuza (Japanese mafia) is legitimate and not something to joke around about. However if the UFC can find a safe way to hold a show without disturbing things over there, I’m sure they will do it.

Morning News and Notes - Oct 18, 2008

Josh Koscheck. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Koscheck Still Interested in Fighting Yoshida

Despite taking a fight against fellow welterweight contender Thiago Alves at UFC 90 next weekend on short notice, American Kickboxing Academy product Josh Koscheck has stated that he still wants to fight Yoshiyuki Yoshida at the UFC’s scheduled “Fight for the Troops” event on December 10.

From Five Ounces of Pain:

During a conference call to promote UFC 90, Josh Koscheck confirmed that he plans to fight twice in the next sixty days. First, Koscheck takes on Thiago Alves in the co-main event on October 25th. Then, If Koscheck comes out unscathed, he will have a six week turnaround to prepare for Yoshiyuki Yoshida on December 10.

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DREAM.6 Live Results

Photo courtesy of Fighting and Entertainment Group.

We will be going live at 3:00 AM ET with live results of this morning’s DREAM.6 event, which takes place at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan. Those in North America will be able to watch the event live on HDNet. A replay of the show will air at 4:00 PM ET later today.

DREAM.6 will feature the final round of the promotion’s inaugural grand prix. Melvin Manhoef will take on Gegard Mousasi and Zelg Galesic will face Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza with the two winners meeting in the show’s finale. Mirko Filipovic and Alistair Overeem will meet in an anticipated grudge match that will serve as the co-main event.

Be sure to leave comments throughout the morning. Detailed live results are after the jump. 

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Akiyama Selects Tonooka for DREAM.6 Bout

Yoshihiro Akiyama. Photo courtesy of FEG.

Top-ranked middleweight Yoshihiro Akiyama has officially been added to the card for DREAM.6, which will take place on September 23 at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan. Akiyama will be facing karate stylist Masanori Tonooka.

DREAM officials stated at a press conference on Thursday that they had given Akiyama a list of three potential opponents for him to choose from, but his management team didn’t respond right away.

The judo expert fought for the first time this year on July 21, submitting professional wrestler Katsuyori Shibata in a bout that turned out to be tougher than expected. Tonooka is 1-1 thus far in his professional career. After falling in his debut against Young Choi at a K-1 Hero’s show last October, Tonooka bounced back to score a first-round knockout of Hidehira Yabu at DEEP’s 36th Impact show in July.

Hansen Claims DREAM’s Lightweight GP

Joachim Hansen. Photo courtesy of DREAM.

Joachim Hansen was the surprise winner of DREAM’s inaugural lightweight grand prix this morning, avenging a past loss to Shinya Aoki by knocking out the skilled grappler in the tournament finals despite starting the night as a reserve.

In a dramatic turn of events, Hansen was pushed into the lightweight title main event after Eddie Alvarez was unable to compete due to injury. During the first few minutes of his battle against Aoki, it looked as if Hansen was about to fall victim to another submission loss once again, just as he did against Aoki at PRIDE Shockwave 2006 a few years back.

However the tide turned once Hansen landed a strong left hand while falling back to Aoki’s guard. The punch hurt Aoki, allowing Hansen to bomb away with unanswered right hands until Aoki stopped responding and referee Yuji Shimada was forced to stop the bout. An elated Hansen jumped into the arms of his corner. After composing himself, Hansen was quick to push for a rematch of his war against Alvarez earlier this year as his first official title defense.

“This still has to sink in a little,” Hansen said after the fight. “I am the sort of person who takes one thing at a time, so I concentrated on Kultar Gill (whom Hansen defeated via TKO earlier in the night) and felt a little strange going into the final match, so I took my time and looked for the right chance to strike. I had a great night, thanks to my team and everybody who helped me, and next time I hope to defend my title against Eddie Alvarez.”

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DREAM.5 Live Results

We will be going live at 2:00 AM ET with live results of tomorrow morning’s DREAM.5 event, which will take place at the Osaka Castle Hall in Japan. Those in North America will be able to watch the event live on HDNet tomorrow morning at 2 AM ET. It will air again via tape delay at 10 PM ET as well.

The show features the final round of the promotion’s inaugural lightweight grand prix - Eddie Alvarez, Caol Uno, Shinya Aoki, and Tatsuya Kawajiri will battle it out in a four-man tournament with the winners facing off for the GP title in the night’s main event. Additional featured bouts include a slugfest between Mark Hunt and Alistair Overeem as well as a lightweight tourney reserve bout between Joachim Hansen and “Black Mamba” Kultar Gill.

Be sure to leave comments throughout the morning. Detailed live results are after the jump.

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