The UFC has signed Korean middleweight Yoshihiro Akiyama to an exclusive contract, according to the company’s official web site. The former K-1 HERO’s and DREAM fighter has no official debut set but he will be a welcome addition to the UFC’s weakest division.
Akiyama whose main discipline is judoka began his MMA career in December of 2007. He is 12-1 with two no contests and has victories over such fighters as Denis Kang and Melvin Manhoef. He has also faced Kazushi Sakuraba and Kazuo Misaki drawing no contests against each of the Japanese standout fighters.
UFC President Dana White was extremely excited to sign Akiyama and said he can see him making an immediate impact on the middleweight division. White also complimented Akiyama on his superb submission game and called him a finisher claiming UFC fans will love to watch him because he always shows up to fight.
White went on record recently saying he was looking to bring in some of the top fighters who were fighting over in Japan. He has already signed former UFC lightweight contender Caol Uno who will face Spencer Fisher at UFC 99 in June. At the time White mentioned featherweight stud Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto as well as Olympic Gold medalist judoka Satoshi Ishii but never mentioned anything about Akiyama.
The 33-year old adds some much needed firepower to a division that has been dominated and decimated by Anderson Silva over the past two years. Silva is set to defend his title at UFC 97 on April 18th in Montreal.