Top ranked middleweight and highly regarded Judoka Yoshihiro Akiyama is set to wage his first battle on American soil this Saturday evening at UFC 100 as he faces off with the always dangerous Alan Belcher.
A 2002 Gold Medalist in Judo at the Asian Games, Akiyama will be looking to throw his way to the top of the UFC’s stacked 185 pound weight class.
“What I would like to do is show everyone that Judoka can be successful, even in the UFC,” the native to Osaka, Japan was quoted as saying in a recent video interview on UFC.com.
His opponent Belcher normally walks around near the 220 pound mark and Akiyama is fully aware of the challenges that fighting in the UFC will present.
“I realize that the American fighters are bigger and their techniques are good,” said the thirty three year old veteran of the K-1 Hero’s and DREAM promotions.
You may be a little surprised at the confidence level of Akiyama heading into what could be considered the most pivotal bout of his career. According to him, he’ll just have to wait and see how he fares on Saturday evening.
“Honestly, I’m not sure how successfully my techniques will translate in the UFC, but what I want the fans to see is my heart for the game, and my spirit for the game,” confessed Akiyama.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to fight in the UFC,” concluded the Japanese finishing machine. “Now that I’m here the dream is a reality and I’m looking forward to one day having the championship belt around my waist.”