Fight Week Previews: Akiyama vs. Belcher
Not to take anything away from either fighter, but if Akiyama wasn't a brand-new addition to the UFC family, this fight would not be on the Main Card of the organization's premiere event.
That being said, you don't invite a pretty girl out for dinner and take her to Wendy's, so after signing Akiyama away from his native Japan, a spot on the pay-per-view of the biggest show of the year made sense.
Matching him up with Alan Belcher makes it the equivalent of taking that pretty girl to TGI Fridays.
Yoshihiro Akiyama (12-1-0, 2 NC) vs. Alan Belcher (13-4-0)
Normally, this is the point where I would get into who has fought who, where each fighter trains, and a whole bunch of different analytical things to try and come up with as in-depth a breakdown of this fight as I possibly could to help me decide who I thought would win.
I don't need any of that analysis here, thankyouverymuch.
Akiyama has not lost a fight in four years. There are a couple No Contests in there, but not a single tick in the loss column, officially. Over that span, he's fought the likes of Kazushi Sakuraba, Melvin Manhoef, and Kazuo Misaki.
Alan Belcher has wins over Ed Herman, Kalib Starnes, and Sean Salmon. Interestingly enough, both have wins over Denis Kang.
Belcher forced Kang to tap in his UFC debut back in January, the last time "The Talent" stepped into the cage.
Akiyama, on the other hand, made Kang see stars with a KO in October 2007. The only thing that can really be learned from this is that Denis Kang is not the high-level fighter he used to be. Let's move on.
Truthfully, if Akiyama loses this fight I would be surprised. While I know that anything can happen and Belcher has beaten some decent UFC talent along the way, the Japanese import can both knock you out or make you tap.
He has done so to a much higher caliber opponent over the course of his career, and this should simply serve as a showcase of the UFC's latest acquisition.