“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.”
Born of Korean descent in Osaka, Japan, Akiyama first made his name in the international sports world as a decorated black belt in judo who collected numerous titles, including a Gold medal in the 2002 Asian Games.
By 2004, Akiyama sought a new challenge in the world of mixed martial arts, and he made an immediate impact on Dec. 31, 2004, when he debuted with a first-round submission win in his bout against former world heavyweight boxing champion Francois Botha.
Over the next three years, the 5-foot, 10-inch tall Akiyama built a stellar reputation as one of the best fighters in the world, submitting highly-touted knockout artist Melvin Manhoef, knocking out UFC middleweight Denis Kang, and engaging in battles with the likes of Kazushi Sakuraba and Kazuo Misaki. In 2008, the 33-year-old continued his run of excellence, submitting Katsuyori Shibata and Masanori Tonooka to up his stellar MMA record to 12-1 and two no-contests, with none of his bouts going the distance.
I am soo pumped about this, this guy is SICK
His Judo is wayyy on another level from any UFC fighter.
I am exited to see him mix it up in the MW division, good stuff.
video of him and Kang if you haven't seen him fight.