Jake Shields, Yoshihiro Akiyama Meet In Japan

Jake Shields

Former top middleweights try to end losing skids

Yoshihiro Akiyama hasn’t had much luck at middleweight, so the former top Japanese star will try his luck at welterweight.

The UFC announced on Monday morning that Akiyama has verbally agreed to face Jake Shields at UFC 144 in Japan. The bout will serve as Akiyama’s welterweight debut.

“Verbal agreements are in for a welterweight matchup in Tokyo, Japan between former Strikeforce champion Jake Shields and Asian superstar ‘Sexyama’ Yoshihiro Akiyama February 26th,” said UFC President Dana White.

The event, which takes place February 26th at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitaima, Japan, is headlined by a lightweight title fight between champ Frankie Edgar and new top contender Ben Henderson.

Both fighters will attempt to rebound from consecutive losses. Akiyama is riding a three-fight losing streak and is believed to be on the verge of losing his job, so he’ll find himself in a must-win situation against Shields.

Shields, a former pound for pound contender, is on a two-fight losing streak of his own. He lost to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 129 and was knocked out by Jake Ellenberger at a UFC Fight Night event in New Orleans.