|Weight Class||Middleweight (185 lbs.)|
|Height||5' 10" (1.78 m)|
|Birth Date||July 29, 1975|
|Fighting Out Of||Osaka, Japan|
|Yoshihiro Akiyama Pictures||Official Website|
Yoshihiro Akiyama is a Japanese mixed martial artist as well as a former Judoka. He became the 2006 K-1 HERO'S Light Heavyweight tournament champion. He is currently signed with the UFC as a Middleweight and will be fighting his first match at UFC 100. He is a fourth-generation Korean Japanese.
|Record||13 - 5 - 0 (Win – Loss – Draw) (2 NC)|
|Loss||Jake Shields||Decision (Unanimous)||UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson||2/25/2012||3||5:00||Welterweight|
|Loss||Vitor Belfort||KO (Punches)||UFC 133: Evans vs. Ortiz 2||8/6/11||1||1:52|
|Loss||Michael Bisping||Decision (Unanimous)||UFC 120: Bisping vs. Akiyama||10/16/2010||3||5:00||Won Fight of the Night|
|Loss||Chris Leben||Submission (Triangle Choke)||UFC 116: Lesnar vs. Carwin||7/03/2010||3||4:40||Won Fight of the Night|
|Win||Alan Belcher||Decision (Split)||UFC 100||7/11/2009||3||5:00||Won Fight of the Night|
|Win||Masanori Tonooka||Submission (Armbar)||DREAM 6: Middleweight Grand Prix 2008 Final||9/23/2008||1||6:26|
|Win||Katsuyori Shibata||Submission (Ezekiel Choke)||DREAM 5: Lightweight Grand Prix 2008 Final||7/21/2008||1||6:34|
|NC||Kazuo Misaki||NC (Akiyama KO'd by Illegal Soccer Kick)||Yarennoka: New Years Eve 2007||12/31/2007||1||7:48|
|Win||Denis Kang||KO (Punch)||K-1 HERO's: HERO's 2007 in Korea||10/28/2007||1||4:45|
|NC||Kazushi Sakuraba||No Contest||K-1: Premium 2006 Dynamite!!||12/31/2006||1||5:37||Originally ruled a TKO (Referee Stoppage), but ruled a No Contest after it was shown that Akiyama used illegal lubricants pre-fight|
|Win||Melvin Manhoef||Submission (Armbar)||K-1: Hero's 7||10/09/2006||1||1:58||Won K-1 Hero's Light Heavyweight Tournament, winning the Light Heavyweight Championship|
|Win||Kestutis Smirnovas||TKO (Strikes)||K-1: Hero's 7||10/09/2006||1||3:01|
|Win||Taiei Kin||Technical Submission (Armbar)||K-1: Hero's 6||8/05/2006||1||2:01|
|Win||Katsuhiko Nagata||KO (Spinning Back Kick)||K-1: Hero's 5||5/03/2006||2||2:25|
|Win||Tokimitsu Ishizawa||Submission (Ezekiel Choke)||K-1: Hero's 4||3/15/2006||2||1:41|
|Win||Masakatsu Okuda||TKO (Slam and Punches)||K-1 HERO's: HERO's 2005 in Seoul||11/05/2005||1||3:31|
|Win||Michael Lerma||TKO (Punches)||K-1: World Max 2005||10/12/2005||1||2:47|
|Win||Carl Toomey||Submission (Armbar)||K-1: Hero's 2||7/06/2005||1||0:59|
|Loss||Jerome LeBanner||KO (Knees)||K-1: Hero's 1||3/26/2005||1||2:24||LeBanner competes as a Heavyweight, 2 weight classes above Akiyama (Le Banner fought at 262 lbs, while Akiyama fought at 189.5 lbs.)|
|Win||Francois Botha||Submission (Armbar)||K-1: Premium 2004 Dynamite!!||12/31/2004||1||1:54|
Before his mixed martial arts career, Akiyama was a decorated judoka.
Notable Accomplishments/Titles (Judo)
- All-Japan Collegiate Separate Weight Divisions 2nd Place 1996
- All-Japan Industry Judo Singles 81 kg Champion 2001
- Kodokan Cup Japan Judo Championship 81 kg Champion 2001
- Japan International Judo Tournament 81 kg Champion 2002
- Paris International Judo Tournament 81 kg Champion 2002
- Asian Games Judo 81 kg Champion 2002 (in Busan)
- All-Japan Invitational Judo Championship Separate Weight Divisions 81 kg Champion 2003
- World Judo Championship 81 kg Japan Representative 2003
2002 Asian Games
Representing Japan, Akiyama won the Gold Medal at the 2002 Asian Games defeating Ahn Dong-Jin of South Korea in the finals.
2003 World Judo Championships Controversy
Akiyama defeated three opponents from France, Mongolia, and Turkey to reach the semi-finals of the 81 kg Light Middleweight division. However, all three opponents claimed that Akiyama had a slippery judogi. Wearing a reserve jacket, Akiyama lost two games in a row (semifinal and 3rd-place match) and missed the medal.
International Judo Federation referee director Juan Carlos Barcos said an examination of the gi found that the slippery texture was due to high humidity which prevailed in Osaka and a detergent used to wash the uniform. "At any moment, we did not have any doubt about fair play in the case. We are absolutely sure that Mr. Akiyama is correct," since he changed the jacket at the request of the jury, Barcos said.
Akiyama was also accused of wearing slippery gear by former world and Olympic champion Kenzo Nakamura when they fought at the world championship trials in 2002.
Mixed Martial Arts Career
Akiyama's mixed martial arts debut was in the K-1 Premium 2004 Dynamite event on December 31, 2004, where he defeated boxer Francois Botha by Armbar submission in the first round. His only defeat has been to Jerome LeBanner, who knocked him out with knees in his second fight at the K-1 HERO'S 1 event on March 26, 2005 (it should be noted that LeBanner is a Heavyweight, two weight classes above that of Akiyama). He has notable wins against Tokimitsu Ishizawa, Taiei Kin, Kestutis Smirnovas and Melvin Manhoef. Akiyama defeated Melvin Manhoef to win the K-1 Hero's Light Heavyweight Grand Prix 2006 final, where he gained the promotion's champion belt.
In K-1 Premium 2006 Dynamite, Akiyama fought Kazushi Sakuraba in the main event. During the match, Sakuraba called to the referee saying "[Akiayama is] Slippery!" Akiayama went to win the match with a referee stoppage. This created a controversy amongst MMA fans in Japan, assuming Akiyama was using some sort of body oil or lubricant, banned in K-1 rules.
But at this moment, Akiyama answered to questions about the oil in the interview as follows: "I have no idea why Sakuraba felt slippery. It may be my sweat, as I sweat a lot always and it often drips off my body."
On January 11, Akiyama and FEG (the parent company of K-1) held a press conference during which Akiyama said he used Olay lotion prior to the fight. Pre-fight footage also showed Akiyama casually applying lotion to his body in his locker room. As a result, Akiyama was disqualified and his prize money was suspended. Akiyama himself was suspended indefinitely from HERO'S competition six days later. Public outcry against Akiyama did not cease however, and Nike was swamped with complaints when Akiyama was featured on a television commercial in Japan. Though Akiyama has admitted to applying cream to his skin, he has said that the purpose was not to gain an unfair advantage but to treat his dry skin. The fight was ruled a "No Contest".
Akiyama was cleared from his FEG-induced suspension and FEG announced that Akiyama would return to K-1 Hero's in Seoul, on October 28, 2007. His opponent was Denis Kang, who was the finalist of PRIDE Bushido Grand Prix 2006 and making his debut in HERO'S. Though he was seen as an underdog, Akiyama beat Kang by KO in the first round.
On December 31, 2007, Akiyama faced Kazuo Misaki at Yarennoka!. The rules of the match stated that kicks to the head of a downed opponent would not be allowed. Late in the first round Misaki knocked down Akiyama with a left hook, and as Akiyama struggled to his feet, Misaki delivered a lunging kick to the face which knocked Akiyama out. The match was ruled a knockout victory for Misaki, but Akiyama contended that one or more of his hands were on the mat at the time of the kick, which would make the kick a foul under the Yarennoka! rules. After reviewing video of the knockout, the Yarennoka! executive committee agreed; the official result was changed to a No Contest.
After the No Contest at the hands of Kazuo Misaki, Akiyama faced Katsuyori Shibata, who at the time was on a four fight slide. The fight took place at DREAM 5: Lightweight Grand Prix 2008 Final, and Akiyama only needed 6:34 of the first round to submit his opponent with an Ezekiel Choke. He would then return to compete under the DREAM banner at DREAM 6: Middleweight Grand Prix 2008 Final, where he faced off against Masanori Tonooka, who he went on to defeat with an Armbar in the first round.
Joining the UFC
On February 24, 2009 it was announced on the official UFC website that Akiyama had signed a multi-fight deal with the company. Akiyama fought UFC veteran Alan Belcher at UFC 100 on July 11, 2009. The fight won Fight of the Night honors, when the two fought three rounds back and forth, ending in a split decision victory in favor of Akiyama.
Akiyama was next rumored to face off against Wanderlei Silva in the UFC's debut in Australia at UFC 110: Nogueira vs. Velasquez, but the bout never materialized, as Silva was scheduled to face off against Michael Bisping instead. Silva went on to win the fight by Decision, looking quite impressive at his new weight of 185 lbs. Even though the fight did not materialize, Akiyama made it quite clear that he still had quite a bit of interest in fighting the Brazilian MMA legend. When told of this by Dana White at the post-fight UFC 110 press conference, Wanderlei said that he would like to fight Akiyama as well.
The two were scheduled to face off at UFC 116: Lesnar vs. Carwin, unfortunately, on June 22, 2010, Wanderlei had to pull out due to breaking three ribs during training. Akiyama would still be fighting on the card, against replacement Chris Leben, who was coming off a TKO (Punches) victory over Aaron Simpson only two weeks beforehand. At first, Akiyama was not happy about the replacement, with rumors that he would pull out of the fight, but it never happened.
In the first round, Leben survived numerous submission attempts, and in the second round Akiyama tagged him with shots that left Leben staggering across the cage in a complete daze. But despite wobbly legs and difficulty judging distance, Leben soon unloaded his own shots, and Akiyama also found himself in survival mode. After recovering, Akiyama scored a third-round takedown and used a smothering top game that largely neutralized his opponent's offense. The strategy appeared it would earn Akiyama a decision win, but with less than a minute remaining in the round, Leben threw up his legs, secured a Triangle Choke, and torqued the hold, ending the fight with only 20 seconds left in the fight, and handing Akiyama the loss. The fight earned the Fight of the Night Honors.
Akiyama recently married Shiho Yano, a famous Japanese model, they had been dating since January 2007. He lists heavyweight champion boxer Mike Tyson as his hero and holds a University degree in Commerce.