Yoshihiro Akiyama To Face Wanderlei SilvaA long-awaited showdown between former K-1 HERO’s ace Yoshihiro Akiyama and long-time PRIDE champ Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva will take place at UFC 116. The event is tentatively scheduled for July 3rd in Las Vegas. Fighters Only magazine first reported on the bout earlier today.

Akiyama and Silva were first rumoured to be facing each other in a featured bout at UFC 110 in Australia, but Akiyama was later removed from the card. Silva went on to defeat Michael “The Count” Bisping via hard-fought decision and will now set his sights back on Akiyama.

Akiyama (13-1-0, 2 NC) is one of the most talked about fighters in MMA, both for his in-ring skill and past controversies. The former HERO’s star holds wins over Melvin “No Mercy” Manhoef and Denis “Super Korean” Kang, but is equally known for his controversial No Contests with Kazushi “The Gracie Hunter” Sakuraba and Kazuo “The Hitman” Misaki. Akiyama is technically undefeated since a 2005 loss to K-1 legend Jerome LeBanner and won his UFC debut last July at UFC 100 with a close decision victory over Alan “The Talent” Belcher. A win over Silva could put Akiyama in line for a title shot.

Silva (33-10-1, 1 NC) needs little introduction and is one of the most famous and fan-friendly fighters in the sport. The former PRIDE Middleweight (205-Pound) Champion has defeated a who’s who of the sport throughout his career including a pair of victories over former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and a trio of wins over the aforementioned Sakuraba. After losing a razor-thin decision to Rich “Ace” Franklin at UFC 99, Silva rebounded with a solid win over Bisping that put him back on track. A victory over Akiyama would be huge for the aging legend’s career.

UFC 116 is rumoured to be taking place on July 3rd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event has not yet been officially confirmed by the promotion, but is expected to be in the coming weeks.


(Photo Credit: Sherdog.com)