UFC Fight Night 52 Preview: The returns of Sexyama and TUF 7 winner Amir Sadollah

UFC Fight Night 52: Yoshihiro Akiyama vs Amir Sadollah
UFC Fight Night 52: Yoshihiro Akiyama vs Amir Sadollah

At UFC Fight Night 52 in Japan on September 20, 2014, popular fighters Yoshihiro Akiyama and Amir Sadollah will return after conspicuous absences to face each other.

 

This fight was supposed to be a clash between Akiyama, 39, and Kyle Noke, but due to an injury to the latter competitor Amir Sadollah, 34, has stepped in to take his place.

Akiyama (13-5-2), known as Choo Seong-Hoon in Korea, has been busy becoming a TV star through appearances in programs and commercial advertisements. Nonetheless, he has lost four straight fights and has not competed in almost three years. Also, when a person is making a lot of money without getting punched or strangled, they tend to stick with what causes less harm to them. That is why it is confusing that he is stepping back into the Octagon. No matter what, Sexyama will have a lot of support for him around Asia but will he be ready to shake off the cobwebs and put on a show for his fans?

His last fight was in February of 2012 and it was also his welterweight debut. He started the fight well against Jake Shields, a former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion, with crisp striking and slick judo throws. As it went on, Sexyama began to fade and it resulted in a decision win for Shields.

Before cutting down to welterweight, Akiyama faced a pre-TRT Vitor Belfort at middleweight and got mollywhopped quickly in the first round.

His other fights at middleweight in the UFC were against Chris Leben, Michael Bisping and Alan Belcher were all “Fight of the Night”, but he only came out with one split decision in his favor, one that could have gone either way.

Amir Sadollah (6-4), the Ultimate Fighter Season 7 winner, has been out due to an array of injuries – too many to mention. Fully healed from his wounds, he transplanted all the way to Thailand to end his training camp at Phuket Top Team for this fight.

Sadollah is a unique case in that he has fought his whole professional career in the UFC. He started off as the winner of TUF season 7 defeating CB Dollaway, currently the #9 middleweight in the UFC, by armbar submission. He does have other notable wins over the likes of veterans Brad Blackburn, Phil Baroni and Damarques Johnson, but whenever he goes up a step in competition it is not pretty.

In his second fight in the UFC, he was lined up against Johny Hendricks, the current UFC Welterweight champion, and was stopped quickly with uppercuts and left hands in the first round. Then, after two consecutive wins he faced Kim Dong-Hyun and was completely dominated on the ground, leading to a decision loss.

His most recent fight dates back to September 2012, when he fought a fading Dan Hardy in the latter’s home country of England. In the beginning of the match, Sadollah looked impressive on the feet, landing combinations and hard leg kicks. However, the later rounds were all taken by Hardy with a mix of takedowns and some ground and pound. In the end, Hardy got the nod on the scorecards.

Akiyama vs Sadollah: Fight Analysis

This fight will begin on the feet and end on the feet. It is no secret that both of these fighters like to stand and throw hands.

Sadollah is a very technical striker who likes to overwhelm opponents with volume. For him to win this fight he needs to stay away from Akiyama’s power and pitter patter him with punches and kicks a la the Diaz brothers until Akiyama gets tired. Since Sadollah will be quicker and has better foot work it is a real possibility that he might be able to finish him with an accumulation of strikes. If it does go to the mat, he can maybe utilize his black belt in Sambo and purple belt in BJJ – but that is a long shot.

Even though they are the same height, Akiyama will be much bigger and stronger than Sadollah. He has got the knockout power to put anyone to the canvas and his judo is second to none. The 39-year old has a third degree black belt in judo and a black belt in Gaidojutsu, but the problem is that he hardly uses those skills in his fights. The best chance Akiyama has is to throw the big right hand and incorporate some judo throws. Considering that Sadollah is not very good on his back, Akiyama can possible obtain side control from his throws to hammer down elbows and punches.

This fight will tell fans a lot about the future of both fighters, winner or loser. These questions will be brought up after the conclusion of this fight, and that is why it is such an anticipated match.