UFC 100 Preview: Alan Belcher vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama

Jeremy will be previewing one fight per day from this Saturday’s upcoming UFC 100 main card.

The major question heading into Akiyama’s UFC and American debut is this: did the head kick Kazuo Misaki used to beat Akiyama in late 2007 do so much damage that it effectively ended his career? Some will point out that Akiyama has two victories since that kick, but those victories still don’t answer the major point of the argument: is Akiyama damaged goods?

Those close to the legendary Korean say he’s basically finished at this point, and I guess there’s no matter way to find out than by matching him up with Alan Belcher. Belcher, who has the striking skills and submissions to put away just about anyone in the middleweight division but sometimes fights far below his skill level, is the perfect litmus test for Akiyama in 2009. He’s plenty dangerous, but also has enough weak spots for Akiyama to take advantage of if he’s careful.

If “Sexyama” is able to get inside and stay there, Belcher will be in for a short night. Akiyama is one of the best judokas in the game, and I look for him to establish control on the inside, utilize judo throws to get the fight to the ground, and then submit Belcher for a debut victory.

PREDICTION: Yoshihiro Akiyama by submission, round 2

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