Michael Bisping and Yoshihiro Akiyama have both agreed to square off at UFC 120. The fight is set to take place on Bisping’s turf in London, England, so he will undoubtedly have the support of the hometown crowd. Both of these guys are in dire need of a win and considering the pace that these guys push, this has “fight of the night” written all over it.
Yoshihiro Akiyama is coming off a hard fought decision loss to Chris Leben at UFC 116, which turned out to be an epic fight card. He’ll be looking to bounce back from that loss and maintain his spot on the roster with a victory over Bisping. However, securing a win over Bisping isn’t an easy task these days. Once thought of as an over-hyped, “protected” fighter that the UFC brought up to the limelight to help break into the UK market, he has since proven himself and earned the respect of the “hardcore” fight fans.
He’s coming off an impressive victory over Dan Miller at UFC 114 and prior to that, he put on a great performance against MMA legend Wanderlei Silva, although it was a losing effort. At UFC 105, Bisping actually knocked out Denis Kang so at this point, Bisping seems like he’s a credible threat to anyone, Akiyama included.
Bisping is a great mixed martial artist. What I mean by that is that he’s not “great” at any single aspect of the sport but rather, his greatness lies in the fact that he puts all the elements together so well. Akiyama on the other hand is a decorated Judoka with multiple championship wins to his credit. Surprisingly though, he’s been utilizing his striking more than his grappling lately and even more surprising is the fact that he got submitted by Chris Leben (of all people) in his last fight.
Since both of these guys are well rounded and fight with a lot of heart, it’s tough to predict a winner in this. I imagine the betting odds with reflect that as well and the line well be close to even. One thing I’ve noticed from Akiyama is that he’s often outsized by his opponents as he doesn’t cut a lot of weight before his fights. Expect Bisping to have a slight size advantage. Other than that though, this one is pretty much a coin flip.