Yoshihiro Akiyama will jump back into the cage following a long layoff. | Photo: Taro Irei/Sherdog.com
Yoshihiro Akiyama will look to put four straight losses behind him when he returns to the Octagon against Kyle Noke at UFC Fight Night “Hunt vs. Nelson.”
UFC officials announced the pairing through a promotional video in Japan to promote the Sept. 20 event.
For “Sexyama,” the matchup will serve as his first fight in almost two and a half years. The last time the 38-year-old fought was against Jake Shields at UFC 144 in 2012, which he lost by decision. Prior to that contest, Akiyama was knocked out with punches by Vitor Belfort at UFC 133; outpointed by Michael Bisping in the main event of UFC 120; and submitted by Chris Leben at UFC 116.
Akiyama’s lone victory in the UFC came against Alan Belcher at UFC 100, where he notched a split-decision win. While the judoka’s record on American soil is less than stellar, he has only suffered one loss in his home country while competing for promotions like Dream and K-1.
The defeat occurred in the same venue that UFC Fight Night will take place, Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
Noke will be trying to bounce back from a unanimous decision loss against Patrick Cote at “The Ultimate Fighter Nations” Finale in April. The Jackson-Wink MMA product has dropped three of his last four tilts under the Zuffa banner, but with a fight similar to his knockout of Charlie Brenneman at UFC 152, “KO” can quickly jump back up the welterweight ladder.
The Australian is a capable kickboxer who also maintains a solid chin -- his only knockout loss in 27 career bouts came at the hands of Scott Smith during an EliteXC event in 2008.
UFC Fight Night Japan is anchored by a heavyweight clash featuring Roy Nelson versus Mark Hunt, and co-stars Takanori Gomi vs. Myles Jury at 155 pounds. Also, Miesha Tate will lock horns with the undefeated Rin Nakai and Chris Cariaso will do battle with Kyoji Horiguchi in a bantamweight tilt.