Akiyama found success early with his hands but as the bout progressed it became apparent that Bisping had Akiyama's number on the feet and that the judoka should probably look to bring the fight to the canvas. Akiyama's judo never came into play though as through the three rounds he only attempted one takedown, leading to Japanese press questioning his game plan upon his return to Japan.
"I only went for one takedown but Bisping's body was really slippery. Even if I do say so myself..."
Akiyama's camp puts the loss down to "poor communication" and Akiyama did not directly accuse Bisping of greasing but the Japanese fighter himself has a storied history regarding his skin as his comment, "even if I do say so myself" indicates.
In the 2002 World Judo Championship Trials and 2003 World Judo Championships, Akiyama was accused of waxing his judogi by four different opponents. Officials asked him to wear a reserve judogi after the first three matches of the 2003 Championships but cleared Akiyama of any wrongdoing, stating that the slippery texture was due to high humidity and the detergent used to wash the uniform.
Akiyama's real rise to dermatologic notoriety came during his 2006 New Year's Eve bout with Kazushi Sakuraba.
In one of the most unusual bouts in MMA history, Akiyama easily slipped and slided out of Sakuraba's trademark low single leg takedown and rained in ground and pound as Sakuraba screamed out in protest to referee Yoshinori "Chiba" Umeki. The fight continued despite Sakuraba calling out while being punched that Akiyama was slippery, cheating and that officials should check for themselves but Akiyama was declared the winner by TKO as Sakuraba refused to fight back.
Umeki then checked Akiyama's body post fight and found nothing wrong but persistent pressure from the media and from Sakuraba led to Akiyama confessing that he had used lotion on his body before the fight and that he was not aware that it was illegal. As a result the match was declared a no contest and Akiyama did not fight in Japan until New Year's Eve 2007 where he returned to a chorus of boos from Japanese fight fans.
Akiyama's return match was also controversial as Kazuo Misaki managed to pull off a stunning comeback KO and then proceeded to publicly lecture Akiyama in the ring regarding his behavior during the Sakuraba bout. Misaki's KO was eventually ruled a no contest though as it was revealed upon further inspection that Akiyama's hand was still on the canvas so the fight ending kick was illegal.
Akiyama's skin hasn't all been bad news for him though. UFC ring girls Arianny Celeste and Chandella Powell noted how "silky his skin looked" after getting caught checking out "Sexyama" at the UFC 116 weigh-ins.
Following the result at UFC 120, Akiyama has dropped to 1-2 in the UFC (13-3 with two no contests overall) but his third consecutive "Fight of the Night" honors assures his continued participation in the promotion.
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