Esther Lin, MMA Fighting | Yoshihiro Akiyama and Jake Shields will square off at UFC 144 in Japan.
Akiyama (13-4) has lost his last three UFC fights and last year suffered a first-round knockout against Vitor Belfort. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jake_ShieldsShields (26-6-1) lost his last two UFC fights against Georges St-Pierre and then Jake Ellenberger.
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Round 1: Akiyama comes shuffling forward, clearly mindful of Shields’ takedown ability. Shields tries one, then resorts to a couple kicks before diving back in for a single-leg. Akiyama defends well and turns Shields’ back against the fence. They break and Shields lands a nice right, then tries another failed takedown attempt a few seconds later. Uppercut by Akiyama, and Shields briefly gets Akiyama down but can’t capitalize. Shields moves to the back in the clinch, but Akiyama slips away again. Final minute of the round, Akiyama slides in for a tricky little leg trip that briefly puts Shields down. They end the round back on the feet. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 for Akiyama.
Round 2: Head kick by Shields to start the second. Akiyama defends well and tries that same trip, but Shields isn’t taken in so easily this time. Spinning back fist by Akiyama, but Shields seems unfazed. Shields tries for another takedown and gets stuffed again. Shields doubles up on the jab and pops Akiyama’s head back. Akiyama keeps plowing forward, and manages a throw that puts Shields down for a second. Shields pops back up and looks for a takedown, then tries for Akiyama’s back in the clinch before the round ends. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 for Shields.
Round 3: Shields’ corner tells him he definitely needs to win the third, which is probably good advice. He comes out with more lead kicks, but he’s also gushing blood from his nose, so you wonder which the judges notice more. Good jabs by Shields, but Akiyama lands a heavy right in close. Another failed takedown attempt by Shields, and he settles for a clinch. Final two minutes, and Shields keeps after that takedown. He can’t quite finish it all the way, but Akiyama seems to be entirely on the defensive now. The ref breaks them in the final minute of the fight, and Shields uses those kicks to distract Akiyama long enough to get a truly effective takedown. Shields moves to take his back, and Akiyama gets away with a couple obvious fence grabs. Shields gets both hooks in nonetheless and ends the fight on his back, looking for the choke as the time ticks away. MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 for Shields.
Jake Shields def. Yoshihiro Akiyama via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
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