Yoshihiro Akiyama still has a job in the UFC, and now has his next opponent set, as well.
Despite losing four straight in the octagon, Akiyama's spirited performances have ensured him at least one more go, and it will come against Thiago Alves at a July event -- most likely UFC 149 -- according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
The two have both agreed to the matchup, sources told MMA Fighting.
The Japanese fighter recently dropped to welterweight, where he fought Jake Shields at UFC 144. The two went all three rounds, with Shields taking a unanimous decision on all three judges' scorecards. Prior to that, Akiyama(13-5, 2 no decisions) had lost consecutive bouts to Vitor Belfort, Michael Bisping and Chris Leben.
After dropping his fourth straight, there was speculation about whether or not he would be cut, and he'll face the same kind of stakes the next time around.
In Alves, Akiyama will be facing an opponent hungry for a win.
Alves appeared to be on the way to a victory over Martin Kampmann during March's UFC on FX event in Sydney, Australia when he went for a takedown and fell into a fight-ending guillotine choke with just 48 seconds left in the fight. With the loss, Alves fell to 19-9 overall after dropping four of his last six.
The fight is likely as part of the UFC's inaugural foray into Calgary on July 21 at the Scotiabank Saddledome. In the main event of that show, Jose Aldo will attempt to defend his featherweight championship, though his opponent has yet to be named.