Main Card | Middleweight · 185 lbs | MMA
Yoshihiro Akiyama defeats Alan Belcher via 3 Round Decision
|12-1-0||Pro Record At Fight||14-5-0|
|Climbed to 13-1||Record After Fight||Fell to 14-6|
|-245 (Moderate Favorite)||Betting Odds||+190 (Slight Underdog)|
|Minato, Tokyo, Japan||Fighting out of||Biloxi, Mississippi|
|33 years, 11 months, 5 days||Age at Fight||25 years, 2 months, 3 days|
|185.0 lbs (83.9 kgs)||Weigh-In Result||186.0 lbs (84.4 kgs)|
|5'10" (178cm)||Height||6'2" (188cm)|
|75.0" (191cm)||Reach||75.0" (191cm)|
|Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman - Time to Say Goodbye||Walkout Music||Bob Dylan - Hurricane|
|Team Cloud||Gym||Alan Belcher MMA Club|
- Bout Information
- Event: UFC 100
- Date: Saturday 07.11.2009
- Referee: Mario Yamasaki
- Venue: Mandalay Bay Events Center
- Enclosure: Octagon
- Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
- Bout Billing: Main Card (fight 7 of 11)
- Pro/Am: Professional
- Weight: 185 lbs (83.9 kg)
- TV Commentary: Mike Goldberg, Joe Rogan
- Broadcast: Aired Live on Main Card
- Post-Fight Interviewer: Joe Rogan
- Akiyama Total Disclosed Pay: $160,000
- Belcher Total Disclosed Pay: $119,000
Akiyama vs. Belcher Wiki Update Wiki
In the bout that opened the Ultimate Fighting Championship's historic "UFC 100" pay per view telecast, Japanese Judoka and cross-over entertainment star Yoshihiro Akiyama defeated Alan "The Talent" Belcher of the United States via split decision after three rounds of action.
The bout represented the UFC debut for Akiyama, rumored to be among the highest-price free agent signings for the organization that year. "It's always been a dream of mine to be in the UFC" said Akiyama in translated Japanese in pre-fight interviews. Akiyama continued, "I realize that American fighters are bigger, and their techniques are good. I'm not sure how well my techniques will translate here in the U.S. What I want the fans to see is my heart and the spirit of the game."
Belcher entered the fight at a youthful 25 years of age and on the cusp of potential stardom in the UFC should he have been able to finish Akiyama on such a big stage. "If he beats Akiyama this will be a huge, huge victory for him" commented the UFC's Joe Rogan. A fair amount of buzz surrounded Akiyama's debut, and oddsmaker's pegged him as the moderate favorite in the bout at -245 compared to the +190 underdog line for Belcher.
The first round of the bout saw Belcher come out throwing and landing outside low kicks, with Akiyama looking to counter and throw kicks himself. Akiyama landed a partially blocked high kick to Belcher's face, but was then the recipient of a Belcher low kick to the cup a moment later, and took 30 seconds to recover. Upon returning to action, Akiyama connected more solidly with straight counter-punches, while Belcher continued to focus on his kicking attack. "For a guy with a Judo background, he's a very solid striker," noted Joe Rogan. Belcher dropped Akiyama with a left hook late in the round, but Akiyama was immediately back to his feet. Akiyama landed a series of effective blows in the final 90 seconds, including a left high kick, right straight punch combination. A trip takedown for Akiyama after catching a Belcher low kick would seem to seal the close round in Akiyama's favor.
The two fighters quickly engaged in the center of the Octagon to begin the second round. Akiyama scored another takedown, which was then followed by a series of positional changes on the ground and Akiyama ending up with side control momentarily. In a Sakuraba-inspired move, Akiyama leaned back from within Belcher's full guard, took an emphatic deep breath, and then surprised Belcher with a powerful ground and pound attack. Belcher finally managed to get the fight back into the standing position with two minutes remaining in the round, and subsequently landed his most powerful low kicks yet. Akiyama appeared to be slowing down in the final minute of the round and Belcher closed the round landing by far the more effective strikes. With the majority of the time spent with Belcher defending on his back, though, the scoring could easily be seen in favor of the slowing Akiyama.
The two fighters exchanged powerful strikes in the third round, each attacking more aggressively than in the prior two. Akiyama's left eye began to close from accumulated damage, and Belcher's reach advantage and continued powerful low kicks allowed him to control the majority of the round. Akiyama landed a number of effective counter strikes but appeared to be the more worn of the two. Belcher executed a pair of unconventional, flashy moves as the third round continued: a backwards rolling somersault to avoid being trapped on his back after being partially tripped by Akiyama, and a push-off-the-fence superman punch that led to a roar of crowd approval. Akiyama scored a takedown after a missed Belcher spinning back fist, but Belcher was able to get back to his feet as time was expiring, and appeared to have won the round and to have more energy left and less wear and tear at the conclusion of the fight.
Judge Adelaide Byrd scored the fight 30-27 Akiyama, Douglas Crosby scored the fight 29-28 Belcher, and Patricia Morse Jarman scored the fight 29-28 for the winner by split decision, Yoshihiro Akiyama.
"I think Alan Belcher got robbed" stated Joe Rogan. "I think Alan Belcher knows he got robbed" replied play-by-play commentator Mike Goldberg. Indeed, Belcher appeared the fresher fighter at the conclusion, and closed out the bout with a dynamic display in third. Repeated viewings of the match, however, make it easy to justify giving the first two rounds to Akiyama, leaving Adelaide Byrd's 30-27 scorecard as the only truly questionable aspect of the bout's officiating. The crowd reaction was positive, with a healthy round of applause and cheering directed Akiyama's way as he fell to his back upon hearing Bruce Buffer declare him the winner.