Japanese superstar Yoshihiro Akiyama became a popular figure in MMA with his impressive eight fight win-streak. However the steak was ended in controversy by an overturned decision against Kazushi Sakuraba due to ‘extreme greasing.’ During Akiyama’s Judo career the International Judo Federation director noted a ‘slippery’ gi which was likely modified by a ‘detergent,’ further leaving the Judokai’s victories in question. UFC 144 opponent, Jake Shields has been weary of Akiyama’s shady past as he shared concern in the build-up to their bout.
“He is a guy that has shown that he’ll cheat any opportunity he gets,” said Shields. “But I think the UFC’s pretty good, and hopefully they’ll have good inspectors out there watching him and making sure he doesn’t try to do anything dirty.”
Shields however does not underestimate his challenger as goes into his opponents home turf.
“I think this is the correct weight for him,” Shields said of Akiyama’s drop to 170 from 185, following three straight losses. “You never know how he’s going to drop the weight, but if he drops it correctly, he’ll be faster and probably in better shape down here. I’m expecting a tough fight. Even though he’s coming off a couple of losses, he’s a great fighter.”
In what Shields has described as a ‘huge low’ in his life following the passing of his manager and Father, he will now look to put the losses behind him and start a new, positive 2012.
“It was really a tough time period with that going on and I had the fight coming up and then losing the fight on top of it,” Shields said. “It was a really tough couple of months for me. I wasn’t feeling good for a couple of months, but I got myself back together. I’ve been training really hard and now I feel great. I’m ready to go out there and bounce back strong in 2012.”