UFC.com has just announced that Japanese star Yoshihiro Akiyama will make his welterweight debut against former Strikeforce champion Jake Shields. at UFC 144. The card will headline Frankie Edgar vs Ben Henderson and will be the UFC’s first return to the home of the rising sun since Dec of 2000. The event is scheduled to take place Feb. 26 2012 from Saitama, Japan.

After suffering three straight in the octagon to top opponents in the middleweight division, Yoshihiro Akiyama will be trying his luck at the welterweight division. The top tier opponents just keep lining up as he has a tough challenger in Shields to battle in his home country.

Shields has not had the best of luck as of lately as well, losing back to back fights after a remarkable 15 fight winstreak. A loss to UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre and up and comer Jake Ellenberger in a flash KO in the first minute of the fight.

An interesting battle as we see top-of-the-chain wrestling take on a Judo champion. Whether on the ground or feet we shall see some interesting torso twists by two of the best in their specialty.