UFC 116: Wand gets another judoka

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Wanderlei against Hidehiko Yoshida in Pride. Photo: Susumu Nagao.

Wanderlei Silva really will be facing Yoshihiro Akiyama in his next fight, at UFC 116, says Fighters Only website.

The matchup is set for July 3, the day Silva turns 34 years old.

Nicknamed “Sexyama” for his appearances on the catwalks of Japan, the eminent judoka has only lost once in 16 MMA fights, with two No Contests. In 2005, in his second fight, he was knocked out by France’s Jerome LeBanner.

Since then he has submitted Melvin Manhoef, knocked out Denis Kang and built a solid record. Solid but perfectly suited to the likings of Wanderlei, a knockout-crazy slugger dying to notch some wins and salivating about the prospect of facing a fighter like Akiyama, who made his name in the Japanese ring once Wand’s playground.

Wand has faced judo stars Shungo Oyama, Hidehiko Yoshida (twice) and Kazuhiro Nakamura, but has never lost to a judoka, or to a Japanese fighter. A perfect matchup for the careers of both fighters. Or at least the winner.

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