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Yoshihiro Akiyama to Train With Shawn Tompkins at Xtreme Couture

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Loretta Hunt reports:

Tompkins said the Japanese-Korean middleweight is expected to stay the entire month with the team and will focus on "refining his striking" with the coach and Vitor Belfort, who is slated to face UFC 185-pound champion Anderson Silva in January.



"He is a great person and fighter and has a very slick aggressive style," said Tompkins. "I would like to help him with his defense."

This is an exciting development. Akiyama has already electrified U.S. audiences with his "Fight of the Night" winning performance against Alan Belcher at UFC 100. Adding polish to his balls-out striking style and improving his defense will only make him a more formidable and appealing fighter.

I remain skeptical that Akiyama has the size and reach to truly contend for the title at middleweight in the UFC, but I have no doubt that he is an extremely talented competitor and will make an impact in the division.

I still hold out hope that he'll cut down to welterweight where he would truly be an immediate factor. Georges St. Pierre vs Yoshihiro Akiyama has a nice ring to it, no?