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Jake Shields vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama Set for UFC 144 in Japan

It appears that the the UFC's Japanese event that is scheduled for February has another big bout lined up. Just two days after confirming that Frankie Edgar would defend his UFC lightweight title against Ben Henderson in the main event of that card, word comes down from Mike Chiapetta of MMA Fighting that Yoshihiro Akiyama will make his welterweight debut against former Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields on February 26th:

Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Jake Shields has been signed for UFC 144 in Japan. It'll be Akiyama's debut at 170.
Nov 14 via webFavoriteRetweetReply

 

Both fighters are currently mired in losing streaks. Akiyama has dropped three bouts in a row, most recently getting knocked out by Vitor Belfort in under two minutes at UFC 133. He has talked of dropping to 170 for a while now, and actually did a test cut just a few days ago. Shields has lost two bouts in a row, the last coming to Jake Ellenberger in just 53 seconds at UFC Fight Night 25 in September. He has been dealing with the loss of his father and manager Jack Shields, who passed away shortly before the September bout.

The UFC has now confirmed the bout.