MMA

Ex-UFC star Yoshihiro Akiyama joins ONE Championship

Choo Sung-hoon, 43, who is professionally known as Yoshihiro “Sexyama” Akiyama, is the most recent mixed martial artist to join ONE Championship after competing in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The news was confirmed by ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong on November 29, 2018.

Akiyama is coming out of a three-year hiatus. The last time he competed was on November 28, 2015 when he lost via split decision to Alberto Mina, 36, of Brazil at “UFC Fight Night 79” in Seoul, South Korea.

Born in Osaka, Japan on July 29, 1975, Akiyama is a fourth-generation Japanese of Korean descent. As a judoka, he represented South Korea at the 2001 Asian Judo Championships.

In 2001, Akiyama acquired Japanese nationality. On July 11, 2009, he made his successful UFC debut at “UFC 100” in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States by defeating Alan “The Talent” Belcher, 34, of Bilox, Mississippi, United States via split decision.

From 2010 to 2012, Akiyama suffered a four-bout losing streak in the UFC. He lost to Chris “The Crippler” Leben, 38, of Portland, Oregon, United States, Michael “The Count” Bisping, 39, of Manchester, England, United Kingdom, Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort, 41, of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Jake Shields, 39, of Summertown, Tennessee, United States.

Leben submitted Akiyama via triangle choke at “UFC 116” in Las Vegas on July 3, 2010. The latter lost to Bisping via unanimous decision at “UFC 120” in London, England on October 16, 2010.

On August 6, 2011, Belfort knocked out Akiyama via punches at “UFC 133” in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. On February 26, 2012, the Korean-Japanese fighter lost via unanimous decision to Shields at “UFC 144” in Saitama, Japan.

On September 20, 2014, Akiyama went back to Saitama for “UFC Fight Night 52” where he won via unanimous decision against Amir Sadollah, 38, of Richmond, Virginia, United States. It was the last bout won by the Korean-Japanese judoka.

Currently, Akiyama holds a professional MMA record of 14 wins, 6 losses and 2 No Contests. He will compete in the welterweight division of ONE Championship.

In March 2009, Akiyama married Japanese fashion model Shiho Yano, who is professionally known as SHIHO. Their daughter Choo Sarang was born on October 24, 2011.

SHIHO, Sarang and Akiyama were featured in a South Korean reality show airing on KBS2 titled “The Return of Superman,” which was also known as “Superman is Back.” Here is an emotional episode of the show featuring the family:

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