Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight fighters Yoshihiro Akiyama and Alberto Mina threw down yesterday (Sat., Nov. 28, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 79 inside Olympic Gymnastics Arena in Seoul, South Korea.
More of a star than an active fighter, Akiyama has been rather inconsistent lately. Nonetheless, Akiyama was looking put together consecutive wins inside the Octagon for the first time, and this was a solid fight to see where his current abilities stand.
On the other hand, Mina is quite unknown by most fight fans. While this wasn't a huge card, a win over Akiyama could definitely earn Mina some recognition.
The first round started rather slow, as both fighters looked for low kicks. Despite his length, Mina absorbed the far harder low kicks in those exchanges.
However, Mina landed more punches when he did finally began throwing punches. It took most of the round for either man to really open up, and the striking was close when they did.
Mina ended the round with a failed takedown attempt, but on the whole, it was a close round.
After those tight five minutes, Akiyama began the second round strong. First, he landed a few more leg kicks, which clearly were beginning to take a toll on his opponent. Then, after landing a few punches, Akiyama set up a powerful uppercut with a few jabs that landed perfectly.
Nonetheless, Mina settled into the fight more as the round wore on and found his range a bit. Perhaps Akiyama was beginning to tire a bit, as Mina began to find some success with his extended combinations. Though it looked like the round would end before Akiyama could turn it around, Mina instead flurried and rocked Akiyama with some long punches.
In all likelihood, Akiyama was saved by the bell, as he was very badly hurt at the end of the round.
Despite getting rocked to end the second, the third was undoubtedly Akiyama's best of the fight. He started the round by bullying Mina into the fence and firing off some punches, most of which landed.
Additionally, Mina's lead leg was ruined. He was barely able to circle around or chase Akiyama, so he often resorted to shooting from far out and getting sprawled on. This tired him out even further, repeatedly gave Akiyama top position, and allowed his opponent to land some hard ground strikes as well.
Ultimately, two of three judges gave Mina the win, earning him a split decision victory.
Frankly, I don't agree with the decision. The first was close, but Akiyama definitely did more damage. By the start of the second round, his opponent's lead leg was completely purple. In a round without a ton of action, that type of significant striking and damage should be enough to earn the victory.
Nonetheless, Mina got the victory and looked far improved from his debut. He still got pretty wild at times, but he wasn't completely sloppy like his debut performance, in which he threw reckless looping punches and flying knees completely at random.
Clearly, his time at Kings MMA helped him out quite a bit.
Still, Mina barely got the victory over a 40-year-old fighter who fights once a year. He's obviously not going to grow into a contender, so UFC should match him up with another welterweight on the bottom half of the division.
Overall, I thought Akiyama performed fairly well. His leg kicks were devastating, his right hand landed with power, and he used a nice counter jab to cut through his opponent's looping punches.
While I do think Akiyama did enough to win, a couple things could've helped him prove it to the judges. For one, Akiyama needed more volume, as he was landing whenever he committed to a punch. In addition, a couple takedowns would've been rather helpful, as his opponent was throwing himself off-balance with his strikes and likely would've been vulnerable.
Nonetheless, it probably doesn't matter all that much. Akiyama isn't trying to make a title run. He's fighting for love of the sport and the fans, so ultimately whether or not he wins a split decision isn't all that important. If Akiyama wants another fight, an offer will surely be made.
Yesterday, Alberto Mina scraped past Yoshihiro Akiyama in a close fight. Where do both men go from here?
For complete UFC Fight Night 79: "Henderson vs Masvidal" results and play-by-play, click HERE!