Yoshihiro Akiyama says he wants to fight Eddie Alvarez
After the first round stoppage win against Sherif Mohamed he has one particular opponent in mind,
“I’d like to face Eddie Alvarez. I’m at welterweight but I’m thinking of giving lightweight a go.”
Akiyama tipped the scales at 82.9kgs ahead of his fight at the Singapore Indoor Stadium last month. Losing 5kgs would be a challenge for the veteran who believes he can reduce his weight,
“I can’t really cut weight, so even a catchweight bout next between lightweight and welterweight would be good.”
Next up for Alvarez is the long overdue lightweight bout with Saygid Arslanaliev, which is set for ONE: ‘Infinity’ 2 in Manila. That means the former Bellator and UFC lightweight champion won’t be available to fight Akiyama any time soon and the Japanese veteran is not inclined to wait,
“The match is done, so I want to get moving towards the next one quickly. At the moment, because of the effects of the coronavirus, we don’t know what’s going to happen, but regardless of that, I would like to fight again soon.”
He had to weather an early storm against Mohamed. The Egyptian went all out looking for the fast finish and Akiyama admits this caught him by surprise,
“Honestly, I didn’t predict him coming out with as much forward pressure as he did. I wasn’t particularly looking for the counter, but I thought I should try it. He came out strong and I managed to catch him as I was going back.”
Akiyama used all of his experience to avoid getting sucked into a striking war with Mohamed. He was very patient and when the Egyptian threw caution to the wind and charged forwards he found himself on the wrong end of a right hook from the UFC, Dream and K-1 veteran,
“Distance is a very important thing, so I made sure not to get too close because that leads to trouble,” Akiyama explained.
After a disappointing debut at ONE: ‘Legendary Quest’ he is back in the winning column. Akiyama has his eye on some big fights and his call out of Alvarez will surely have caught the attention of the matchmakers.