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Next Up For Wanderlei Silva: Yoshihiro Akiyama

With a victory over Michael Bisping now under his belt, Wanderlei Silva may face Japanese middleweight Yoshihiro Akiyama next in the UFC’s inaugural event in Japan, due to both fighters’ popularity in the Orient. UFC President Dana White noted during last night’s UFC 110 press conference that Akiyama has been craving a bout with “The Axe Murderer.”

“Akiyama wants to fight Wanderlei very bad,” said White. “It’s a big fight that he wants. We offered him another fight and he said he wants Wanderlei.

“So you know, Wanderlei’s sitting here with stitches and a black eye and everything else. He’s going to go home heal and relax and then we’ll talk to Wanderlei and see when he’s ready but yeah Akiyama wants this fight.”

Wanderlei quickly let it be known that he didn’t need any time to think about it. When he was asked later during the same press conference whom he’d like to face next, he simply stated, “Akiyama.”

The UFC has tried for years to get back into Japan since the fall of PrideFC, but has had a tough go of it. With Akiyama’s superstar status combined with Silva’s long history of fighting in Japan as well as the new Flash Entertainment agreement, the UFC may finally be able to grow their promotion in Japan.