Not only will Wanderlei Silva be turning 34 this July 3rd, but it appears the Brazilian will be granted his birthday wish by meeting Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 116.
The middleweight bout had been rumored for quite some time, with UFC president Dana White all but assuring it after Silva picked up his unanimous decision victory over Michael Bisping at UFC 110, however the scrap’s landing spot wasn’t confirmed until today, with FightersOnly breaking the news.
“[Yoshihiro] Akiyama wants to fight Wanderlei very bad,” White said at the UFC 110 post-fight presser. “It’s a big fight that he wants. We offered him another fight, and he said he wants Wanderlei. Akiyama wants that fight really bad.”
Upon hearing that “Sexyama” wanted some, Silva’s radar went on high alert. When asked who he would like to fight next, Silva emphatically stated, “Akiyama.”
Prior to the win over Bisping, Wandy had dropped five of his last six bouts and hasn’t looked close to the fighter he was while running PrideFC’s 205-pound division just five years ago.
Regardless, Silva claims a dominant 33-10-1 record and will go down as one of the best light heavyweights to ever strap on a pair of MMA gloves.
Silva was one fighter the 13-1 Akiyama never crossed paths with while in the Orient, but it appears he’s been chompin’ at the bit to get a piece for quite some time. Despite a less than spectacular split decision victory over Alan Belcher in his Octagon debut at UFC 100, Akiyama has his sights set on adding “The Axe Murderer” to his resume.
UFC 116 is expected to take place on July 4th weekend at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar is rumored to headline the event against the winner of this Saturday’s interim title bout between Shane Carwin and Frank Mir at UFC 111.