MMAJunkie.com is reporting that a middleweight match up between former number one contender Chael Sonnen and Yoshihiro Akiyama is being worked towards, despite the fact that Sonnen yesterday plead guilty to money laundering in the state of Oregon.
The fight between Akiyama and Sonnen is being planned for UFC 128, which will take place this March 18th, just after his current six month suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission (for improperly disclosing the fact that he undergoes testosterone replacement therapy) runs out and just before he is sentenced for the money laundering charge. Though the charge has a maximum penalty of two years in jail and a $500,000 dollar fine, Sonnen entered a plea agreement which has seen him relinquish his real estate license and pay a $10,000 fine. He is expected to be sentenced to two years of probation.
The controversial West Linn, Oregon native last appeared in action against UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva this past August in the main event of UFC 117. Sonnen dominated the fight for five rounds before succumbing to a hail mary triangle choke. The 33-year old holds a professional record of 25-11-1 and is 3-2 in his current UFC run.
Japanese judoka Yoshihiro Akiyama made his UFC debut in the summer of 2009 at UFC 100 against Alan Belcher. He has fought twice since, dropping a unanimous decision to Michael Bisping and losing by third round submission to Chris Leben; he has earned Fight of the Night honors in all three of his Octagon performances. He currently trains with Greg Jackson in Albuquerque, New Mexico and owns a professional record of 13-3.
UFC 128 is expected to go down on March 19th at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey and will feature a light heavyweight title fight between Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Rashad Evans.