Mark your calendars for a free, televised UFC event this Saturday night, October 16, at 8:00 p.m. EDT on Spike TV. The Ultimate Fighter season 3 light heavyweight winner Michael "The Count" Bisping squares off against Japan's Yoshihiro Akiyama in Bisping's hometown of London, England.
The 6’2” Bisping, who will trade strikes with Akiyama at The O2 arena in London, has a 20-3 record as a professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter. He won 47 percent of his fights standing up, although he's not afraid to bring his battle with Akiyama to the ground. “On the ground, I think I'm better than him,” says the 31-year-old Briton.
He acknowledges Akiyama’s fighting skills, adding that the Japanese MMA fighter brings excitement to every match he enters. “Akiyama is a fantastic fighter; he's very dangerous and a very fantastic striker,” says Bisping. “He's gonna come out and knock me out. I'm not really bothered by what he can't or can do. I'm focusing on what I do...and I bring more to the table."
Akiyama, on the other hand, says Bisping would have to practice what he'll bring to The Octagon come fight night. “He'd better come well prepared for all my strengths,” says the 35-year-old Japanese fighter.
The 5’10” Akiyama, 13-2 as an MMA pro, packs power in both hands. Besides having an outstanding stand-up offense, Akiyama is also a judo expert. He won 57 percent of his fight by takedowns. He says, "I'm a totally different animal inside The Octagon. I totally change my character and become a fighter."
The fight card consists of:
* Michael Bisping vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama
* Dan Hardy vs. Carlos Condit
* John Hathaway vs. Mike Pyle
* Cheick Kongo vs. Travis Browne
* James Wilks vs. Claude Patrick
* Cyrille Diabate vs. Alexander Gustafsson
* Vinicius Quieroz vs. Rob Broughton
* Stanislav Nedkov vs. Steve Cantwell
* Spencer Fisher vs. Kurt Warburton
* James McSweeney vs. Fabio Maldonado
* Paul Sass vs. Mark Holst
Also, open tryouts are under way for The Ultimate Fighter Season 13. If you or someone you know has three fights racked up at the welterweight or middleweight level, go to ultimatefighter.com to find out how to apply.