Longtime fan favorite Yoshihiro Akiyama was stopped on Sunday during his combat sports comeback.
In his return to the ring, the Japanese competitor was easily defeated in the first round of their catchweight match at ONE 165 in Tokyo. The intense 187.25-pound bout saw Akiyama lose to former Glory Kickboxing champion Nieky Holzken.
Akiyama and Holzken engaged in a three-round mixed-rules bout, transitioning between boxing, muay Thai, and MMA disciplines. The official stoppage occurred just 1 minute and 40 seconds into Round 1, marking a decisive victory for Holzken.
Now 48, Akiyama has ventured into combat sports sporadically in the latter part of his combat sports career. Before facing defeat at ONE 165, Akiyama secured a victory against fellow Japanese legend Shinya Aoki in an MMA bout in March 2022.
While already a well-known figure in Asia, Akiyama gained fame in the United States during the early 2010s as he competed under the UFC banner. His captivating performances against renowned combatants like Michael Bisping and Vitor Belfort left a lasting impression on the American audience.
Yoshihiro Akiyama’s journey continues, showcasing resilience in the face of challenges. Despite the setback at ONE 165, his storied career and international acclaim solidify his status as a legendary figure in the world of combat sports.
Akiyama didn’t have any qualms about the loss, he thanked supporters online:
“Thank you so much for your support, it meant a lot.
Sorry, but this is the result.
My memory is a little choppy, I’m fine though.
There are various things
Although I lost the match, I think I was able to overcome myself.
Through many failures and experiences, I will continue searching for my own path to success.
The old man’s challenges continue.
I am an MMA fighter after all.”
VEIO SEM ENTENDER NADA! 😯
— Combate (@combate) January 28, 2024