It will take much more than one defeat to end the incredible career of Japanese-South Korean MMA icon Yoshihiro ‘Sexyama’ Akiyama.

Things didn’t go his way this past weekend when he returned in front of his home fans for ONE Championship’s long awaited return to Tokyo, Japan, for ONE 165.

In a first of its kind matchup, he faced off with Dutch kickboxing legend Nieky Holzken in a special rules super fight that certainly didn’t go to plan for Akiyama.

The first round taking place under the boxing ruleset put him at a clear disadvantage, and the 48-year old veteran was unable to weather an early storm in order to make it into the later rounds, which consisted of Muay Thai and MMA respectively.

This defeat hasn’t taken away any of his motivation and love of competition, as he intends to return once again to continue putting on a show for all of his fans.

‘Sexyama’ told Sportskeeda MMA after the fight that he will return to his natural rule and skillset of MMA in the near future so that he can get back to doing what he loves:

“MMA is my field, so the next time, maybe, I would like to compete in MMA for all the people and all the fans who are waiting for me. I don’t know what is going to happen [in regards to my future] but I will decide for the next what I’m going to do.”

Watch the full interview below:


Competing in MMA will be a far better fit for ‘Sexyama’

For ‘Sexyama’, getting the opportunity to compete in a first-of-its-kind matchup against a fellow legend will have surely been a draw for him.

Both Akiyama and Holzken were sure to put on a show for the Japanese fans inside the Ariake Arena but the home favorite was simply outmatched whilst the fight played out as a striking contest.

Had he made it to the third round, the entire script would have likely flipped on it’s head once takedowns and grappling became an option for the 48-year-old.

If there’s one positive he can take out of this fight, it’s that he got to experience returning to Japan in a big marquee matchup that taught him a few things.

The most important being that if he wants to continue competing at this stage, he needs to stick to what he does best inside the circle.

ONE Championship fans that missed out on any of the action from ONE 165 can watch the entire event back via the on-demand replay available at ONE’s official website.




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