Sadollah, The Ultimate Fighter 7 winner has only ever fought in the UFC, but has been sidelined for the past two years dealing with injuries and lost to Dan Hardy in his last fight.
Akiyama was in ever more dire straights, having lost his last four bouts and having been out of action on a self-imposed hiatus for more than two-and-a-half years.
While Sadollah has spent a lot of time sharpening his Muay Thai game, Akiyama negated that early in the first round, catching a kick and planting Sadollah on his back in the opening minute. That is where Sadollah stayed for the majority of the round, Akiyama working ground and pound from half guard.
Sadollah started strong in round two, implementing what he was trying to do in round one, which was to try and take Akiyama’s head off with high kicks, and then go low with thunderous kicks to damage Akiyama’s lead leg.
Midway through the second frame, however, Akiyama found a home for a straight right that staggered Sadollah, possibly breaking his nose. Sadollah appeared to recover quickly, but Akiyama staggered him again with a solid jab and then drove him to the mat, where he rained down punches for the remainder of the second frame, although Sadollah did land an occasional up-kick to keep Akiyama alert.
The final frame saw Sadollah again try to implement his kicks, but buy now, they were coming slower and landing less frequently, while Akiyama’s punch combination were growing more and more accurate as the seconds ticked off the clock.
Akiyama landed a solid spinning back kick midway through the round and then caught one of Sadollah’s kicks and again drove him to the mat. Akiyama maintained top position, dropping down punch after punch on Sadollah’s crimson face until the round came to an end, putting a stamp on a unanimous decision from the judges.
After the fight, asked whom he would like to face next, Akiyama answered Wanderlei Silva.
“Once I told UFC people I would like to fight Wanderlei Silva,” he said. “I know the weight is different, but if it is possible, I would like to fight him.”
That fight isn’t currently possible, however, as Silva on Friday announced his retirement, and all but sealed the door shut on ever returning to the UFC by ripping the promotion in a video tirade.
Akiyama, focused on his fight with Sadollah, of course, can easily be forgiven for being unaware of Silva’s revelation, which occurred less than 12 hours prior to his fight. His dominant performance over Sadollah, however, rekindles the 39-year-old fighter’s career.