Another pivotal featherweight match-up has been added to the upcoming DREAM card.
While Uno has had a long and storied career, he has fallen on hard times now and is in desperate need of a win, though “Wicky” will be quick to thwart those plans.
The bout takes place on May 29th at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan at DREAM 17–the event will coincide with several charities in order to help with the relief efforts for Japan following the recent tragedies that have plagued the land.
Both natives of Japan, this bout, along with the upcoming bantamweight grand-prix which kicks off the same night, will be looked at very closely as essentially both men will be fighting for the honor of their country, despite both hailing from “the land of the rising sun”. I’m sure the promoter’s can only ask that both men put in a good performance, and that’s almost a guarantee should both these men enter the cage, or ring in this case.
Uno, a two-time challenger to the UFC lightweight title and former Shooto welterweight champion, recently dropped down to the featherweight class after spending his entire career at 155-pounds. Winless in his last four outings, Uno was hoping to reinvent himself at 145-pounds when he stepped into the cage against Kazuyuki Miyata at DREAM’s year-end show, “Dynamite!! 2010″. The December tussle ended with Miyata out muscling and out grappling Uno en route to a unanimous decision, leaving Caol 0-4-1 in his last five bouts. Needless to say, the dude needs a win.
In his way will be Akiyo Nishiura, aka “Wicky”, who is as vibrant, athletic, and dynamic as they come. A talented striker, Akiyo is known for his very unorthodox style of striking, which for him works. With his hands at his waist and with very sporadic movement, Akiyo often leaves his opponents scratching their heads, but that’s just before he plants them to the mat with either the left or the right, which in his case both hold considerable power. In his last mixed martial arts bout, “Wicky” went to a contentious split-decision against former top-10 lightweight Mitsuhiro Ishida. Akiyo controlled the bout on the feet, though Ishida was able to takedown “Wicky” on occasion, though proved ineffective at keeping him on the ground. In the end, the PRIDE vet in Mitsuhiro took a heated split-decision win.
In his last outing, Ishida competed under K-1 rules against Tetsuya Yamamoto at DREAM’s “Dynamite!! 2010″ show last December. Even under kickboxing rules, Akiyo’s striking shined, as he was able to land several telling blows to the head and body of Tetsuya, the K-1 Max 63kg. 2010 Tournament Champion. In the end, both men left the ring “winners”, as they put on an entertaining performance that inevitably resulted in a draw.
Back in MMA action, should “Wicky” pick up a win over a legend such as Uno, who has almost 15-years experience as a professional mixed martial artist, he will vaunt himself to top contender status in the DREAM promotion and in turn earn the biggest victory of his career.
For Uno, a win over Akiyo will prove he is still relevant, and though he has talked about retirement in the past, a victory may put all the talk to rest.
So, MMA peeps, what do you think of the match-up? Who do you think will come out with their hand raised? Sound off in the comment section below.