by Martin Smith
Yoshihiro Akiyama defeated Alan Belcher by split decision in a controversial opening to the PPV.
The Japanese fighter, who has not lost in four years, looked to be heading to defeat after an impressive performance from his American opponent.
However, it was not the case as two judges scored the fight 30-27 and 29-28 to Akiyama and 29-28 to Belcher.
Joe Rogan echoed the views of many in the audience – claiming Belcher had been “robbed” of victory.
It was an interesting opening to the fight with both fighters showing signs of quality during the first round. Akiyama’s speed was his asset, landing several kicks and a superman punch to the temple in several frantic minutes. Belcher also impressed, landing a number of solid jabs and dropping his opponent to the mat mid-way through the opening round.
The second round may not have been as fast paced, but it was still impressive. Akiyama controlled the ground, limiting Belcher’s offence and scoring well with the judges. However, it was a kick by Belcher that troubled the Japanese superstar and towards the end of the round, it was Akiyama who was beginning to wobble lightly.
The third round remained a close contest, but Akiyama did enough to score well with the judges and take the result.