This fight, in my opinion, was disgusting. I’m a big fan of Sakuraba, but even an unbiased party could see there were many things fucked up about this fight. Firstly, I thougth Akiyama looked greased up. Granted, Saku’s double and single legged takedown attempts were weak, I’ve never seen anyone slip out of them like Akiyama did. On top of that, Saku made eye contact with the ref and signaled timeout, but was instead slammed in the face by Akiyama. But the suspected greasing was not the only problem I had the fight. The ref was nonexistent during the fight. In fact, he didn’t even call the fight in the end, the judges had to ring the bell because the beating Saku was receiving was ridiculous. The fight should easily have been called 20 seconds earlier. But, when it was called, Saku was clearly on the brink of an armbar.
Back to the greasing, Saku even complained about it after the fight. Saku is a very good sportsman and never complains about a loss like that. He was so mad that he just left the ring and declined a post-fight interview. If he is pissed enough to claim Akiyama greased and then walk out of the arena, I think something was up. What makes it worse is that when the ref checked Akiyama for grease, he only touched his left shoulder and arm, he didn’t even bother with the legs. Not to mention the fact that Akiyama has been accused and found guilty several times before of greasing his gi. I thought it was also very strange that Akiyama wore his gi into the ring and then took it off after they had touched gloves and the fight was about to begin. You can even hear the crowd murmur in surprise when he did it. And although I find all these things wrong with the fight, I recognize that Sakuraba would probably still have lost. Akiyama was controlling the standing game pretty well so a knockout might have been close anyway. Here’s the link to the fight so you can all see what I’m talking about and judge for yourselves.