Two weeks after he TKO'd Aaron Simpson, Chris Leben beat Yoshihiro Akiyama with a third-round triangle choke.
Akiyama controlled the first round with fantastic grappling. He kept Leben pinned to the ground with several submission attempts, including an armbar and a triangle choke. As the round came close to an end, Leben got away from Akiyama and tried to land some punches, but Akiyama used his judo skills to throw Leben right back to the ground.
In the second round, Leben and Akiyama exchanged blows, wobbling both fighters. The two stood and swung at each other while swaying back and forth like drunks. Akiyama then took Leben down. The two looked exhausted with more than half of the round to go. When they returned to their feet, Leben tried a guillotine, but he couldn't finish. They finished the round with a flurry of punches.
Between rounds, Akiyama was so tired that he fell off his stool as his corner talked to him. Leben never sat down.
Akiyama went straight back to his strength to start the third and final round, taking Leben down. Though Akiyama had top position, Leben continued to cause damage, throwing punches, elbows and kicks from the bottom. With less than a minute to go, Leben slapped on a triangle choke and Akiyama was forced to tap.
Leben took the fight with Akiyama after Wanderlei Silva had to pull out of the bout due to injury. At first, Akiyama balked at Leben as a replacement, but Akiyama can't question Leben's toughness at this point.
After the bout, Leben asked for a bout with Silva. Considering how Leben stepped up for the UFC, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him get it when Silva heals.