The UFC’s return trip to Japan has come and gone. For the first time ever the UFC put on a four-hour pay-per-view event featuring seven main card fights.
In the main event it was Ben Henderson who proved to be the better man and secured championship gold around his waist.
Your full main card recap and UFC 144 results are as follows:
Joe Lauzon vs. Anthony Pettis:
The two men selected to open up the pay-per-view wasted no time getting things started. After a brief feeling out period it was Anthony Pettis who threw a high kick that founds its mark and landed shin to Chin knocking Lauzon out cold and forcing the ref to jump in and stop it.
Final result: Anthony Pettis def. Joe Lauzon via KO (headkick) Round 1, 1:21
Hatsu Hioki vs. Bart Palaszewski:
After some strikes to start the fight, Hioki worked to his bread and butter and took the fight to the mat where he started dominating his opponent from side control. Using heavy hips and ground and pound he eventually took the back of a desperate Bart. From back mount he transitioned to armbar and it looked so deep but Bart powered out of it and returned his back to the mount where Hioki continued to deliver punishment. Dominant performance from Hioki in the first round.
Round two was all on the feel. Neither fighter really edged the other through the first four-minutes of the round. Surprisingly Hioki didn’t attempt to take the fight to the ground where he dominated in the first until the last 20 seconds of the frame. He not only made the attempt but succeeded in taking Bart down, but just briefly. Hard round to score, Hioki probably takes it with the takedown which was really the only significant action in this frame.
Third round opened up and it took Hioki all of 30 seconds to take the fight to the ground where he had so much success in the first round. Again, he is stayed heavy from side control and worked a very effective ground and pound assault. A desperate Palaszewski ended up giving his back to Hioki in an attempt to make something happen, but the Japanese fighter took advantage in the change of position, sunk both hooks in and really controlled Bart with dominant grappling. The round ends and the clear winner is Hioki.
Final Result: Hatsu Hioki def. Bart Palaszewski via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Tim Boetsch vs. Yushin Okami:
This fight opens and its clear Okami has the technical striking advantage. Using a solid lead jab Boetsch is already cut by the midway point of the first round. Tim made one takedown attempt in the round but Okami easily shrugged it off. By the time the bell rand Boetsch has cuts under both eyes and was obviously the more damaged fighter in a one-sided round dominated by the Japanese fighter with superior striking.
In the second round Okami continued to punish Boetsch with superior striking and then decided to clinch and trip Boetsch to the mat. Apparently Okami was not content with just dominating the stand up; he wanted to prove he could dominate this fight no matter the position. Okami took advantage of his dominant ground position and with 30 seconds left mounted his opponent and smashed him with punches until the bell rang.
In the third round, Boetsch came out like a bat out of hell and with relentless power punches knocked Okami out in the opening minute.
Final Result: Tim Boetsch def. Yushin Okami via TKO (punches) Round 3, 0:54
Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Jake Shields:
The first round of this fight is exactly as expected, Shields going for the takedowns and Akiyama wanting to keep it on the feet. After four-minutes little action to describe took place. After numerous takedown attempts by Shields it was Akiyama with a big Judo throw who was the first to get the fight to the mat with 30 seconds left. Hard round to judge as it was mostly just posturing for position.
Second round was much of the same. Akiyama really started to edge Shields in this round with harder and more frequent punches. Shields unable to take it to the ground but with a minute left Akiyama again throws Shields to the mat with his Judo base. The round ended with Shields attempting another takedown only to fall short. Another hard round to call, but you might give the advantage to Akiyama by this point, but no way can I commit to that, it’s really up to interpretation.
In round three Jake Shields comes out with blood dripping from his nose, but the third is much like the rest of the fight. By this point in the fight Jake has failed on twelve takedown attempts but regardless he is the aggressor in this fight. You could almost make the case for Shields as the victor just because he has dictated the pace. With fifty seconds left Jake finally succeeds with a takedown and quickly takes Akiyama’s back but fails to do anything with it. The bell sounds and I have no clue who wins this fight by this point.
Final Result: Jake Shields def. Yoshihiro Akiyama via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Cheick Kongo vs. Mark Hunt:
As expected these two heavyweights go for heavy strikes right off the bat. After a brief feeling out period it was Hunt who showed why he won the K-1 World Grand Prix and knocked out Kongo within two minutes of the first round.
Final Result: Mark Hunt def. Cheick Kongo via TKO Round 1, 2:11
CO MAIN EVENT: Ryan Bader vs. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson:
Rampage immediately takes the center of the cage and eggs Bader on to get it on with him. Oddly enough Rampage goes for the takedown first but it got stuffed and Bader forced him up against the cage where the action stalls out. Bader gave up position and Rampage again takes the center of the cage. Throughout the round Bader threw that big overhand right and Rampage pretty much kept his pace slow and methodical. Bader tried multiple takedown attempts to no avail and Rampage ended the round with a big flurry of punches. No real action of note in the first.
A minute into the first round Rampage Jackson delivered on his promise and he clinched Bader against the cage, picked him up and slammed him to the mat. Yes, it was “epically awesome.” Bader got up quickly the two exchanged punches but Rampage got overly aggressive and gave up a double leg takedown. After a brief stint on the ground Rampage worked his way back up to his feet, but Bader used a body lock to take him back down where the two ended the round.
The third round opened up with a feeling out process as expected but Bader quickly pushed Rampage up against the cage. Unable to take Rampage down Bader backs off and the two took back to the center of the cage. With three and a half minutes left Rampage powers through a double and drives Rampage down to the mat. Once on the ground Bader doesn’t do much and the crowd, if you can believe it, Boo for more action (In Japan that is rare). With a minute left Bader still stayed on top staying just active enough to not get the stand up. It’s not entertaining but it is effective. This fight ends on the ground, and it should be Bader with the win. It was a boring fight, but the wrestler did his job.
Final Result: Ryan Bader def. Quinton “Rampage” Jacksonvia unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
MAIN EVENT: Champ Frankie Edgar vs. Benson Henderson
This title fight opens up as to be expected, Edgar using speed and footwork constantly moving and Henderson trying to get a handle on the champs pace. Edgar successfully completed three takedown but Henderson was able to get right back up to his feet. Throughout the round it was Edgar engaging in the wrestling and Benson throwing big kicks. Due to takedowns you have to give the round to the champ, but it wasn’t really an impressive performance by either.
In the second round it was much of the same as the first. Ben Throwing lots of kicks, Edgar going for takedowns. The one notable item is that Edgars face is starting to show swelling from the cumulative damage delivered by Henderson. With a minute left Frankie takes Ben down and decided to take top position. Edgar postured up and Hendrson landed an upkick that dropped Edgar and immediately caused his nose to bleed like a stuck pig. It was another “epically amazing” moment. If there was more time in the round, the fight may have been over.
To enter the third Edgars face is damaged, Henderson looks completely fresh, no damage. Midway through this round Benson lands a takedown of his own, a brief stint of ground and pound and Edgar gets back to his feet. At this point Edgars eyes is almost swollen shit. Edgar ended the round with two consecutive takedowns of his own but it’s kind of hard to give him the round when he is so brutally beat up in the face. Who knows though…
As we enter the championship rounds, it’s important to stress the damaged face of Edgar and the untouched face of the challenger. No real action to open the round, the two trade strikers, Henderson sill dominating the kicking game and really dictating the pace. At the midway point Edgar shoots for a takedown but lands in a Henderson guillotine. It was really deep but Edgar did not tap. The two returned to their feet and its Henderson throwing kicks and doing his thing. 30 seconds left in the round and I give it to Henderson, he’s just delivering more damage and dictating the pace. I’d say at this point unless Edgar finishes the fight in the last round we have a new champ… Otherwise it’s a robbery. Just my opinion.
Ben starts the round yelling at the crowd to scream and get behind him, it’s almost surreal. Edgar successful on a few takedowns once again but it’s really hard to score them as Henderson just pops right back up. The two engage on the feet but Henderson is landing the more powerful shots. Frankie still bleeding profusely from his face. With 1:30 left Edgar lands a punch and Henderson falls to the mat, hard to tell if it was a slip or not, but Henderson looked completely unfazed. 30 seconds left and Henderson dances in the center of the cage, seems very confident but the two don’t engage. At the end of the last round, Edgar shoots for a takedown but Ben grans the neck again, ends up on top and drops elbows on the champs face until the bell sounds.
Final Result: Benson Henderson def. Frankie Edgar via unanimous decision (49-46,48-47,49-46)
MAIN CARD: (Pay-per-view)
Benson Henderson def. Frankie Edgar via unanimous decision (49-46,48-47,49-46)
Ryan Bader def. Quinton “Rampage” Jacksonvia unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Mark Hunt def. Cheick Kongo via TKO Round 1, 2:11
Jake Shields def. Yoshihiro Akiyama via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Tim Boetsch def. Yushin Okami via TKO (punches) Round 3, 0:54
Hatsu Hioki def. Bart Palaszewski via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Anthony Pettis def. Joe Lauzon via KO (headkick) Round 1, 1:21
PRELIMINARY CARD: (FX)
Takanori Gomi def. Eiji Mitsuok via (TKO ref stoppage) Round 2, 2:21
Vaughan Lee def. Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto via submission (armbar) Round 1, 4:29
Riki Fukuda def. Steve Cantwell via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27,30-27)
Chris Cariaso def. Takeya Mizugaki via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
PRELIMINARY CARD: (Facebook)
Issei Tamura def. Tiequan Zhang via KO Round 2, 0:32