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UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson


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The UFC returns to Japan and fireworks are expected, much like in it's return to Brazil. If it's as good as it is on paper, it's going to be amazing.

UFC_144_poster_large.jpg

Here's the card, USA vs Japan much like UFC Brazil was Brazil vs USA.

Preliminary card (Facebook)

Zhang Tiequan vs. Issei Tamura - Why are there still fights airing on Facebook, I don't know. Especially since it's a fight with the lone chinese fighter in the UFC, Zhang Tiequan. It gets weirder when you take into account that he was supposed to fight Leonard Garcia. That's a fight that needs to be televised because Garcia bring excitement to the fights (despite fighting like a dumbass). With Garcia out and a local talent filing in, this fight's relevancy dropped like a rock and remains the lone fight available on Facebook. Tiequan is the more experienced fighter, he should take this without too much trouble. Hopefully he finishes it quickly enough (and with flair) so that he can be sandwiched in between the FX bouts.

Preliminary card (FX)

Takeya Mizugaki vs. Chris Cariaso - Both these guys cannot get a streak going. Mizugaki came into the WEC with a good reputation but turned out to be a bit of a dud, losing every other fight and keeping that habit in his UFC career. Cariaso isn't quite a gimme fight to make him look good in front of his hometown crowd but it's acessible enough for him to finally get a streak going. He can't claim lack of motivation in the first UFC event in Japan in ages.

Riki Fukuda vs. Steve Cantwell - Fukuda was robbed blind in his UFC debut against Nick Ring. The UFC intends to make it up to him by giving him Steve Cantwell, a guy who dropped to MW to revitalize his career and lost his debut. I belive the only reason he wasn't cut after 4 losses in a row was so that he could provide a body for a fight. Fukuda has good credentials and displayed skill against Ring. If he doesn't win this, it's just another name on the long list of Japanese guys who fizzled out. I hope not.

Norifumi Yamamoto vs. Vaughan Lee - Christ, this card is filled with duds who get gimme fights because hey, it's in Japan and they need local boys. Yamamoto had quite the reputation coming in from Japan as a top competitor in the lower weight classes. He then proceeded to get styled on by Mighty Mouse (understantable) and Darren Uyenoyama (LULWAT?). He gets to fight Lee, who has a great chance to maintain his employment with the UFC by cracking his skull open.

Takanori Gomi vs. Eiji Mitsuoka - Oh, look. Another dud. Like Yamamoto, Gomi in on a fight losing streak. Both submissions. He just doesn't have it in him anymore. Still, it's UFC Japan and he still holds some name recognition there. Here's a journeyman fighter for you to beat on and look good.

Main card

Anthony Pettis vs. Joe Lauzon - This is a fight with LW title implications. Pettis had his title hopes derailed by Guida (who Henderson then beat for the title shot) and is now trying to climb back up into contention. He got a win against Jeremy Stephens but it wasn't convincing by any means, being tentative with his striking and being content with tying up the fight for the decision. Lauzon is one of those reliable guys in the division, he's a good fighter but never got his streak going when the contendership path was available. But now things have change: with his derrailment of the Melvin Guillard hype train and most of the other guys getting raped by Henderson, a path has opened up for a possible contendership position. All he has to do to thrust himself there (and get a shot after the winner of Diaz vs Miller by fighting perhaps Guida ou Gray) is to beat former WEC champion Pettis. This should be a very exciting fight.

Hatsu Hioki vs. Bart Palaszewski - Dud alert. Hioki looked like crap against Roop, being content with laying on his chest the interity of the 2nd round. He did "win" but it wasn't convincing by any means. He gets a tough test in Bart Palaszewski. Should he win, he either gets the next shot at the title (and gets raped by Aldo) or he fights either Koch/Hominick. I'm thinking the winner of Poirier - Korean Zombie gets the next title shot but Hioki could pass them with a good win here in Japan. Somehow, I don't think it's very likely. Bart is very tough and very strong everywhere. I think he may very well KTFO.

Yushin Okami vs. Tim Boetsch - After getting clowned by Silva, Okami returns to the octagon to face Boetsch, who has made quite the impression since his drop from LHW. Both are capable wrestlers but Okami has a tendency to be a bit of a "passive" striker. This is either going to be a brawl or a fence hugging 3 round decision.

Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Jake Shields - Akiyama drops to WW to tangle with Shields. If Shields takes it to the ground, Akiyama loses by Sub, R1. If if he decides to repeat his goddawful performance against GSP and strike with Akiyama, boring 3 round decision. Akiyama badly needs a win since it's uncertain when the UFC will return to Japan.

Mark Hunt vs. Cheick Kongo - PRIDE NEVER DIE! Sloppy HW brawl for sure.

Quinton Jackson vs. Ryan Bader - PRIDE NEVER DIE! But Bader needs a win here in order to improve his standing in the LHW division. Rampage provides the perfect stepping stone in his fight back to relevancy after losing to Tito Ortiz of all people. If he doesn't beat Rampage, he's a dumbass. Rampage hasn't changed his game since ever and probably didn't even train hard for this fight. Just keep yourself out of range from his hooks, kick his legs (unlike him) and wrestle him down if things start getting heated. He couldn't finish a gassed Mark Hamill so you should be fine.

Frankie Edgar vs. Ben Henderson - Edgar has proven himself a worthy champion, overcoming incredible beatings on his way to a win. But let's not forget the dumb 2nd round that Gray fought in their last fight, giving Edgar time to recover from a clear 10-8 round that almost got him TKO'ed. Edgar also doesn't cut weight at all which gives him a size disadvantage but plays into his speed based style that is pretty similar to Dominick Cruz. Henderson is a beast. He's a HUGE LW with speed, power and incrible skills on his feet and on the ground. If you watched his fight with Guida and saw what he did to him, you know he's the real deal. Can Frankie Edgar retain his title on heart alone? No, no he can't. He'll have to be on top of his game and hope that Henderson makes a mistake because if he allows Henderson to get a 1st round like Maynard, he's toast. FOTN potential for sure.

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Cheick Kongo (229) vs. Mark Hunt (264).

Christ, did Hunt have to actually cut weight to make it under the 265lb limit? He still looked like a tub of lard.

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Rampage continues to prove that he just doesn't have it anymore by missing weight by 6lb. Dumbass.

Huh? He claims injury prevented him from cutting and this is the first time he ever missed weight. Not sure if I'd question his heart about this. He asked for this fight in Japan.....

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Huh? He claims injury prevented him from cutting and this is the first time he ever missed weight. Not sure if I'd question his heart about this. He asked for this fight in Japan.....

I don't question his heart. He would probably fight with a torn ACL just to fight in Japan. The dumbass was more in frustration because if he loses to Bader, Bader won't get a much needed boost out of it because Rampage was "injured". His body is the issue. He doesn't maintain a steady training regimen. When he's not in a fight camp, he just baloons up and has to melt it all before the fight. Not the kind of thing that you would want to maintain while fighting top tier opposition. He hasn't missed weight before but he endured some pretty brutal weight cuts for that and that takes it's toll. I just don't want him to end up like Forrest Griffin.

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WOW. That was an amazing PPV. Amazing, amazing fights. Still haven't watched the prelims but the main card was incredible.

Main card

Anthony Pettis vs. Joe Lauzon - Pettis got his groove back after that his last lackluster win and thrusted himself into a rematch against Henderson with this win. He starched Lauzon with a crisp kick when he dropped his hands to defend low. The finish punches were just for show, Lauzon was out. Lauzon is still a great LW. He just isn't meant for title aspirations. He will collect himself and return to his righful place inside the octagon as a tough test to face for up-and-coming fighters.

Hatsu Hioki vs. Bart Palaszewski - Wow, where was this Hioki against Roop? Was he THAT jetlagged? Hioki beat Palaszewski handsomely on the feet and on the ground, using elbows, throwing kicks and attempting submissions. He was pretty close to finishing but Palaszewski toughed it out multiple times (that submission flurry in the 1st round was amazing). Now the question his, did this fight boost Hioki's credit enough that he gets the title shot or does he gets the next spot after Poirier vs Jung like I said before? Koch is also without a dance partner and could very well fight him in the meanwhile. Palaszewski, like Lauzon, remains a tough test for other FW fighters.

Yushin Okami vs. Tim Boetsch - WOW! Just... WOW! Okami dominated the first 2 rounds on the feet and on the ground. He was beating Boetsch to the punch and when things went to the ground he dominated with GnP and submissions. Still he didn't press that hard for the finish when he had it in it's grasp, seemingly content to get a 30-27. Boy did that backfire. Boetsch knew he was down 2 rounds in the scorecards so he went for broke with a sense of urgency that many fighters seem to lack nowadays. Those uppercuts were vicious, his only intent was to KO Okami, nothing else. It was an incredible comeback and I hope Dana gave him a great big bonus for that. Okami's lack of killer instinct, like we saw in the Nate Marquardt fight, cost him his standing in the MW division to a guy who just recently dropped to that weightclass. Boetsch has rattled off 3 straight wins at MW, this one against a legit Top 10 opponent. Who will he fight next? Mu?oz? Rising prospect Chris Weidman?

Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Jake Shields - And this is were the night took a turn for the worse. If you listened only to the commentary, you would think Akiyama was raping Shields. He wasn't. Not by a longshot. Pretty obvious when Mike Goldberg commented on the actual striking stats for the fight. Rogan talked like he was in love with Akiyama and they were getting married after the fight. I loved the moment when he said that Akiyama at beaten powerfull strikers like... Alan Belcher and... silence. Let's avoid saying he got KO'ed into Oblivion by Belfort. His performance in this fight was ridiculous, he sucked. Really bad. When you're outstruck by a guy like Jake Shields, you've got no business being in the Octagon. Outside of those flashy Judo throws, Akiyama did absolutely nothing. Shields was outlanding him on the feet by a mile and dominated when things came to the ground. Akiyama seemed content to just defend takedowns, get himself up and not much else. Threw a punc here and there but never followed them up, much like he didn't follow up his flashy throws with anything. The coup de grace was when Rogan said at the end of the fight, when Shields got the takedown, "He might have gotten it here". Geee, ya think? 30-27 across the board without any shadow of a doubt. Akiyama seems like he fully lost any fighter IQ that he "had". Were his previous fights all fixed? Shields can go get himself beaten down by Diego Sanchez or something.

Mark Hunt vs. Cheick Kongo - Mark Hunt looked like a tub of lard. Unlucky for Kongo, that tub of lard can punch. Christ. He isn't going to fight for the belt but unless you've got wrestling, Mark Hunt is going to KO you standing. Lavar Johnson has a date with Pat Barry. If he wins (probably will), schedule him vs Hunt please!

Quinton Jackson vs. Ryan Bader - Ryan Bader went out and did what he had to do. Stayed out of Rampage's range, kicked his legs and got the fight down when needed. Much like what I said. Rampage hasn't improved his game at all. I don't think he landed a single significant strike that he could follow up. Most of the fight was him swining wildly on air. Granted, that slam was awesome but a single ocurrence doesn't win a fight. He only knows how to fight this way and it clearly isn't enough against the new breed of LHW. He should retire before he becomes a punchline or a stepping ladder. Bader climbs another step in the ladder for contendership in the LHW division.

Frankie Edgar vs. Ben Henderson - This fight right here is why Renan Bar?o will beat Dominick Cruz. Edgar went out with tons of heart and his stick and move style. Henderson came out with his power and balance and went to town. Edgar ate kick after kick, even when grabbing the leg he ate a ton of punches and more kicks for his trouble. He simply wasn't strong enough to outgrapple Henderson (who wasn't ever in any sort of trouble) and lacked power in his punches to treathen Henderson's stout chin. Henderson did a ton of damage to him and despite not getting a finish (Edgar is pretty tough) he clearly won that fight by any way you look at it. Just the comparison between them at the end, Henderson without a scratch and Edgar battered and bruised. Next in line, winner of Diaz vs Miller. I hope it doesn't end up being a Henderson vs Miller II.

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What no posting for the FX card this Friday? Battle of the small men, should be dope.

I'm on it! Got a bit distracted with Tate vs Rousey and thought that card was next week.

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