100% Reviewed
Top 10 Best Fighters (24 Total):
1. Benson Henderson - 94.4
2. Vaughan Lee - 94.2
3. Hatsu Hioki - 93.7
4. Issei Tamura - 93.2
5. Norifumi Yamamoto - 92.3
6. Mark Hunt - 91.8
7. Tim Boetsch - 91.3
8. Ryan Bader - 91.3
9. Frankie Edgar - 90.6
10. Yushin Okami - 90.4
UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson
Location: Saitama, Japan
Elevation: 52'
-Fight of the Night-
Benson Henderson vs. Frankie Edgar
Fighters & Matches 90.9
Top 10 Fighters 92.3
TOTAL 91.6
     This fight was the first undercard fight of the night, and I'm glad they added it to the end of the PPV, even though I would have rather seen the Kid Yamamoto or Takanori Gomi fights. Issei Tamura started this fight with some CRAZY hard & fast punches, just brawling the shit out of Zhang's face. Zhang then tried to utilize his submission skills on the ground, and was relatively successful, but the fight went to round two. Round two basically started with Tamura knocking Zhang out with one huge punch. CRAZY knockout. So yeah, great fight, and I'm glad they showed it. I have no idea how meaningful this fight was though. I think I've heard Tamura's name before, I'm not familiar with Zhang at all though.
      Well that was 15 minutes of my life that I'll never get back. No wonder why they didn't put this on the main PPV card. Two guys that I couldn't really care any less about, both gave average quality performances. I thought Cariaso was the better striker & more active on the ground with submission attempts, and Mizugaki had ok striking, and took Cariaso down a couple of times, and held him down decently. Boring fight in my opinion, and I gave it to Cariaso, and the three judges agreed.
      I've never been able to muster up any sort of "give a shit" about a Steve Cantwell fight. This fight pretty much falls into the same category as the rest of his fights. Riki Fukuda basically beat him up on the feet, and took him down a few times. Cantwell looked like he had some solid submission skills, but other than those, he was basically an ice cube while standing. Riki Fukuda won all 3 rounds, and the judges gave him the fight via unanimous decision.
      I was really looking forward to this fight, and I was shocked that they didn't show it on the PPV, but then again, I realize these fights happen on "regular TV" anyway most of the time, but for anybody that specifically schedules their day around watching the PPV, I'd like to think I'd be able to watch all the great fights on the PPV, know what I mean? Anyway... Kid Yamamoto is a beast, and I've been excited about him coming to the UFC for a LONG TIME, so I'm glad he's finally here and making some decent fights happen. On the downside, Vaughan Lee was the better fighter tonight. Kid blasted away at Lee and gave him all he had, throwing HUGE bombs, HUGE combos, going crazy, etc... Solid showing by Kid, but Vaughan had excellent defense (covered up very effectively) and ended up countering, knocking Yamamoto a bit loopy. Once the fight hit the floor, Vaughan Lee went for a triangle, it started to slip, so he locked on an armbar, and became the first guy to ever submit Kid Yamamoto. I feel terrible for Kid, especially since this happened during his big return to Japan!
      Takanori Gomi almost got taken out in the first round. Mitsuoka basically knocked him out in the first round, but the sleeping Gomi was able to recover a little bit and take the fight to the ground, at which point, Mitsuoka climbed on Gomi's back, and locked on a "rear-naked triangle" or something? It was pretty crazy, and Gomi was literally about to tap, but was saved by the bell. He came out like a ball of fire in the second round though, and with his awkward stance, he took apart Mitsuoka, causing him to crumple in the corner, where Gomi was able to beat him until the referee stopped the fight. Decent showing by Gomi, but I don't see him fighting for the belt anytime in the near future.
(Head Kick & Punches)
      This was a quick fight to start the show with. Joe Lauzon came out looking like the better fighter, with a more active striking campaign, and quite a bit more aggression. Early on though, Pettis hit him with a left high kick to the jaw, knocked Lauzon out. Anthony Pettis then claimed that he's ready for the title. I don't know if I'm on board with that claim, but then again, I haven't seen many of his fights, so I have to be honest, and say I'm leaving that one up to Joe Silva. Surely there are higher ranked lightweights than Anthony Pettis though, aren't there? What did I miss?
      This fight was an amazing fight, especially since it took place in Japan. Hatsu Hioki is one of the best grapplers I've seen in a while, and he completely dominated Palaszewski on the ground during rounds 1 & 3. Bart was able to keep the fight standing during the second round, so he probably won that round, but Hatsu Hioki was the clear winner due to his outstanding grappling, 29-28 unanimous decision over Palaszewski.
      This fight (according to Joe Rogan), was the greatest comeback of all time! It really was a terrific fight though. The first round consisted of Yushin Okami outstriking Boetsch while standing, causing blood to flow from both of Boetsch's cheeks. The second round consisted of Okami tripping Boetsch, mounting him, and beating the shit out of him. Round three consisted of Boetsch quickly knocking Okami the fuck out, with a series of dirty boxing style uppercuts, and some HUGE HEAVY punches from all directions. Tim Boetsch is a beast, and he beat probably the best Yushin Okami that I've ever seen. Great fight!
      Dangit! I don't like Jake Shields, so I was really pulling for Akiyama during this fight. I honestly thought he did a solid job, defending against 99.9% of Jake Shield's takedown attempts, and he even threw him onto the ground with 3-4 excellent Judo throws. Shields though, kept peppering him with light punches, and was clearly the more active fighter, and then once the third round came, Shields finally took him down, and got on his back, and nearly choked him out. So Jake Shields deserved the unanimous decision victory, but I'm sad that Akiyama wasn't more active.
      Yes! I was hoping this would happen, and it did! Mark Hunt returns to Japan, and just like the good ol' days, he knocked out his opponent! The first round started up, Cheick Kongo looked like the scary Godzilla like creature that he is, and Hunt punched him in the face hard, repeatedly, knocking him down twice, and the second time it was all over. Good clean fast fight!
      Damn, that sucks. Rampage made his big return to Japan, and I was pulling for him SO STRONGLY to hopefully win this fight, but as usual, he came up short. That sucks, I seriously wanted him to win. Rampage picked up Bader at one point, and slammed him on his head (and it looked like he broke Bader's arm), but apparently the slam had more bark than bite? Bader ended up winning all 3 rounds, by controlling the fight, he took Rampage down a lot more often, and he controlled the fight. Good show by Bader, but DAMN that sucks that Rampage didn't have a better showing in Japan.
      This was a pretty amazing title fight. Bendo kept throwing kicks to Edgar's body, but Edgar caught 90% of them, and from those kicks, spawned some crazy flying spin kicks, great takedowns, excellent striking from both guys, knees, kicks, punches, elbows, etc... In the end, Henderson pretty much controlled the entire fight, and destroyed Edgar's face, and the judges saw it the same way I did, giving the fight to Henderson via unanimous decision. Amazing way to earn his first UFC Championship Belt. Frankie Edgar is a maniac though, most guys wouldn't have been able to stay in a fight like this for 25 minutes.