“UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson” took place Sunday inside Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
A lightweight title affair between champion Frankie Edgar and Benson Henderson headlined the show. A light heavyweight shootout with Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Ryan Bader served as the co-main event.
Here are the official results and play-by-play from tonight’s action:
(Facebook 7:30PM ET/4:30PM PT)
Issei Tamura Defeated Tiequan Zhang via KO (Punch) at :32 in the 2ndRound
1stRound: Tamura hits him with a big one-two combo to start. Zhang quickly counters with a left hook that briefly drops the Japanese fighter. Tamura answers right back and unloads on Zhang and puts him on the canvas. Tamura lands in his guard and is working solid ground-and-pound. Referee Herb Dean stands them up, despite the fact Tamura was efficient with his attack. Zhang attempts a guillotine choke and drops to the floor. Tamura wiggles free. Tamura, 10-9.
2ndRound: Tamura clocks him with a right hand and Zhang is unconscious on the mat.
(FX 8PM ET/5PM PT)
Chris Cariaso Defeated Takeya Mizugaki via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
1stRound: A sparring session to start the scrap, nothing much landing for either fighter. Mizugaki has a body lock and slams him to the ground. Cariaso attempts an omoplata to no avail. Mizugaki tags him with a big right, but his opponent answers with some short elbows off his back. Mizugaki, 10-9.
2ndRound: Not much action in the opening two minutes. Cariaso has him clinched against the fence, but Mizugaki takes him down rather easily. He clocks Cariaso with a right. Cariaso manages to scramble free. Mizugaki, 10-9.
3rdRound: This round is similar to the beginning of the last, with less action. Cariaso slips as he just misses with a head kick and Mizugaki ends up in top position. Mizugaki might ride out the top position for the final minute for a unanimous decision win. Cariaso tags him with a right hand as they get to their feet. Mizugaki, 10-9 and takes the fight, 30-27.
Looks like I was way off. UFC president Dana White just tweeted, “Is it me or did Mizugaki just get screwed by the judges!?”
Riki Fukuda Defeated Steve Cantwell via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
1stRound: Cantwell attempts a head kick and immediately gets planted on his back for his troubles. Fukuda unloading elbows and hammer-fists, among other powerful shots. Cantwell gets to his feet and tags him with a knee to the body as they separate. Cantwell rallied late by landed some good strikes to end the frame. Fukuda, 10-9.
2ndRound: Fukuda continues to punish him with leg kicks. He is much quicker to the punch and shoots on Cantwell. Fukuda gets caught in a guillotine choke on the way down. It was deep, but the Japanese fighter gets loose. Cantwell scores on a left, Fukuda answers with a left of his own. Fukuda comes with a flurry that excites the hometown crowd. Cantwell takes one to the groin and time is called. Game on. Cantwell gets a takedown just before the final horn. Fukuda, 10-9.
3rdRound: Fukuda tagging up his legs again. Now he’s marking up his face. He gets a hold of a double-leg and takes Cantwell down. Cantwell was attempting submissions, but Fukuda takes his back. Cantwell scrambles to his feet. The American is just eating countless punches. Fukuda, 10-9 and sweeps the cards 30-27.
Vaughan Lee Defeated Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto via Submission (Armbar) at 4:29 in the 1stRound
1stRound: Lee slinging leather early, while Yamamoto scores with a body kick. Yamamoto stuns him with a big right and pounces. He’s unloading several shots to the face, but Lee is doing a good job of covering up. Yamamoto didn’t try to hit his body for some reason. Lee has recovered and connects on a vicious knee to the midsection. Lee staggers him with a right and goes in for the kill. He tries a triangle and transitions to an armbar. Yamamoto is forced to cry uncle. Thrilling tango.
Takanori Gomi Defeated Eiji Mitsuoka via TKO (Punches) at 2:21 in the 2ndRound
1stRound: Mitsuoka is connecting with his hands, but Gomi nailed him with three straight knees to the body. Mitsuoka clocks him with a right and follows up with an uppercut. He drops Gomi with a vicious right hook. Mitsuoka takes his back and attempts a mounted triangle choke with 15 seconds remaining. Gomi just barely survives, it appeared he was about to tap. Mitsuoka, 10-9.
2ndRound: Both lightweights are swinging for the fences early. Gomi appears to have recovered and is on the attack. He’s pouring it on. Gomi takes his back and is unloading some good ground-and-pound. It’s a wrap. Great rally by “The Fireball Kid.”
(Pay-Per-View 10PM ET/7PM PT)
Anthony Pettis Defeated Joe Lauzon via KO (Head Kick) at 1:21 in the 1stRound
1stRound: They exchange strikes early. Pettis switches to a southpaw stance. He unleashes a violent head kick that floors Lauzon. “Showtime” brings the pain on the ground, but Lauzon was pretty much out on his way down. Game over.
Hatsu Hioki Defeated Bart Palaszewski via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
1stRound: Palaszewski eats a shot early and falls briefly to the mat. Hioki goes for a single-leg takedown, but Palaszewski attempts a guillotine choke and drops to the ground. Hioki wiggles free and advances to side control. Solid ground-and-pound by the Japanese fighter. He takes his back and tries an armbar. Hioki looks 100 times better than in his big league debut. Hioki, 10-8.
2ndRound: Palaszewski scores on a one-two combination. Hioki lands a head kick and left jab. Palaszewski takes a kick to the nuts and time is momentarily called. Hioki now eats a kick to the groin and time is called. Game on. Palaszewski tags him with a leg kick. Hioki almost gets a takedown but the bell sounds. Close round to score. Palaszewski, 10-9.
3rdRound: Hioki immediately secures a takedown and advances to side control. After some GnP, he takes his back with two minutes remaining in the scrap. He tried to finish the fight with several submissions but just couldn’t. Hioki, 10-9 and wins the contest, 29-27.
Tim Boetsch Defeated Yushin Okami via TKO (Punches) at :54 in the 3rdRound
1stRound: They trade combos. Okami lands a straight right hand. And another powerful jab. Boetsch is bleeding underneath his left eye. Okami scores on a one-two combination and follows up with a head kick. Okami, 10-9.
2ndRound: Okami nails him with a knee to the midsection. Boetsch is getting outclassed and it’s not even close. Okami goes for a single-leg takedown, but Boetsch attempts for a guillotine choke and drops to the mat. Okami is not in danger, though. He’s free and is tries a kimura. “Thunder” moves to full mount and is giving him the business. Okami, 10-9.
3rdRound: Boetsch comes out like a house on fire. Boetsch is clocking Okami with rights and lefts and has the former middleweight top contender rocked. He drops him after landing several right uppercuts to the dome and the scrap is called. WHAT. A. COMEBACK.
Jake Shields Defeated Yoshihiro Akiyama via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
1stRound: Shields dives for a single-leg, but is fended off. Shields tags him with a body kick. Akiyama counters with an uppercut. It’s clear what Shields’ gameplan is. He takes Akiyama’s back, but he still can’t secure a takedown. Akiyama trips Shields to the canvas. That was impressive. Akiyama, 10-9.
2ndRound: Akiyama stuffs another takedown attempt and follows up with a straight left. He connects on a spinning-back fist, though it wasn’t a devastating shot. Shields’ shot gets thwarted again. Akiyama lands a big leg kick. Shields remains very active with his striking, but it’s clear Akiyama is not worried about getting knocked out. “Sexyama” tosses him with a judo throw. Akiyama, 10-9.
3rdRound: Shields has landed more strikes throughout the fight and continues to at the beginning of the final stanza. Basically, Plan A isn’t working, though Plan B might get it done because Akiyama isn’t doing too much offensively. Shields scores on three straight kicks and gets a very brief takedown. Shields is doing his best to make this a controversial decision. Shields finally gets him down and takes his back. Akiyama fights his way up and grabs the fence on two separate occasions to avoid getting dragged down again. No point deduction or warning. Shields attempts a rear-naked choke as the horn sounds. Shields, 10-9, but likely lost 29-28. This will be VERY close.
Mark Hunt Defeated Cheick Kongo via TKO (Punches) at 2:11 in the 1stRound
1stRound: Hunt slips on a leg kick and Kongo goes on the attack. He had him clinched against the cage, but Hunt manged to reverse. Hunt clocks him with a left hook and momentarily floors Kongo with a left. He stuns him again with several rights and Kongo drops like a sack of potatoes. Game. Set. Match, Hunt.
Ryan Bader Defeated Quinton “Rampage” Jackson via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
1stRound: Rampage is much pudgier around the midsection than he was against Jon Jones. Rampage takes the center of the cage and raises his hands because Bader isn’t engaging. Bader fends off a takedown and has Rampage clinched against fence. Bader tags him with an overhand right. Bader connects on a left jab and dives in for an unsuccessful takedown attempt. He lands an uppercut and a knee. Rampage clocks him with a left hook. Bader, 10-9.
2ndRound: Rampage just misses on two right bombs. Rampage has him clinched against the cage. Bader tries a head kick and Rampage caught it, picked him up and slammed him on his head. Rampage follows up with a vicious right that wobbles Bader. Rampage nails him with a body shot, but Bader takes him down and is unleashing some efficient ground-and-pound. Rampage tires to get to his feet, though Bader thwarts it and slams him back down. Bader, 10-9.
3rdRound: Rampage hits him with two jabs that appear to blur Bader’s vision. Bader unsuccessfully on a takedown attempt. Rampage is looking for the home run. Bader plants him on his back with a powerful shot. The former light heavyweight champ tries to fight to his feet, but gets dragged back down. Bader doing just enough to maintain top position. He attempts a kimura and then a guillotine choke as the horn blares. Bader, 10-9 and wins the fight, 30-27.
Benson Henderson Defeated Frankie Edgar via Unanimous Decision (49-46, 48-47, 49-46) (Henderson captures UFC lightweight title)
1stRound: Edgar catches a leg kick and Henderson tries to kick him in the head with his other foot. Edgar has scored on a couple of leg kicks. Henderson kicks him in the groin and time is called. Game on. Edgar continues to catch his kicks. Henderson tags him with a knee to the sternum. Edgar gets taken down for a brief moment. Henderson kicks him and follows up with a knee. Henderson, 10-9.
2ndRound: Edgar is having a tough time closing the distance. Henderson knees him in the stomach while in the clinch. Henderson tags him with a knee, but Edgar counters with a one-two combo. Edgar’s left eye is swelling up. Edgar takes him down for a brief moment. Henderson scores with a flurry of punches. Edgar secures a takedown with a minute remaining. He unloads some nice ground-and-pound, but Henderson clocks him with an up-kick and goes on the attack. Edgar’s nose is gushing blood as he heads to his corner. Henderson, 10-9.
3rdRound: Edgar connects on a right. He attempts a takedown and clocks Henderson with a right. Edgar nails him again with a right. And another. Henderson wrestles him to the canvas for a second. Henderson knees him in the face. Edgar trips him to the ground for a moment. Edgar lands a takedown just before the horn sounds. Close round to score. Edgar, 10-9.
4thRound: Henderson kicks him again in the groin and time is called. Game on. Edgar tags him with a right hand. And another. Edgar goes for a shot and gets caught in a guillotine choke. He had full guard, but Edgar gets free. They are back to their feet. Henderson kicks his lead leg and lands a knee. Henderson, 10-9.
5thRound: This is a typical Edgar fight, most of the rounds have been very close to call and who knows what the judges’ scorecards look like. Henderson hits him with a left and “The Answer” counters with a right. Edgar clobbers him with a straight right. And another. Edgar took his back for a moment. Henderson tags him with a right of his own. Edgar drops him with a right hook. Henderson lands a jumping knee to the face and tries a guillotine choke as the horn sounds. Edgar, 10-9, but I believe Henderson walks away with the strap, 48-47.