UFC 144 in review
There is just something about the image of two grown men beating the living hell out of each other that is exciting to watch.
We may all need some help with the withdrawal symptoms after the last UFC pay-per-view event for nearly two months this last weekend. WGRD will be keeping you up to date with MMA and UFC news as well as lists and discussion about other events going on during that hiatus. To kick it off, let us have a quick review of UFC 144 in Japan, shall we?
Anthony Pettis defeated Joe Lauzon via KO
The early vote for knockout of the night and the $50,000 bonuses for both fighters was this bout. Pettis has become famous for his kicking repertoire and striking that is nearly unheard of in the UFC.
In late 2010, he caused a massive ripple in the MMA world with what was deemed at the time as the "Showtime Kick." Go. Watch it. It is worth the time.
Needless to say, "Showtime" Pettis was at it again, finishing the fight with a devastating head kick less than two minutes into the first round. Pettis' climb in the MMA ranks continue and with his victory over Lauzon, has created a real logjam in the lightweight division.
Tim Boetsch defeated Yushin Okami via TKO
In the comeback of the night and upset of the night, American Tim Boetsch pulled off a remarkable knockout in the third round after being thoroughly dominated in the first two rounds. After catching Okami with a blow knocking him to the cage, Boetsch followed up and a particular upper cut while in a clinch sealed the deal and knocked Okami out standing up.
The loss was the second in a row for Okami and puts in serious doubt his future at the top of the middleweight class. Losses to Chael Sonnen and Anderson Silva are respectable but losing to Boetsch while on home soil is a reality check to the career of one of Japan's finest fighters.
Jake Shields defeated Yoshihiro Akiyama via unanimous decision
Jake Shields came to the UFC from Strikeforce with his highly touted wrestling and ground game. He quickly became a booing receptacle for fans as his fighting style turned away many fans during his split decision victory over Martin Kampmann.
After back to back losses to top talent, Shields was looking to get back in the win column at UFC 144. 36-year-old Akiyama is a Judo legend in Japan but hasn't won a fight in the UFC since a split decision victory in July 2009. That is safe to say it is probably the back end of his career. Shields wrestled his way to another victory and kept the potentially vicious strikes of Akiyama at bay.
Mark Hunt defeated Cheick Kongo via KO
A minor upset as the very unathletic Mark Hunt knocks out the quickly dropping from the ranks Cheick Kongo. Kongo began his career on quite the path with his incredible 82 inch reach and athleticism. Going 3-0-1 in his last 4 fights, it looked like he was back on the right track until his sub-par performance to this journeyman kickboxer.
Kongo's place in the division may be settled at this point, and it certainly looks like the middle of the road.
Ryan Bader defeated Quinton Jackson via unanimous decision
Rumors swirled of Jackson having a poor training camp and his dedication to this sport is seriously in question at this stage in the game. After weighing in a ludicrous six pounds over the 205-lb limit the day before, Bader took the fight anyway and dominated from start to finish. He controlled Jackson's striking and exposed the terrible ground game.
What nobody can question is Jackson's chin. He has only been finished once in his UFC career and Bader wasn't close to doing it here. He did thoroughly pick apart Jackson's performance, though, and won easily on all three cards.
Although he blamed his poor training and weight on a knee injury suffered during camp, Jackson's days of being part of "fights of the night" may be in the past.
Ben Henderson defeated Frankie Edgar via unanimous decision
Easily the fight of the night, Edgar and Henderson put on a show for the ages. Henderson is an athletic specimen with freakish abilities and his controlled striking from different angles really punished Edgar and showed on the champion's face by the end of the fight.
Late in the second round, Henderson split Edgar's nose open with a kick from the ground. It probably won him the round and really changed the momentum of the fight. Edgar could not take Henderson down and keep him down and simply was not as efficient on the striking.
His fights against lightweight foe Gray Maynard will go down as some of the best in recent UFC history and there is no reason he shouldn't get a rematch against Henderson in the near future. The lightweight ranks are really deep and options are plenty for Henderson and Edgar in the coming year.
So there you have it, the overly long winded recap/eulogy of UFC for an extended period. The absurd length of this is because the image of Joe Lauzon going to sleep after a head kick may go away when it is over.
On the other side, Jake Shield's sleep inducing wrestling is something 2011 UFC can have back. Take the good with the bad with this sport.
Lesser events on FX and Fuel TV will get us through this extended layover, friends! Be strong and stay here to keep busy during this period of longing!