Welcome to our live coverage of UFC 144 from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. We're looking for your thoughts on tonight's show so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to
TIEQUAN ZHANG VS. ISSEI TAMURA, FEATHERWEIGHTS
First round: Both came out swinging. Zhang countered a left hook with a right that knocked Tamura down, but both were up swinging and Tamura knocked Zhang down with a short right and is punching from the top. Tamura keeping top position. He threw some elbows. They called a standup early. Tamura landing hard punches. Zhang working for a guillotine standing but Tamura took him down from there. He kept top position until the end of the round. Zhang tried an arm triangle from the bottom but didn’t have it. Tamura’s round 10-9.
Second round: Low kicks by Zhang. Big right hand by Tamura knocked him cold. It was an overhand right to the jaw and a devastating knockout to start the show. :32
Tamura said this was a dream come true appearing on this show with so many legendary Japanese fighters.
TAKEYA MIZUGAKI VS. CHRIS CARIASO, BANTAMWEIGHTS
First round: Mizuagaki thought takedown but didn’t really commit to it. Both missing punches. Mizugaki again went for a takedown and came nowhere close. Cariaso rocked him with a flurry. Mizgauki powered a bodylock takedown. Cariaso got a uma plata but Mizugaki escaped and is back on top. Mizugaki is doing nothing from the top. Mizugaki threw a few ineffective punches late in the round. He’ll get the round, but it’s not solid and could go the other way, Mizuaki 10-9
Second round: Both throwing and Mizugaki pushed him into the fence. High kick by Cariaso, landed to the body because Cariaso is so short. Cariaso is landing the better punches early in the round. Mizugaki pushed him to the fence. Now Cariaso went for a takedown and coudln’t get it. Trading knees in clinch. Cariaso tried to throw but Mizugaki powered him down again. Mizugaki this time landed a few hard shots from the top. Nice reverse by Cariaso but Mizugaki got right up. Short elbow by Cariaso from a clinch to end the round. Mizugaki’s round, more solidly than the first so 20-18.
Third round: High kick by Cariaso landed. Mizugaki pushed him against the fence again. Mizugaki with a knee as Cariaso is going for a takedown. Mizugaki blocking the takedown even though Cariaso got a single. Cariaso with a flurry of punches and moved out of the clinch. Cariaso moved in. Cariaso threw a head kick and Mizugaki used it to take him down. Mizugaki holding Cariaso down and not doing any damage. Mizugaki kept the top until a few seconds left. Cariaso landed a good punch late. Mizugaki will probably got the round for being on top but I’d give it to Cariaso, who had the better strikes and Mizugaki did nothing from the top. Still, that’s 29-28 for Mizugaki and I don’t see Cariaso getting the decision.
Scores: All three have it 29-28 for Cariaso. Wow. Crowd is booing like crazy and Japanese crowds rarely boo decisions. I’m shocked although you can make a case for Cariaso winning one and even I had him taking three, but I didn’t think the judges would go for it considering Mizugaki took him down and held him down for much of all three rounds.
RIKI FUKUDA VS. STEVE CANTWELL, MIDDLEWEIGHTS
First round: Fukuda took him down off an attempted kick. Fukuda throwing body punches while Cantwell is holding on. Fukuda with punches and elbows. Crowd is really behind Fukuda as he’s pounding on Cantwell. Fukuda landed solid punches from the top. Cantwell got back up. Cantwell landed a good knee from the linch. Cantwell landed a right. Cantwell landed aleft. Fukuda moving in for a takedown but Cantwell blocked it. Cantwell landed a right. Fukuda tried another takedown and Cantwell blocked it again. Cantwell with a body kick. Cantwell landed another right. Fukuda still landing low kicks. Fukuda moved in with punches. Strong right by Cantwell but an uppercut by Fukuda. Fukuda landed a right. Fukuda with a low kick. Cantwell landed a right that put Fukuda off balance a little. Cantwell with another right. High kick by Cantwell blocked and a series of kicks while Fukuda landed a right. Very good round. Crowd appreciated it. Fukuda’s round due to the takedown although Cantwell’s corner told him he stole the round. I don’t think so. 10-9 Fukuda
Second round: Fukuda with low kicks and Cantwell back with a hard low kick. Fukuda got threw with punches and got another takedown. Cantwell is working for a guillotine. Fukuda is punching the body. . Cantwell has him in trouble but Fukuda out and landingpunches. Fukuda landing punches and Cantwell is as well. Fukuda seems in better shape and landing more punches. Fukuda going for a takedown but Cantwell blocked. Cantwell landed a left hook but his arms are tired from squeezing on the guillotine. Good left by Fukuda and a body kick. Fukuda landing a lot of punches now. Fukuda with body punches. Now Fukuda landing elbows. Fukuda landing tons of punches up close. Cantwell firing back with punches. Crowd loves this fight. Fukuda continues to land the left. Cantwell back with punches but they don’t have the sting. Fukuda continued to land. Fukuda’s really nailing him with punches. Fukuda landed a kick to the groin which got Cantwell a time out to recover. Cantwell got the takedown and has Fukuda’s back as time ran out. But that’s not enough. Fukuda won the round big and should be up 20-18.
Third round: Fukuda landing low kicks. Fukuda landing kick after kick to the left leg. Fukuda landing punches. Cantwell with a nice spinning kick. Fukuda starting to land punches and Fukuda now going for a takedown and powered Cantwell to his back. Cantwell working for an armbar attempt, and then a gogoplata but didn’t come close with that. Fukuda got his back. Cantwell rolled and Fukuda moved into side control. Cantwell got up. But Cantwell is going to need a submission to win the fight. Cantwell is tired and getting hammered with punches. Cantwell is exhausted. Fukuda landing to the head and body. This is a good fight. But Cantwell is almost surely getting cut when this is over because gassing hard and losing five in a row isn’t going to do it. Fukuda landing punch after punch as Cantwell is done. Fukuda landed a body kick. Hard body kick by Fukuda. Fukuda has to win, I’ve got 30-27.
Scores: 30-27, 29-28, 29-28
KID YAMAMOTO VS. VAUGHAN LEE, BANTAMWEIGHTS
First round: Of course Kid was popular but it’s not like he got an overwhelming reaction or anything. Kid landed a hard right. Lee landed a left. Kid with a left body kick as he threw Lee out of the clinch. Kid landed a right but Lee landed a right and a right uppercut. Kid decked him with a right and now landing tons of punches and now hard punches. Yamamoto did a great job of blocking the punches. Yamamoto landed a punch but Lee landed a knee. Kid landing more punches but missed an uppercut. Lee with a flurry and hurt Kid with an uppercut. Kid took him down and Lee went for a triangle and switched to an armbar and Kid tapped out. Great groundwork by Lee here. Kid had never lost via submission in his career.
TAKANORI GOMI VS. EIJI MITSUOKA, LIGHTWEIGHTS
First round: Gomi got a good reaction. Mitsuoka landed an uppercut. Mitsuoka landed a left but Gomi staggered him with a right. Mitsuoka landed a right jab. Mitsuoka landed a left. Mitsuoka went for a takedown but Gomi landed a knee to the body. Good knee by Gomi. Mitsuoka landed another right hook. Low kick by Mitsuoka. Gomi landed a punch and Mitsuoka landed more. Uppercut by Mitsuoka. Low kick by Gomi. Low kick by Mitsuoka. Mitsuoka back with a punch. Left by Mitsuoka. Another left and two rights landed by Mitsuoka. Gomi with a body kick and Gomi landing jabs. Mitsuoka landed a right that hurt him and Mitsuoka got his back working for a triangle from the back. 20 seconds left. Gomi is almost ready to tap. The bell saved Gomi. To me that’s a 10-8 because he was saved by the bell and seemed on the verge of going out when the horn sounded. I’m thinking the judges will go 10-9 for Mitsuoka because it was a back-and-forth round until then.
Second round: Gomi with a body kick. Mitsuoka landed good punches. Gomi thowing big punches. Gomi is landing punches now. Gomi landing punches but Mitsuoka took him down. Gomi right back up. More punches and knees by Gomi. Mitsuoka is in trouble now. Gomi landed more punches and knees and Mitsuoka ducked for a takedown. Gomi throwing body punches Gomi spun and got Mitsuoka’s back and landing tons of punches. This is close to over and now ref Leon Roberts stopped it. This was a hell of a fight. Biggest crowd explosion so far, great fight and one of their old stars won.
JOE LAUZON VS. ANTHONY PETTIS, LIGHTWEIGHTS
First round: Body kick by Pettis. Lauzon moved in with punches. Pettis landed a fwe punches right back. Awesome left high kick to the jaw that knocked Lauzon out. Shin to the jaw. There were four punches on the ground but the kick had already sealed the deal. 1:21
HATSU HIOKI VS. BART PALASZEWSKI, FEATHERWEIGHTS
First round: Hioki dropped him with a left right away. Trading low kicks. Hioki chant. Palaszewski with a low kick. Hioki landed lefts. Hioki landing kicks high to the body and a low kick. Palaszewski landing lefts. Hioki went for a single leg takedown. Palaszewski went for a guillotine as Hioki took him down but Hioki escaped. Hioki cleared to side control. Hioki pounding on Palszewski from side control. Hioki got his back and working for an armbar and he’s got it. Hioki looked tremendous in getting the move. Palaszewski escaped . Hioki is back on top but now is in Palaszewski’s guard. Crowd going crazy for Hioki. Hioki landing hard lefts and rights from the top. Hioki continues to land hard shots until the round ended. Big round for Hioki 10-9, would be easy 10-8.5 with halves but I don’t see 10-8.
Second round: Hioki with a front kick to the body. Hioki went high but blocked but then landed a left. Palaszewski landed a solid right. Right to the body by Hioki. Great high right kick to the head by Hioki. Slower round than the first. Left jab by Hioki. Palaszewski with punches and low kick by Hioki with a left and Bart with a low kick. Two more lefts by Hioki and a body kick. Bart back with a right. Hioki missed a high kick and landed the left high kick. Low kick by Hioki. Bart with a low kick. Another low kick and right to the body and another low kick by art. Bart moving in with jabs and a low kick. Hioki kicked him in the groin. Bart kicked him to the groin now. Body kick by Hioki and another. Bart in with two punches. Hioki got the takedown and got his back as time ran out. Very close round, I’ll go with Hioki and 20-18, but if you go with Bart, it’s tied, which shows a major flaw in the scoring.
Third round: Hioki ducked for a takedown but Bart blocked it. Now they are in a clinch against the fence and Hioki got a trip takedown. Hioki with a forearm and now lots of punches on the ground. He moved to side control. Hioki moved to side control. Hioki landing punches. Hioki got his back and working for a choke but Bart defending well. Hioki remains on his back, threw an elbow. Another elbow by Hioki. Hioki with a body triangle and blocking the leg. Great grappling by Hioki. Hioki continue to land on the ground. This is a totally different Hioki than the one who fought George Roop. Hioki tried a chinlock but gave it up. Time ran out. Very entertaining performance by Hioki. Should win 30-27.
Scores 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 so two judges must have given Palaszewski the second round which there is nothing wrong with
Joe Rogan is pushing that Hioki is the No. 2 featherweight in the world. After a lackluster performance against George Roop, I don’t see it at all. It was an impressive technical performance on the ground but it’s not like anyone saw Palaszewski as top ten in the division before this fight.
YUSHIN OKAMI VS. TIM BOETSCH, MIDDLEWEIGHTS
First round: Okami got what I’d call polite applause. Boetsch with a body kick. Boetsch landed a few punches but a staright left back. Nice right by Okami. Okami hurt him with a right, as Boetsch staggered backwards. Kick by Okami that was blocked. Right straight by Boetsch. Boetsch moved in with a punch. High kick by Boetsch blocked. Boetsch’s left eye starting to swell. Boetch tried a takedown but not even close. Boetsch landed a right. Left and right by Okami. Boetsch missed two punches by a lot. Great right kick to the side of Boetsch’s head. Boetsch back with two kicks to the body. Right by Okami and right back by Boetsch. Right by Okami and right by Boetsch again. High kick left blocked by Boetsch. Boetsch landed a hard right. Another good right by Boetsch. Knee by Okami left to the eye by Botech. Boetsch cut under both eyes. 10-9 Okami.
Second round: Okami landed several punches and a knee to the body. Boetsch moving in but couldn’t land. Boetsch high kick blocked. Okami pushed Boetch against the fence. Okami trying for a takedown. He had a hard time getting it and Boetsch grabbed a guillotine while he was working for the takedown. Okami got out of the guillotine and is now on top. Okami is working for an arm triangle. Okami now working for a Kimura. Now going for a straight armbar. Now he’s in full mount. Okami with lots of punches from full mount with 23 seconds left. Okami’s round, almost a 10-8, but not quite so 20-18 for Okami.
Third round: The crowd is doing "Whoos" like crazy, they’ve been doing it for much of the fight. Boetsch landed a right and a knee. He landed a hard right. Okami is running away. Okami is hurt. Boetsch landing hard uppercuts and a head kick and more hard uppercuts. Okami’s down, and he’s getting pounded, and it’s over with Boetsch winning via stoppage. Great finish.
JAKE SHIELDS VS. YOSHIHIRO AKIYAMA, WELTERWEIGHTS
First round: Shields looks easily 20 pounds heavier than at weigh-ins. He looks good, completely different from 24 hours ago. Akiyama looks close to 20 pounds heavier as well and is ripped to shreds. Well, if this was a bodybuilding contest Akiyama wins. He’s getting cheered. Akiyama asked that his ring name be Sexyama. He wasn’t booed. Shields trying to get it down. Body kick by Shields. Shields going for the takedown. Sheilds working hard for the takedown. Akiyama great job blocking the takedown. Fans gave Akiyama a hand as Jake was really in for the takedown. Shields throwing a lot of punches and shot in but Akiyama blocking. Shields did land a couple of good body kicks. Right by Shields. Akiyama landed the uppercut. Shields with a great takedown but Akiyama right back up. Shields with knees from the clinch. Shields got his back standing. Akiyama escaped. Akiyama put his mouthpiece in. Shields with a low kick and jabs. Shields tied him up and is landing pucnhes. Akiyama with a trip taekdown and another takedown, but Shields back up. Shields with a body kick. Shields landed way more, it’s weird listening to the commentary because Rogan is calling it like Akiyama is killing him and Shields is the one landed more and is the aggressor so I’ve got him taking the round 10-9.
Second round: Akiyama landed a right. Now he’s landed another right. He went for a trip but Shields out of it. Spinning backfist landed by Akiyama. Akiyama threw Shields around. Shields worked for takedown but Akiyama blocked him again. Shields landing and a body kick. Body kick by Shields. Akiyama with a kick. Shields keeps landing. Shields landing more jabs. Akiyama landed a right. Strong low kick by Akiyama. Shields has a bloody nose. Sheilds low kicks. Great hip toss takedown by Akiyama but Shields up and now working for a takedown. Shields has his back. Shields just outlanded him 20-18.
Third round: Shields continues to land. Shields with a low kick. Akiyama can’t pull the trigger and is losing a fight that is all standing that he shouldn’t be losing so badly. Shields shot in and Akiyama blocked another takedown. They are in a clinch against the fence. Akiyama with punches on the break. Akiyama chants. Shields continues to land body kicks. Shields moving in for a takedown. Shields got takedown but Akiyama back up. Shields with a takedown and has his back. Akiyama grabbed the fence twice and really should have had a penalty point called. Shields has his back with 34 seocnds left working for a choke. Shields working for a choke with seconds left and time ran out. Shields round for sure, should be 30-27.
All three have it 30-27 for Shields
CHEICK KONGO VS. MARK HUNT, HEAVYWEIGHTS
First round: Kongo staying outside with low kicks. Hunt with low kick. Hunt knocked him down with a left. Hunt dropped him with a right and it was over. Right to the side of the head and four more punches put Kongo down and one punch on the ground and it was over.
RAMPAGE JACKSON VS. RYAN BADER, LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHTS
First round: Jackson got a huge reaction, but a lot of that was because he smartly came out to the Pride theme song. He looks huge, he’s easily 235, maybe nore. We’ll see about speed and conditioning, but he’s got the knockout power to end it. Jackson got a bigger reaction than any of the Japanese fighters. Crowd really into Jackson’s mannerisms and staredown. Bader landed a left. Low kick by Bader. Bader has him against the fence. Bader has him against the cage and kneeing the legs and throwing body shots. Bader doing a lot of moving. Bader landed a right. Big right by Bader and now going for a takedown. Bader looks to be as much trying to wear him out against the fence because he can’t take him down. Bader landed a left. Bader landing a left. Bader moved in for a takedown but didn’t get it. Bader has him against the fence. Bader landed an uppercut, and went for a guillotine. Bader with a knee. Bader again failed a takedown attempt. Jackson tried a takedown but Bader stopped it. Jackson swinging big but not landing. Bader 10-9.
Second round: Jackson missed a home run punch. Bader with a low kick. Now Jackson pushed Bader into the fence. Jackson slammed him on his head and shoulder and the slam looked bad. Bader got back up. The crowd went nuts for the slam. A kick to the body by Jackson. Jackson landed a left to the body, but Bader exploded for the takedown and is on top. Crowd booing, and they say Japanese fans don’t boo, because Bader took him down and kept him there. Hilarious. They are booing because their guy is getting hammered on the ground. Bader landing elbows. Bader doing a good job of keeping him on his back. Bader has his back now. Bader with knees to the thigh as Jackson got up. Another takedown by Bader and has his back. Right to the body by Jackson on the ground. Bader kept him down. Bader with punches and Jackson with elbows from the bottom. Bader’s round 20-18.
Third round: Bader pushed Jackson into the cage. Bader landed a left on the break. Bader shot in for takedown but Jackson blocked him. Bader landed a left. Jackson missing the home run shot Bader took him down again into side control. Bader with knees to the body. Bader now has his back. Bader took him down agian. Jackson tired. Fans booing like crazy. Bader landing punches on the ground. Bader continually pounding on him. Bader working for a Kimura. . Bader with more body shots. Once again Bader working for a Kimura. Time running low. Bader grabbed a guillotine as time ran out. Fans booed Bader for dominating Jackson. Almost a 10-8 round, but didn’t do quite the damage, so 30-27 Bader.
Scores: Bader 30-27 across the board
FRANKIE EDGAR VS. BENSON HENDERSON FOR THE UFC LIGHTWEIGHT TITLE
First round: Henderson threw a kick, Frankie caught the leg, and Henderson tried an enzuigiri but Edgar ducked it. Both guys threw kicks at the same time. Henderson with a kick to the body. Edgar threw him down but Henderson back up. Henderson threw a kick and Edgar caught the foot again. Henderson threw a kick that hit the groin. Another body kick caught and Edgar landed low kicks Edgar landed a left and Edgar keeps landing the kick. Another body kick caught. Henderon landed a left. Edgar caught another kick. Edgar took him down but Henderson right back up. Left kick to the body and knee by Henderson. Edgar threw him down again and landed a left. Extremely close round, Edgar 10-9, but almost a 10-10.
Second round: Edgar swelling from the right eye. Body kick caught and Edgar back with a body kick of his own. Body kick by Henderson caught and then both started throwing punches back and forth. Henderson landed a jab. Knee by Henderson in a clinch. Edgar landed a right to the body. Edgar landed a left jab. Henderson with a left and a knee. Edgar back with punches Edgar tried a spinning punch but missed and Henderson with a kick to the body. Edgar landed a left hook ,. Edgar took him down and went for a guilliotine. That never works on Henderson. Edgar got his back. Henderson went for a Kimura standing and Edgar pulled out. Henderson landed a left. Body kick by Henderson. Head kick landed by Henderson. Henderson landed a flurry of shots. Edgar with a takedown. Edgar landed shots on the ground. Up kick by Henderson hurt him, heel right to the face, looks like it broke his nose, and Henderson pounding on him late. Henderson’s round 19-19.
Third round: Body kick by Edgar. Edgar landed a right. Henderson trying to catch him and can’t. Right by Henderson. Back and forth punches. Edgar tried a takedown didn’t get it but landed a right. Henderson with a kick to the body. Right by Henderson. Edgar tried a takedown but couldn’t get it. Henderson with a kick to the body and Edgar with a punch. Frankie chant. Edgar with a nice right to the jaw. Edgar threw a punch, lost balance and Henderson took him down, Edgar up but Henderson took him down. Edgar back up again. Henderson landed a kick to the head as he got up. Edgar’s left eye and nose look real bad. Edgar landed a right. Edgar landed more punches. Left kick to the face by Henderson. Edgar with a takedown but Henderson back up. Crowd going crazy. This is a hell of a fight. Henderson with punches but missed on a high kick. Edgar with another takedown and Henderson back up. Henderson’s round 29-28, but again these rounds are close.
Fourth round: Edgar with a right kick that didn’t land. Henderson with a right. Now left landed. Right kick to the body landed by Henderson. Edgar landed a few shots. Attempted kick to the body by Henderson nailed the groin. Edgar landed a right and low kick. Edgar landing crisp shots. Trading more punches. Knee and a takedown by Edgar but Henderson has a guillotine. Edgar out and on top. Henderson back up. Henderson threw a side kick. Henderson landed a left elbow. Henderson with a low kick. And another low kick. Henderson with a punch and Henderson with a knee. Edgar landed a straight right. Edgar tried a takedown and Henderson with a kick with to the body and jab. Body kick by Henderson. Edgar landed a straight right. I think Henderson took the round and would be up 39-37. Edgar may need a finish but honestly who knows how this is being scored because all the rounds are tight except round two for Henderson.
Fifth round: Henderson firing up the crowd. Low kick by Edgar. Henderson kick to the body, but Edgar caught the kick and came back with kick to the body. Trading punches but Henderson’s shot landed better. Edgar tried a takedown, didn’t get it, but landed an uppercut. Great left by Edgar, best punch of the fight. Edgar with a right. Edgar took him down but Henderson up, went for Kimura standing and Edgar let go. Side kick by Henderson. Henderson landed a left and right. Edgar with a takedown but when he went for the kick as Henderson got up, Henderson blocked it. Trading shots and Henderson with a body kick. Edgar knocked him down with a right . Edgar tried to take his back but Henderson back up. Another right by Edgar. Edgar with a big left. Head kick by Henderson, left to the head by Henderson and then Edgar caught a kick but Edgar couldn’t take him down. Edgar shot for takedown, but couldn’t get it but did land a body kick. Jumping knee by Henderson. Henderson pounding on him. Edgar’s round, but again close. I’ve got 48-47 for Henderson but who knows.
Scores: 49-46, 48-47, 49-46 Henderson
Edgar was disappointed in the decision, felt he landed more shots, which he probably did, and had more takedowns, which he probably did, but Henderson did more damage overall. Joe Rogan tried to badger him into moving down a weight class. Either way, he's been successful at this weight, was the champion, lost a close fight that could have gone either way and hung in there five rounds in an even fight wit an aweseme fighter.