Japan welcomes the UFC this Saturday live from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan at UFC 144. Will Rampage slam Bader into oblivion for old times sake? Will Edgar outwork Bendo?
The main card is as follows:
Lightweight bout: Anthony Pettis vs Joe Lauzon
Featherweight bout: Hatsu Hioko vs Bart Palaszewski
Middleweight bout: Yushin Okami vs Tim Boetsch
Welterweight bout:Yoshihiro Akiyama vs Jake Shields
Heavyweight bout: Mark Hunt vs Cheick Kongo
Light Heavyweight bout: Quinton Jackson vs Ryan Bader
Lightweight Championship bout: Frankie Edgar vs Ben Henderson
First it’s Pettis and Lauzon. This bout has “Fight of the Night” written all over it. Pettis has only suffered one loss to Guida in the UFC and has proven to be an exciting fighter with a lot of potential. A lot of people could argue that Lauzon’s win over Guillard was a fluke, but I think Joe is proving to be an incredibly talented fighter. With that said, I don’t think he’ll have enough to take the win.
Our pick: Pettis
Next it’s Hioko vs Palaszewski. Hioki will be fighting in front of his hometown crowd which surely will serve to his advantage. However, I’ve been extremely impressed with Palaszewski lately and think he will grind out the win. Some may argue that Hioki could submit him, but let’s not forget that Palaszewski is very talented on the ground as well.
Our pick: Palaszewski
Yushin Okami and Tim Boetsch. Really not excited about this one, not a fan of either fighter. Yushin Okami should be able to work his wrestling to grind out a decision. Boetsch may find himself fighting for local cards again after this one.
Our pick: Okami
Then there’s Akiyama and Shields. Akiyama will be in front of his hometown crowd, but a desperate Jake Shields should come ready to fight or die. I think Shields will implement his wrestling to get Akiyama down and slap him around a bit to grind out a decision.
Our pick: Shields
Alright alright. I’m well aware that Mark Hunt has won his last 2 fights, but he just jumped up to another level of competition. Honestly, Chris Tuchscherer and Ben Rothwell aren’t very formidable opponents. Cheick Kongo is a whole different beast and will be too much for Hunt to handle. I’m thinking a ground and pound W for Kongo.
Our pick: Kongo
Now for the co-main event: Bader and Rampage. This just isn’t even a question. Bader shouldn’t have been given this fight to begin with. He lost 2 in a row and is coming off a win over Jason Brilz who has been a “filler fighter” for the UFC his entire career. Bader’s only tool to use against Rampage would be his wrestling, but Rampages take-down defense is too good.
Our pick: Rampage
And then the main event for the lightweight belt: “Bendo” Ben Henderson vs Frankie Edgar. This will be a battle and is probably my toughest pick for this card. I think this one will go all 5 rounds and while “Bendo” should give him trouble, I think Frankie’s elusive striking will protect him and his belt.
Our pick: Edgar
Going to be an exciting card–go out, grab a few beers and catch these fights for some good action.