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UFC 144 Aftermath

What key changes could emerge?

By Rob Nevola, Writer

The UFC made a long anticipated return to Japan for UFC 144 and did not disappoint. Many Japanese fighters along with former PRIDE fighters were on the card for Japanese fans to witness.

Starting off the pay per view was Anthony Pettis vs Joe Lauzon. I predicted a TKO in the 2nd round of the fight, but Pettis proved me wrong and finished Lauzon in the first. Pettis landed one of the most brutal leg kicks to chin of Lauzon, that I have witnessed in the mixed martial arts period. Pettis proceeded to finish Lauzon off with some punches on the ground for the win. With this fight Pettis may have earned himself a shot at the lightweight championship.

Tim Boetsch defeated Yushin Okami via TKO in the 3rd round. Boetsch rocked Okami with three consecutive stiff uppercuts that dropped him to the canvas. This allowed Boetsch to go in for the kill, landing some serious punches on the ground for the win.

Mark Hunt vs Cheick Kongo was the fight that shocked me the most on the card. Hunt defeated Kongo in the first round via TKO. Hunt possesses some of the most hard hitting stand up in the octagon. Kongo will now unfortunately drop in the heavyweight tittle rankings due to this loss. I was disappointed with the fact that Kongo was so determined to keep the fight standing with a former K1 champion. I would have liked to seen some take downs implemented on Hunt just to see what his reaction would have been on the ground. Hunt is now riding a 3 fight winning streak, lets see how he will fair in the future.

Jake Shields made his presence known in Japan after a dominate performance over Yoshihiro Akiyama. Shields won a unanimous decision, with all 3 judges scoring the fight 30-27. Shields with this win will pushed his name back to the top of the list for welterweights. Akiyama suffered his 4th loss in a row, but like I’ve said in the past they were all high quality opponents. Akiyama will be needing a win in his next fight, so his career is not in jeopardy.

Ryan Bader vs Quinton Jackson was another disappointing fight for me on the card. Bader defeated Jackson via unanimous decision with all 3 judges scoring this fight 30-27. Jackson was true to his statement saying he was a “street fighter” and not a mixed martial artist. Jackson was very sloppy with his stand up. The only productive thing he did in the fight was landing a slam on Bader. If Jackson chooses to fight again he will have much to prove after this performance. Bader controlled this fight from the very start. He demonstrated solid stand up along with great wrestling. This was a big win for Bader and he could potentially see some top contenders in his future for his next bout.

The main event of the evening as we all know was Frankie Edgar vs Ben Henderson. Henderson defeated Edgar via unanimous decision. This fight was a war and I am sure there will be some controversy on the decision. In my eyes Henderson won the fight, but there will be some speculation as if he did not do enough to dethrone the champion. With this loss Edgar will have to wait and see what’s next for his future. A rematch for the lightweight tittle may be an option or even a possible move to the featherweight division against Jose Aldo for the featherweight championship. Henderson’s future is also unknown at the moment, if we do not see a rematch with Edgar, we could see a potential fight with Anthony Pettis.

Overall the UFC 144 card was action packed with solid fights, along with some upsets and brutal hard hitting TKO endings. We shall see if there will be a rematch for the lightweight championship in the future or if Edgar will make the change to featherweight. We will also see whom Mark Hunt, Anthony Pettis, and Ryan Bader will be matched up against after their big wins in Japan.

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UFC 144 Aftermath.

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