UFC 144 Full Fight Recap
UFC 144 on Sunday 26th 2012 was an especially significant promotion because it took place in Japan, former home of the much-revered PRIDE organization that is generally regarded as the heyday of mixed-martial arts competitions, having vaulted many of the top stars in today’s UFC to legendary status. In fact, one fight on the card would see the return of a prodigal son in Quinton Rampage Jackson, who wowed the faithful and vigorous Japanese fans with a power-bomb that still ranks as the most vicious knockout in competition history.
Anthony “Showtime” Pettis vs. Joe “Bonus-hunter” Lauzon squared off at 155 lbs. for the first lightweight fight of the night. A very intriguing matchup between the explosive and spectacularly-athletic Pettis, and the skilled, well-rounded Lauzon, presented a challenge for results-callers. Would Lauzon’s iron will and analytical attack style be able to deal with Pettis’ rare combination of Tae Kwon Do and Muay Thai? Shockingly, the answer came just one minute and 20 seconds after the sounding bell, as Pettis delivered a fluid, vicious high side-kick that landed flush on Lauzon’s chin, sending him motionless to the canvas. With that resounding victory, Showtime likely moved up to be the number one contender for the winner of the lightweight title bout later that night between Henderson and Edgar.
Japanese fighter Hatsu Hioki looked to improve even further on his great victory over Canadian George Roop back in UFC 137 in October of last year. Facing Polish fighter Bart Palaszewski, Hioki displayed a masterful ground game, fluidly transitioning from one attack to another, to the uproarious delight of the Japanese crowd. Although Palaszewski was able to survive the first with a beautiful defense against an arm-bar – indicating that his black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu was well-deserved – he was otherwise completely dominated. The second round was a much better showing for Palaszewski, although Hioki took him down convincingly at the end and threatened with a rear-naked choke before the bell sounded. However, any glimmer of hope Palaszewski might have had with his solid showing through most of the second round faded as Hioki’s top-notch ground skills once again took over the fight and dominated him, coming perhaps seconds short of finishing by submission. His dominance was clear, and Hioki was awarded the bout, continuing to move up the featherweight ranks.
Fan favorite Yushin “Thunder” Okami, a true tree-trunk of a man at middleweight, laid mallet after mallet on his opponent Tim Boetsch in the next bout. Okami was coming off a devastating loss to the best martial artist on the planet in Brazilian fighter Anderson Silva. In this fight, it looked like he unleashed all that he would’ve liked to do to Silva onto Boetsch, beating him up on the feet in the first and then beating him on the ground in the second. Unfortunately for Yushin Okami, the bout was scheduled for three rounds; the powerful and relentless Boetsch stormed out into the final round with purpose and execution, battering Okami almost before the giant middleweight knew what was upon him. Boetsch drove him back, hurt him with a slew of uppercuts, and completely turned the tide of the bout by beating Okami into submission for the rousing comeback victory.Continued on the next page