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Benson Henderson defeated Frankie Edgar on Saturday night to win the UFC Lightweight Title. The bout served as the main event to UFC 144, which took place at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
Henderson (15-2) used diverse striking to hurt Edgar (14-2-1) and keep the former champion off balance the entire fight, using kicks and powerful knees in the clinch.
Henderson's best strike came from his back, when he launched an up-kick to the face of Edgar at the end of the second round. Edgar's left eye swelled up during the early rounds, and his nose was bloody after round two.
In the later rounds, Henderson dominated Edgar on the ground, keeping him there for almost the entire fifth round.
In the co-main event, former Arizona State wrestler Ryan Bader (15-2) dominated Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (32-10) to earn an unanimous decision victory.
After a slow first round from both men, Bader came out in the second and did solid work in the clinch and on the ground. Bader landed knees and kicks to the body of Jackson and dominated him on the ground.
Jackson later said in the post-fight press conference that he expected to lose because of a knee injury that hindered him in training camp. Jackson said the knee injury was the reason that he missed weight.
In the opening bout of the main card, Anthony Pettis scored a vicious knockout of Joe Lauzon. Pettis faked a jab and landed a kick to on the head of Lauzon, finishing him off with punches. UFC President Dana White hinted after the event that Pettis will get the next shot at the UFC Lightweight Title against Henderson. Pettis was the last man to defeat Henderson.
"Fight of the Night" was awarded awarded to Henderson and Edgar, "Knockout of the Night" went to Anthony Pettis, and "Submission of the Night" was given to Vaughan Lee for his armbar submission of "Kid" Yamamoto.
Full UFC 144 Results below:
Glendale's Benson Henderson defeated Frankie Edgar to claim the UFC Lightweight title Saturday night in Saitama, Japan. Henderson won a unanimous decision, with the judges scorecards being 49-46, 49-46 and 48-47.
The fight was back and fourth all night as the two men fought at a high pace all five rounds. Edgar got the advantage over Henderson in straight boxing and landed more total strikes than Henderson, 124-114. Henderson used his diverse striking ability to disrupt Edgar all night.
Henderson used kicks and knees to damage Edgar all fight. The damage on Edgar was visible as Edgar's left eye swelled shut during the later rounds and his nose was bleeding after round two.
Henderson landed the best strike of the fight on his back. While Edgar was standing over him, Henderson landed an up-kick that dropped Edgar and severely damaged the former champion's nose. Henderson pounced but was not able to finish Edgar before the end of the round.
Nothing that Edgar threw seemed to face Henderson, who didn't look like he was touched after the fight. Every major punch or strike that Edgar landed, Henderson shook off.
Edgar was adamant that he won the fight, and said in the post-fight press conference that he would like an immediate rematch with Henderson. UFC President Dana White hinted that Henderson's first title defense will come against Anthony Pettis, who is the last man to defeat Henderson.
Former Arizona State wrestler Ryan Bader defeated Quinton "Rampage" Jackson by unanimous decision on Saturday night in Japan. Bader won 30-27 on all three judges scorecards.
Bader (15-2) came out and dominated the fight from the very beginning. Bader was more active in the first round landed punches and knees on Jackson. Rampage was not very active at all in the first round, and barely threw a punch.
In the second round, Bader used his superior ground skills to dominate Jackson. Bader forced Jackson up against the cage and landed knees and punches to the body of Jackson. Bader then tossed Jackson to the ground and used his knees to inflict damage the body of the former light heavyweight champion.
The third round was much of the same as Bader got the takedown with over three minutes left and kept Jackson there for the entire round. Bader was very active on the ground, damaging the head and body of Jackson with vicious strikes.
Jackson looked gassed in the third round and when the final bell sounded, Jackson laid on the canvas in defeat. Jackson said he had been injured in training camp, which caused him to miss weight. It is not clear weather the injury to Jackson had an impact on the fight. This is the biggest victory in Bader's MMA career.
UFC 144 takes place tonight in Saitama, Japan, as UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar puts his title on the line against Benson Henderson. Rampage Jackson fights Ryan Bader in the co-main event of the evening. Here is how I see the main fights shaping out.
Frankie Edgar vs. Benson Henderson: This is one of the hardest selections that I have had to make. Edgar has proven that he has a great chin and outstanding cardio. Edgar does not tire in the championship rounds and is almost impossible to finish. Henderson, is unlike anyone that Edgar has faced. He uses his unusual striking skills to keep his opponents off balanced. He uses kicks and knees to inflict damage on his opponent, and has vicious ground and pound. This fight as all the makings of "Fight of the Night" as both of these men fight at high paces. My final prediction: Henderson via close unanimous decision
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson vs. Ryan Bader: Bader has looked terrible in big fights. Last February, he was dominated by Jon Jones, and in July of 2011, he was submitted by Tito Ortiz. Bader wrestled at Arizona State and has three career knockout victories in the UFC. The biggest question mark for Bader is his competition, Bader's biggest win came against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, when he faces top competition he has had his worse showings. Rampage Jackson has faced some of the top fighters in light heavyweight division. However he has not knocked anyone out since Wanderlei Silva in 2008, and we know Rampage does not like to take fights to the ground. Bader as a distinct advantage on the ground and he has to use that to his advantage if he wants to get the win. Bader needs to get Jackson to the ground and dominate the fight there. My final prediction: Bader via unanimous decision
The UFC returns to Japan tonight for the first time since 2000 as Benson "Smooth" Henderson (15-2) challenges Frankie "The Answer" Edgar (14-1-1) for the UFC Lightweight Title.
Henderson, the former WEC Lightweight Champion, is 3-0 inside the UFC including victories over Jim Miller and Clay Guida. Edgar won his title in April 2010 with a victory over lightweight kingpin BJ Penn. Edgar has since defended his title three times, once against Penn and twice against Gray Maynard.
Former Arizona State wrestler Ryan Bader (14-2) battles Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (32-9) in the co-main event. Bader got his career back on track with a first round knockout of Jason Brilz at UFC 139 after suffering two straight losses to begin 2011. Jackson was defeated by Jon Jones in September at UFC 135 in his last fight.
UFC fans are treated to an extended main card as the UFC added two fights to the UFC 144 main card, giving fans seven fights on pay-per-view. Anthony "Showtime" Pettis faces Joe Lauzon in a lightweight bout to open the main card.
UFC 144 also features four bouts on FX. Takinori Gomi battles Eiji Mitsuoka in a lightweight showdown and Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto faces Vaughan Lee in a bantamweight bout on the FX card. FX fights begin at 6 PM.
Full UFC 144 schedule below:
Main Card (PPV- 8 PM):
UFC Lightweight Championship: Frankie Edgar vs. Benson Henderson
Preliminary Card (FX- 6 PM):
Preliminary Card (Facebook- 5:30 PM):
Featherweight: Issei Tamura vs. Tiequan Zhang
Frankie Edgar and Benson Henderson both made weight in advance of their showdown tonight for the UFC Lightweight Championship. Edgar looked to have no problem making the weight, as he tipped the scales at 154-pounds.
"Ben's a tough dude it was a good camp to prepare for him, obviously a new face and a new name, lets do it," said Edgar after he weighed in.
Henderson, surprisingly to some, weighed 154-pounds, one pound below the lightweight limit. For his last few fights Henderson had to strip down naked in order to make the 155-pound limit.
"It's a huge opportunity I'm very excited, Frankie is the man, he has a great chin and a great heart," said Henderson.
The only fighter that did not make weight is arguably the biggest name on the card, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. The former Pride FC star weighed in at 211-pounds, a full six pounds over the light heavyweight limit. Rampage will be fined 20% of his purse and the fight will still commence as scheduled.
Full weigh-in results below:
Main Card (PPV):
UFC Lightweight Championship: Frankie Edgar (154) vs. Benson Henderson (154)
Preliminary Card (FX):
Preliminary Card (Facebook):
Featherweight: Issei Tamura (145) vs. Tiequan Zhang (146)
*- Jackson will be fined 20% of his purse for missing weight
Ryan Bader (14-2) entered 2011 as one of the top prospects in the light heavyweight division. The former Arizona State wrester was 12-0 in his MMA career and on the cusp of getting a title shot.
At UFC 126 in February of 2011 Bader faced Jon Jones (15-1) in a battle of the light heavyweight division's brightest stars. Jones stopped Bader in the second round with a modified guillotine choke submission. Jones was offered a title shot after the fight, and Bader sunk back into the stacked light heavyweight division.
In July, Bader faced Tito Ortiz at UFC 132 in Las Vegas. Ortiz had not won a fight in five years and Bader came into the fight heavily favored. Ortiz, who was fighting for his job, locked in a guillotine choke and defeated Bader in the first round. Bader was suddenly lost in the very deep light heavyweight division.
Bader was born in Reno, NV, he attended McQueen High School, where he was the captain of both the football and wrestling teams. Bader was a two-time Nevada state wrestling champion was named the 2001 Nevada Defensive Player of the Year while guiding the football team to a state championship.
Bader wrestled at Arizona State from 2002-2005. He compiled 88 career wins and had a 37-18 record in duel meets. Bader won the Pac-10 championship in 2003 and 2004 at 197-pounds.
Bader won "The Ultimate Fighter Season 8," defeating Vinny Magalhaes in the show's finale. After winning his first five fights in the UFC, Bader ran into the buzz saw that is Jon Jones (we know how that turned out).
After suffering two consecutive defeats, Bader faced veteren Jason Brilz on the preliminary card at UFC 139. Bader turned in one of the most dominating performances of his career, knocking out Brilz in just over a minute.
Bader now faces Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (32-9) in the co-main event of UFC 144. Jackson is the most accomplished fighter that Bader has fought in his career. Jackson held the UFC Light Heavyweight Title, and fought in Pride FC from 2001-2006.
Bader looks to continue his climb back to the top of his division. A victory over Jackson elevates Bader back into contention at light heavyweight.
Join SB Nation Arizona today at approximately 8 p.m. PT/11 p.m. ET for live coverage and video of the official UFC 144 pre-fight press conference, being held in Saitama, Japan. Attending today's media event will be UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar and Arizona's own Ben Henderson. Also in expected to be in attendance are co-headlining light heavyweights Rampage Jackson and Ryan Bader, along with various other participants from Saturday night's roster.
UFC 144 takes place on February 25, 2012 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The UFC 144 fight card can be found below.
Lightweight Championship: Frankie Edgar vs. Ben Henderson
Light Heavyweight: Quinton Jackson vs. Ryan Bader
Heavyweight: Mark Hunt vs. Cheick Kongo
Welterweight: Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Jake Shields
Middleweight: Yushin Okami vs. Tim Boetsch
Featherweight: Hatsu Hioki vs. Bart Palaszewski
Lightweight: Anthony Pettis vs. Joe Lauzon
Preliminary card (FX):
Lightweight: Takanori Gomi vs. Eiji Mitsuoka
Bantamweight: Norifumi Yamamoto vs. Vaughan Lee
Middleweight: Riki Fukuda vs. Steve Cantwell
Bantamweight: Takeya Mizugaki vs. Chris Cariaso
Preliminary card (Facebook):
Featherweight: Zhang Tiequan vs. Issei Tamura
UFC 144 marks the UFC's return trip to the MMA crazed country of Japan. The UFC Lightweight Title is up for grabs as Frankie Edgar puts his belt on the line against Benson Henderson. Here are five things that I am looking foreword to for UFC 144.
1. A lightweight fight for the ages: Frankie Edgar and Benson Henderson are two of the most exciting fighters in the lightweight division. Henderson has won "Fight of the Night" three times while in Zuffa (WEC, UFC). Edgar's fight against Gray Maynard at UFC 125 was named "Fight of the Year" at the 2011 World MMA Awards. Not to be outdone, MMA Fighting named Henderson's victory against Donald Cerrone as the 2009 "Fight of the Year" and Henderson's loss against Antony Pettis as the 2010 "Fight of the Year."
Both Henderson and Edgar have great stamina and do not tire in the championship rounds. Edgar knockout out Maynard in the fourth round at UFC 136 and Henderson survived a fifth round "Superman Kick" from Anthony Pettis at WEC 53. With five "Fight of the Night" awards between them, Henderson and Edgar are primed to deliver a classic battle in the UFC 144 main event.
2. Seven fights on PPV: UFC fans got some good news a few weeks ago when it was announced that two more fights would be added to the main card. A featherweight bout between Hatsu Hioki and Bart Palaszewski and a middleweight clash between Yushin Okami and Tim Boetsch were added to an already stacked main card. Fight fans will get to see four hours of fights Saturday night. The UFC achivies not just quantity with this card but also quality, as fan friendly fights are all over this card. Anthony Pettis and Joe Lauzon clash to open the pay-per-view, former Strikeforce Welterweight Champion Jake Shields faces Yoshihiro Akiyama and the always entertaining Cheick Kongo faces Mark Hunt.
3. Rampage Jackson's return to Japan: As Quinton "Rampage" Jackson was getting stitched up after his loss to Jon Jones at UFC 135, he pleaded with UFC President Dana White to let him fight on the UFC's return to Japan. Jackson got his wish and returns to Japan where he fought in Pride FC from 2001-2006. Jackson compiled a 13-5 record while in the promotion and had wars with Wanderlei Silva and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. Jackson was one of the most popular fighters that Pride has ever seen and holds a substantial fan base in Japan.
4. Arizona fighters taking center stage: Arizona, quietly, has become a hot bed for mixed martial arts. With the strong wrestling program at Arizona State, and lush training grounds year round, the state of Arizona is attracting top MMA talent. At UFC 144, Arizona fighters Ben Henderson and Ryan Bader are competing in the main event and co-main event respectively. Henderson, is aiming at the UFC Lightweight Title, and Bader is looking for a career defining win over Rampage Jackson. After two straight losses to open up 2011, Bader brutally knocked out Jason Brilz at UFC 139. Bader wrestled at Arizona State and won two Pac-10 wrestling titles in 2003 and 2004. He finished his wrestling career with 88 career victories and now trains out of Power MMA in Gilbert. Henderson fights out of Glendale and is the former WEC Lightweight Champion. It is the first time for Henderson headlining a UFC event.
5. Watching Cheick Kongo fight: Most heavyweight fights in the UFC are exciting and Cheick Kongo is no exception. Kongo is always in a war and is one of the most exciting UFC fighters to watch. His fight agains Pat Barry was one of the most exciting fights of 2011 and one of the most impressive comebacks in UFC history. Kongo was knockout down and nearly out before he was able to fight back and knockout Barry. Kongo has 10 wins by knockout and three victories by submission.
The UFC returns to Japan for the first time since 2000 this Saturday night as they bring a stacked card to the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. Glendale's own Benson Henderson (15-2) challenges UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar (14-1-1) for his lightweight title in the main event.
In the co-main event, former Arizona State wrestler Ryan Bader (14-2) faces Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (32-9). UFC 144 features seven fights on pay-per-view and four on FX. Cheik Kongo, Jake Shields, Joe Lauzon and Anthony Pettis appear on the stacked pay-per-view portion of the card.
Edgar has defended his UFC Lightweight Title three times, including twice over Gray Maynard. Edgar defeated B.J. Penn in April of 2010 to win the title. Henderson held the WEC Lightweight Title from October 2009 to December 2010. He holds career victories over Jim Miller, Donald Cerrone (twice) and Clay Guida.
For a championship fight, the betting odds are very close. Edgar (-130) comes in as a slight favorite over Henderson (EV). The fight may move to even odds by the time they step into the Octagon on Saturday night.
Rampage Jackson (-265) is a solid favorite over Ryan Bader (+205). Bader ended a two fight losing streak with a KO victory over Jason Brilz at UFC 139. Jackson lost a title fight against Jon Jones last September. Jackson holds career victories over Lyoto Machida, Dan Henderson and Chuck Liddell.
Full UFC 144 betting odds below courtesy of bestfightodds.com. All odds used from Bodog.
Main Card (PPV):
UFC Lightweight Championship: Frankie Edgar (-130) vs. Benson Henderson (EV)
Light Heavyweight: Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (-265) vs. Ryan Bader (+205)
Lightweight: Anthony Pettis (-250) vs. Joe Lauzon (+195)
Preliminary Card (FX):
Preliminary Card (Facebook):
Glendale's Benson Henderson fights Frankie Edgar for the UFC Lightweight Title at UFC 144 this Saturday night in Japan.