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)
Heavyweight: Cheick Kongo (-300) vs. Mark Hunt (+230)
Welterweight: Jake Shields (-300) vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama (+230)
Middleweight: Yushin Okami (-475) vs. Tim Boetsch (+325)
Featherweight: Hatsu Hioki (-195) vs. Bart Palaszewski (+155)
Lightweight: Anthony Pettis (-250) vs. Joe Lauzon (+195)
Preliminary Card (FX):
Lightweight: Takanori Gomi (-255) vs. Eiji Mitsuoka (+175)
Bantamweight: Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto (-400) vs. Vaughan Lee (+300)
Middleweight: Riki Fukuda (-300) vs. Steve Cantwell (+230)
Bantamweight: Takeya Mizugaki (-200) vs. Chris Cariaso (+160)
Preliminary Card (Facebook):
Featherweight: Zhang Tiequan (-300) vs. Issei Tamura (+230)