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
Light Heavyweight: Quinton "Rampage" Jackson vs. Ryan Bader
Heavyweight: Cheick Kongo vs. Mark Hunt
Welterweight: Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Jake Shields
Middleweight: Tim Boetsch vs. Yushin Okami
Featherweight: Hatsu Hioki vs. Bart Palaszewski
Lightweight: Anthony Pettis vs. Joe Lauzon
Preliminary Card (FX- 6 PM):
Lightweight: Takanori Gomi vs. Eiji Mitsuoka
Bantamweight: Vaughan Lee vs. Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto
Middleweight: Steve Cantwell vs. Riki Fukuda
Bantamweight: Chris Cariaso vs. Takeya Mizugaki
Preliminary Card (Facebook- 5:30 PM):
Featherweight: Issei Tamura vs. Tiequan Zhang