The world’s premier mixed martial arts organization reloads and fires again on Friday as the UFC returns to FX for UFC on FX: Alves vs. Kampmann. TUF winner “The Crusher” Court McGee (12-1) will start the show against Constantinos Philippou (9-2) in a sluggers’ duel. “Mighty Mouse” Demetrious Johnson (12-2) will make UFC history in both the first flyweight UFC bout and the first UFC bout to potentially utilize a “sudden death” round as he squares off with “Uncle Creepy” Ian McCall (10-2). Former bantamweight title contender Joseph Benavidez (12-2) will face off with Shooto champion Yasuhiro Urushitani (16-4-5) and, in the main event, one-time welterweight title hopeful “The Pitbull” Thiago Alves (18-8) will do battle with the always dangerous “The Hitman” Martin Kampmann (18-5). The card is loaded with exciting strikers and every bout has first-round KO potential.
Last week, Ed Perdomo and Ben Lawrence worked a Bridge and Roll Side Mount Escape that left Ed under Ben’s turtle but free from immediate danger. For this week’s “Technique of the Week”, Ed will follow through on that escape by taking a dominant position of his own by sweeping Ben’s legs before he has the opportunity to sprawl out or shift his turtle to Ed’s side. This Knee Pick Sweep is quick and easy and moves directly into side control or quarter mount depending on the circumstances.
The Pettis name is one that has infiltrated the MMA media and fan forums for the past several years, largely due to former WEC Lightweight Champion “Showtime” Anthony Pettis’ (15-2) numerous highlight reel knockouts, overall dominance of the 155lbs. division, and high-flying kicks, including an off-the-cage kick, dubbed “The Showtime Kick”, over now UFC lightweight champ “Smooth” Ben Henderson (16-2). However, a new family member is making the value of the Pettis last name soar even higher – “The Phenom” Sergio Pettis (3-0), another Roufusport prodigy and Anthony’s younger brother, is making his own name in the sport. Eighteen-year-old Sergio has gone 3-0 as a professional fighter and 4-0 as an amateur and now looks to make the cut from his usual bantamweight class to flyweight for his May 4 match-up against “Bad Boy” Chris Haney (3-2) at NAFC: Colosseum in Sergio’s hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. MMA Gospel staff writer Matt Homeyer sat down with Sergio just hours before his brother’s main card fight at UFC 144 to discuss training with one of the top camps in the sport, sparring with one of the most eccentric strikers in the UFC, “stealing” nicknames, and how he feels about taking on the 125lbs. division.
MMA Gospel Radio is back and reborn as a podcast with snarky Twitter “celebrity” Spilled Bag of Ice at the helm and MMA Gospel staff writer Patrick Guera by his side. The new show promises more in-depth discussions, more expert panels, and more fighter interviews than ever before from a fan’s viewpoint and with an insider’s perspective. First up on the slate, SBoI and Director Patrick look back at UFC 144 – the controversy, the KO’s, the comebacks, and the “Sexyama”. They also look ahead to UFC on FX’s main event and flyweight tournament.
The subdued cheers of the respectful Japanese crowd have faded from the Saitama Super Arena. The Octagon has been taken down and “Smooth” Ben Henderson (15-2) has carried the UFC Lightweight Championship back to the United States. UFC 144: Edgar vs.Henderson is history, but the effects of the event on the fighters involved are far more lasting. Several fighters, such as Henderson or “Super Samoan” Mark Hunt (8-7), came out of the Saitama Super Arena far better than they went in. Others, such as Cheick Kongo (17-7-2) and “Thunder” Yushin Okami (26-7) suffered significant setbacks in their UFC careers. Several others faired much, much worse, damaging their images and careers in major ways and leaving themselves in precarious positions where if they get another chance, it will likely be their last. Here is “the Ugly” of UFC 144.
The UFC was wildly successful in its return to the Land of the Rising Sun, however, not all of the fighters who competed at UFC 144 can say the same. The awesome display of world class mixed martial arts action may have boosted several fighters to the next level, but as is always the case, not everyone can fully reap the benefits of fighting on a stacked, action packed card. After all, for every fighter who adds a highlight reel finish to their resume, there is another who has to hang his head every time that fighter’s promotional videos hit the screens. The fighters found here may not have suffered career-threatening defeats, but they did find themselves in an awkward position following the night’s action. At MMA Gospel, we refer to this circumstance as being in “the Bad”.
With the jumbo-sized UFC 144 card in the books, the time has come once again to take a look at the ripples the night’s fights left in the MMA pond. The main event saw “Smooth” Ben Henderson (15-2) capture lightweight gold from now former champion “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (14-2-1). In the co-main, an out of shape and seemingly lethargic “Rampage” Quinton Jackson (31-10) showed flashes of his old PRIDE hallmarks against “Darth” Ryan Bader (14-2) who showed up game and left with the win. “Super Samoan” Mark Hunt (8-7) broke .500 and continued his career resurgence by knocking out Cheick Kongo (17-7-2) in just over two minutes. “Sexyama” Yoshihiro Akiyama (14-6) impressed everyone but the judges in his welterweight debut against Jake Shields (27-6-1) while “The Barbarian” Tim Boetsch (15-4) continued his success as a 185er in a nail biting comeback against “Thunder” Yushin Okami (26-7). Japanese superstar Hatsu Hioki (24-4-2) dominated WEC contender and IFL vet “Bartimus” Bart Palaszewski (35-15), and “Showtime” Anthony Pettis (15-2) opened the night with a bang by knocking “J-Lau” Joe Lauzon (21-7) senseless early in the first round of their lightweight match-up. With 14 fighters to discuss, “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” will need to expand into a three-part, jumbo addition, so to the victors go the honors, let’s start with the Good.
The following fight bonuses were awarded for UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson
Submission of the Night:
Vaughan Lee (over Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto) receives $65,000
Knockout of the Night:
Anthony Pettis (over Joe Lauzon) receives $65,000
Fight of the Night:
Frankie Edgar and Ben Henderson each receive $65,000
—MAIN CARD (on Pay-Per-View)—
Frankie Edgar vs. Benson Henderson: Henderson via Unanimous Decision (49-46, 48-47, 49-46), Round 5, 5:00
Quinton Jackson vs. Ryan Bader: Bader via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
Mark Hunt vs. Cheick Kongo: Hunt via TKO (Punches), Round 1, 2:11
Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Jake Shields: Shields via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
Yushin Okami vs. Tim Boetsch: Boetsch via TKO (Punches), Round 3, 0:54
Hatsu Hioki vs. Bart Palaszewski: Hioki via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
Anthony Pettis vs. Joe Lauzon: Pettis via KO (Head Kick), Round 1, 1:21
Tonight the UFC stakes its claim in Saitama, Japan after over a decade-long hiatus in the nation to bring fans in the Saitama Super Arena and around the world an unprecedented seven-fight main card on Pay-Per-View, courtesy of UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson. Starting off the landmark event is a lightweight scrap between high-flying WEC veteran “Showtime” Anthony Pettis (14-2) and resilient submission connoisseur “J-Lau” Joe Lauzon (21-6). Former Shooto Lightweight Champion and Sengoku Featherweight Champion Hatsu Hioki (23-4-2) is set to battle with seasoned veteran “Bartimus” Bart Palaszewski (35-14). Former title challenger “Thunder” Yushin Okami (26-6) will meet former 205er “The Barbarian” Tim Boetsch (14-4) in a middleweight contest. Japanese sensation “Sexyama” Yoshihiro Akiyama (14-5) takes on NCAA Div. II wrestler and former Strikeforce 185lbs. king Jake Shields (26-6-1), followed by what is sure to be a striking clinic between heavyweight kickboxers “Super Samoan” Mark Hunt (7-7) and Cheick Kongo (17-6-2). The co-main event sees former PRIDE superstar and UFC light heavyweight champ “Rampage” Quinton Jackson (31-9) face a very determined prospect in “Darth” Ryan Bader (13-2). Capping off the four-hour PPV card, “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (14-1-1) makes his fourth title defense, this time against former WEC Lightweight Champion and multiple-time “Fight of the Night” winner “Smooth” Ben Henderson (14-2). Who will shine at tonight’s UFC 144? Only time will truly tell, but in the meantime, MMA Gospel’s staff members take a stab at predicting how the night will go down.
After ten long years the UFC is returning to the Land of the Rising Sun and the former stage of the legendary PRIDE FC with a record-setting seven-fight main card on Pay-Per-View. Former WEC 155lbs. champion “Showtime” Anthony Pettis (14-2) and “J-Lau” Joe Lauzon (21-6) are slated for battle in the opening bout of UFC 144. Former Sengoku featherweight king Hatsu Hioki (23-4) will face IFL and WEC veteran “Bartimus” Bart Palaszewski (35-14). Former middlweight title contender “Thunder” Yushin Okami (26-6) will fight for the first time in Japan since 2006, his opponent the rough and tough “Barbarian” Time Boetsch (14-4) who seems to have reformed his career at 185lbs. Former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion and former 170lbs. title contender Jake Shields (26-6) looks to avoid three straight losses when he faces Japanese superstar “Sexyama” Yoshihiro Akiyama (14-5). PRIDE and K-1 powerhouse “Super Samoan” Mark Hunt (7-7) will bring his granite chin and bone breaking kickboxing against fellow striker Cheick Kongo (17-6). Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion “Rampage” Quinton Jackson (31-9), also of PRIDE fame, returns to the stage that started his career when he faces TUF 8 winner “Darth” Ryan Bader (13-2). The main event of the night pits the UFC’s 155lbs. king – “The Comeback Kid”, “The Ironhorse of New Jersey”, “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (14-1) – against the former WEC lightweight title holder “Smooth” Benson Henderson (14-2) with the winner earning the title of the best 155lbs. fighter in the world.
—MAIN CARD (on Pay-Per-View)—
Frankie Edgar: 154lbs.
Benson Henderson: 154lbs.
Quinton Jackson: 211lbs.*
Ryan Bader: 205lbs.
Mark Hunt: 264lbs.
Cheick Kongo: 229lbs.
Yoshihiro Akiyama: 169lbs.
Jake Shields: 170lbs.
Yushin Okami: 185lbs.
Tim Boetsch: 186lbs.
Hatsu Hioki: 145lbs.
Bart Palaszewski: 146lbs.
Anthony Pettis: 155lbs.
Joe Lauzon: 156lbs.
It’s been some time but the UFC will make its long awaited return to Japan this Saturday with UFC 144. Lightweights are charged with kicking off the main card when “J-Lau” Joe Lauzon (21-6) encounters “Showtime” Anthony Pettis (14-2). Japanese sensation Hatsu Hioki (23-4-2) will meet “Bartimus” Bart Palaszewski (35-13) and “Thunder” Yushin Okami (26-6) takes on “The Barbarian” Tim Boetsch (14-4). Jake Shields (26-6-1) and “Sexyama” Yoshihiro Akiyama (14-5) engage in a promising welterweight showdown. Cheick Kongo (17-6-2) could be in for a kickboxing clinic when he battles K-1 veteran “Super Samoan” Mark Hunt (7-7). Before “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (14-1-1) defends his lightweight title against “Smooth” Ben Henderson (14-2) in the main event, a co-main event of epic proportions has been set as “Darth” Ryan Bader (13-2) flies to foreign territory to take on “Rampage” Quinton Jackson (31-9). Jackson, an accomplished veteran, and Bader, a promising star, are at pivotal points in their careers and a victory at UFC 144 can be the very defining moment on which to perch their futures.
“The Answer” Frankie Edgar (14-1-1) is set to face “Smooth” Ben Henderson (14-2) this Saturday in the Saitama Super Arena for the main event of UFC 144. Rather than return to Japan with the standard five-fight main card, the UFC has elected to deliver a four-hour Pay-Per-View featuring seven feature bouts. “Rampage” Quinton Jackson (31-9) and “Darth” Ryan Bader (13-2) draw duties as the co-main event fighters. “Sexyama” Yoshihiro Akiyama (14-5) faces Jake Shields (26-6-1) to anchor the card. Former WEC champ “Showtime” Anthony Pettis (14-2) will open the card against “J-Lau” Joe Lauzon (21-6) and bouts between “Thunder” Yushin Okami (26-6) and “The Barbarian” Tim Boetsch (14-4), and Hatsu Hioki (23-4-2) and “Bartimus” Bart Palaszewski (35-14) will round out the event. Supporting the two showcased bouts will be a heavyweight strikers duel between “Super Samoan” Mark Hunt (7-7) and Cheick Kongo (17-6-2). Each man has different motivations and goals for the match and brings a different flavor of K-1 level kickboxing to the table in what could very well wind up the front runner among the most entertaining bouts of the evening.