The Fight Card
Preliminary card (Facebook)
* Featherweight bout: Zhang Tiequan vs. Issei Tamura
Preliminary card (FX)
* Bantamweight bout: Takeya Mizugaki vs. Chris Cariaso
* Middleweight bout: Riki Fukuda vs. Steve Cantwell
* Bantamweight bout: Norifumi Yamamoto vs. Vaughan Lee
* Lightweight bout: Takanori Gomi vs. Eiji Mitsuoka
* Lightweight bout: Anthony Pettis vs. Joe Lauzon
* Featherweight bout: Hatsu Hioki vs. Bart Palaszewski
* Middleweight bout: Yushin Okami vs. Tim Boetsch
* Welterweight bout: Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Jake Shields
* Heavyweight bout: Mark Hunt vs. Cheick Kongo
* Light Heavyweight bout: Quinton Jackson vs. Ryan Bader
* Lightweight Championship bout: Frankie Edgar vs. Ben Henderson
Who's Who of the Main Card
(courtesy of lionsdenu.com
Frankie Edgar vs. Ben Henderson
Frankie Edgar will finally have a new opponent when he squares off against Benson Henderson. Edgar has fought two guys in the last two years totaling four fights. He defeated BJ Penn Twice and had a draw against Maynard than defeated Maynard in his last fight. Benson Henderson since joining the UFC is undefeated. He is 3-0 and has won all three of his fights convincingly. Frankie Edgar has finally earned the respect he deserved and is in a lot of experts top 5 pound for pound list. The reason why Edgar is so successful in the lightweight division is because he does not really cut any weight. He is a natural 155er and trains at that weight. Edgar has become an all around fighter, he can do it all and that is why he is the UFC lightweight champion. His last fight vs Maynard, he survived an early assault where it looked like he was going to be finished at least a few times. He regrouped than took the fight to where he was comfortable. He then finished Gray Maynard in the 4th round to remain the champion.
Benson Henderson is a former WEC lightweight champion. He has rebounded quite nicely from being on the highlight reels for all the wrong reasons. In his last title defense he was the victim of one of the kicks of the decade, where Anthony Pettis jumped off the fence and did a super kick to knock him down. Henderson though is tough; he has never been knocked out and can take a beating to give a beating. Henderson is on a three fight win streak, defeating top notch opponents. Henderson will be a tough test for Edgar. Henderson is way bigger and way stronger than Edgar and he also can last five rounds. Henderson main strengths are his takedowns and his clinch. He will ground and pound you or just hold you up against the fence and beat you up. Frankie Edgar though has one of the best takedown defense in MMA and is quick on his feet. Edgar is an all around fighter, he can grapple and he can also strike. His boxing is one of the best in his division and he also has one of the biggest hearts in MMA. Edgar also can take punishment and still push the pace while doing so.
Quinton Jackson vs. Ryan Bader
The co main event will feature two hard hitting fighters. Rampage Jackson started his MMA career in Japan where he fought in the Pride Fighting Championship. He is a fan favorite and will definitely have the fan support in this fight against Bader. Ryan Bader since winning the Ultimate fighter has done fairly well in the UFC. His two losses have come by submission to the Champion Jon Jones and former champion Tito Ortiz. Bader has not defeated a top 10 opponent. Rampage is not the same Rampage but is still a tough opponent for anyone. Jackson possesses power in both hands and can end a fight quickly. Bader has to watch out for the power in Jacksons hands. Bader also has power, but he has good wrestling skills as well. If he wants to win this fight he will need to mix it up and keep Jackson guessing. He does not want to get in a slug fest with Jackson.
Mark Hunt vs. Cheick Kongo
This is a fight where we may see some fireworks. Both fighters are aggressive and always go for the kill. Cheik Kongo has not lost in four fights and is looking to get into title contention with a win over Mark Hunt. Kongo possesses great standup skills and can take you down and beat you up. He will have a reach advantage against Hunt. Hunt is a former K1 standout and is known for his striking. He is also known for having a granite chin. Kongo in his last fight was very conservative, he may have been afraid of the power his opponent possessed. He utilized leg kicks and did some damage on the ground. This may be a sign that Kongo is becoming a better all around fighter and not just using striking to win his fights. Mark Hunt is on a two fight win streak, and during that streak he has a knockout of the night.
Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Jake Shields
This is an important fight in the Welterweight division. Both fighters are on losing streaks and their jobs are in jeopardy if they lose this fight. Jake Shields was on a 15 fight win streak before losing two straight. He is a former number one contender but in his last fight vs Jake Ellenberger he lost in brutal fashion. Shields is really just a one dimensional fighter and he has struggled since joining the UFC. Akiyama on the other hand is riding a three fight losing streak. If he loses this fight he will most likely be cut. He has a 1-3 record in the UFC and he also has not been impressive since joining. Akiyama will make his 170 lb debut in this fight and it may be the right weight class for him. He was undersized in the middleweight division.
Yushin Okami vs. Tim Boetsch
Yushin Okami is fighting for the first time since losing to Anderson Silva where he fought him for the Middleweight championship. Okami is one of the strongest middleweights in the UFC. His game plan is simple; he wants to grind you out. That’s the type of style that Tim Boetsch has not fared well against in the past. That’s why he made the move to cut weight and move to the Middleweight division. Boetcsh is on a two fight winning streak since making his debut at Middleweight and has won both fights by decision. Okami has fought the best of the best in the division and will have an advantage fighting in his home country.
Anthony Pettis vs. Joe Lauzon
Both fighters are exciting and will put on a great show for the fans. Anthony Pettis was the last WEC lightweight champion. He will forever be remembered for his show time kick on Ben Henderson. Pettis though is more than that kick, he is a good overall fighter. He has world class striking and a very under rated ground game. Joe Lauzon is coming off one of the biggest victories in his career. He was a heavy underdog against Melvin Guillard and no one expected Lauzon to win the battle standing vs the explosive Guillard. Lauzon caught Guillard with a left hook than went for the kill by submitting him. Lauzon has had 11 fights in the UFC; he will definitely have the advantage in experience and fighting top notch opponents. The winner of this fight may be next in line for a title shot, or even.
Hatsu Hioki vs. Bart Palaszewski
Hatsu Hioki is a Japanese mixed martial artist signed to the Ultimate Fighting Championship competing in the featherweight division. He is the former Shooto Lightweight Champion and former Sengoku Featherweight Champion. Hioki is a long time Shooto veteran and has fought most of his fights in Japanese promotions including the largest Mixed Martial Arts organization at the time Pride Fighting Championships.
Hioki holds notable wins over Rumina Sato, Marlon Sandro, Masanori Kanehara, Lion Takeshi, Mark Hominick, George Roop, and Jeff Curran. All 4 losses have been by very close decisions, however currently all 4 of Hioki's decision losses are controversial.
Hioki is currently ranked the #2 featherweight in the world by Sherdog and #3 featherweight in the world by MMAWeekly.
Bart K. Palaszewski is a Polish-American mixed martial artist. He fought for the Quad City Silverbacks of the now defunct International Fight League. Following the UFC/WEC merger, Palaszewski is now under contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. As of November 2011, Palaszewski is ranked as the #9 featherweight fighter in the world by Sherdog.