UFC 144 Full Fight Card and Predictions
UFC 144 ladies and gentlemen in Japan! Featuring Frankie Edgar vs. Ben Henderson for the LW title, Rampage Jackson and his 6lbs of disrespect vs. Ryan Bader and his extra 50k, Kid Yamamtoa, Mizugaki, Anthony Pettis vs. Joe Lauzon in a #1 contender match (possibly), Takanori Gomi in possibly his last UFC fight (if he loses again) Hatsu hioki and Bart Palaszewski in a great FW bout, Akiyama in his WW debut and Mark Hunt chasing HW dreams vs. Cheick Kongo. This card has Best card of the year potential. Take out a few of the known fighters and focus on the lighter guys you aren’t familiar with, all of them are B E A S T S! Real beasts with something to prove, be it hometown pride or making a statement in Japan, they got lots to prove and the skills to make it exciting. Don’t sleep on this card. As usual my pics are in green. Agree, disagree? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section. Enjoy.
- Lightweight Championship bout: Frankie Edgar (c) vs. Ben Henderson
The LW title has been on hold for ever it feels like, Frankie Edgar has fought the same 2 people (Gray Maynard and BJ Penn) 52 times in the last 2 years (I know it’s only been 5, but come on, that’s ridiculous!) Ben Henderson has beat some of the toughest opponents in the division while in the WEC, Cerrone, Varner, Shane Roller, Anthony Njokuani with a sole loss to Anthony Pettis in a very close decision. Not to mention Jim Miller and Clay Guida. For this fight, he’s bigger and stronger than before. It’s a tough bout to call, the toughest on the card I believe. Frankie is fast, has amazing footwork and KO power, Ben is fast, strong, and has great ground skills and unreal flexibility. I thnk his size and strength are gonna be the deciding factor, I’m going with Benson Henderson by Decision and FOTN.
- Light Heavyweight bout: Quinton Jackson vs. Ryan Bader
Rampage came in 6lbs heavy (5lbs if you count for overage) while Bader came in at weight. I’m calling it 6lbs of disrespect. Rampage’s last loss was to jon Jones in a title fight, Bader is comig off a huge KO victory after his loss to Tito Ortiz. What looked like a tough fight, but a good move for Bader is now a sh!tty situation. If he wins, Rampage was ‘injured’ and came in heavy, if he loses it was to a heavier opponent. The shine on this fight has been rubbed off. Thanks Rampage. Despite the weight advantage, and his heavy hands, I’m gonna go with Bader on this one. I think Bader is prepared for what Rampage is bringing. Bader by Decision. Exciting Decision, but Decision.
- Heavyweight bout: Mark Hunt vs. Cheick Kongo
Mark Hunt is have a career resurgence. His walk off KO over Chris Tuchscherer and decision victory over Ben Rothwell landed him a multi fight contract with the UFC. Cheick Kongo is the perennial ‘gatekeeper’ of the HW division. Known for some questionable tactics in the Octagon™ and heavy hands, this could be a great fight. I don’t see a decision coming out of this one. I believe Hunt has the tougher chin and heavier hands, so I’m gonna go with Mark Hunt by TKO/KO.
- Welterweight bout: Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Jake Shields
Akiyama is another of the fighters consistently ranked in the top ten, that I don’t understand. He was ALWAYS and undersized MW, always! He got caught greasing his body against Sakuraba, and was always accused but never proven to be greasing his Judo Gi. He is a true warrior, he will go toe to toe with anyone, remember the Chris Leben fight? Jake Shields is a top ten fighter coming off a big KO loss to Jake Ellenberger and a decision loss to GSP. Jake is on a mission to prove he belongs in the upper echelon of the WW division. Akiyama is debuting at WW, in front of his home crowd…Akiyama I think will be faster, stronger and better at this weight, which may prove too much for Jake. I think Jake will rely on his wrestling and look for a sub, leaving him open to Akiyama’s stand up, remember him going toe to toe with Leben? I’m gonna say Akiyama by sub.
- Middleweight bout: Yushin Okami vs. Tim Boetsch
Yushin Okami is always rated at the top of the lists in MW, I’ve never really understood it, he was thoroughly outclassed and outmatched by Anderson Silva, Chael Sonnen and Rich Franklin. Tim Boestch is on a tear since moving down to MW, he’s faster, stronger and just plain better at this weight. I think he takes it to Okami just like the 3 i previously mentioned, and he does it by TKO/KO. Tim Boetsch by TKO/KO.
- Featherweight bout: Hatsu Hioki vs. Bart Palaszewski
I’m a BIG Hatsu Hioki fan, and I’m a BIG Bart Palaszewski fan. I don’t want to see this fight, and at the same time I WANT to see this fight. AAARRRGHHH! Hatsu beat George Roop dammit! That’s impressive. Bartimus beat everybody! Seriously, he’s got wins over Pettis, Alex Karalexis and many others. Regardless, I’m gonna go with Hatsu, since he also beat Marlon Sandro, I know none of my reasoning makes sense on this one, just go with me here. Hatsu Hioki by decision, watch for him to make a title run soon too.
- Lightweight bout: Anthony Pettis vs. Joe Lauzon
Where to begin? JLo is the man, always the underdog, yet he pulls it out time and time again. Anthony Pettis is a new breed of MMA fighter, with tons of skills and tricks. If this fight does’t deliver, I’m gonna be pissed! I like Pettis, feel he’s never the one to bet against, but Lauzon is always the underdog, always. This is the 2nd hardest bout for me to pick on this card. I agree with MMABadass.com (check out his predictions contest too!) that Pettis is overlooking Jlo, a big mistake, which will lead to him getting subbed or TKO/KO’d. That’s my pick dammit, Joe Lauzon by sub or TKO/KO.
Preliminary card (FX)
- Lightweight bout: Takanori Gomi vs. Eiji Mitsuoka
Takanori Gomi was at one point the best LW in the world, as with Kid Yamamoto, those days are long since past. Gomi is coming off back to back losses to Nate Diaz (Nick beat Gomi in one of the best fights ever years ago, youtube it) and Clay Guida, he;s gone 3-5 in his last 8. Eiji is a veteran of Pride, Dream and WVR with a solid record and some notable wins over HellBoy (Joachim Hansen) he also made it to the Dream GP finals last year. He’s strong, and tough, as is Gomi. THe question is, who wants it more…Gomi know’s this is his last chance to make something happen in the UFC and Eiji is making his debut. I would like to pick Gomi by TKO/KO, but I’m feeling like Eiji Mitsuoka will eek out a decision, that’s my pick. Eiji Mitsuoka by decision.
- Bantamweight bout: Norifumi Yamamoto vs. Vaughan Lee
Kid Yamamoto was at one point the pound for pound best in MMA, he was considered the best LW, then FW in the world for sometime, those days are gone. He now fights at BW, and has had a tough time figuring out the intricacies of MMA in the UFC. Vaughn Lee lost a split decision to Chris Cariaso in his last outing, he know for finishing fights or being finished, it’s a good matchup for the Stand up centric Kid. I expect this to be an exciting fight, with Kid returning to form and winning by TKO/KO (more than likely, Vaughn will win by sub).
- Middleweight bout: Riki Fukuda vs. Steve Cantwell
Riki Fukuda is a tough fighter, as is Steve Cantwell, this a sleeper bout, it could sneak up and be one of the best on the card. Riki is coming off a controversial loss to Nick Ring (Dana White felt Riki won and paid him his win bonus) while Cantwell is on a 4 fight losing streak, all 4 bouts were great scraps and Steve has heart, which is why he’s being given a 5th chance compete in the Octagon™. Given Cantwell’s record, and Riki’s desire to put the last loss behind him, I’m goin with Riki Fukuda by decision.
- Bantamweight bout: Takeya Mizugaki vs. Chris Cariaso
Takeya Mizugaki is a scrapper, a tough scrapper who was the first fighter to take Miguel Torres to the Champoionship Rounds in his career. Hie’ coming off a nice TKO victory over Cole Escovedo, but he’s been inconsistent in his past 8 fights, going 4-4. Chris Cariaso Is also a WEC.UFC vet with the same inconsistent record over his last 4 fights, going 2-2. This is a step in competition for Chris, and a test of where Mizugaki belongs in the division, is he a ‘gatekeeper’? I’m gonna go with Mizugaki based upon his toughness and willingness to dig deep. Mizugaki by TKO/KO.
Preliminary card (Facebook)
- Featherweight bout: Zhang Tiequan vs. Issei Tamura
Zhang is a WEC/UFC vet, while Issei is a Shooto vet. Shooto is a great organization, but I think the tougher fights have been in the WEC/UFC. Because of that I’m going with Zhang Tiequan by decision. A billion Chinese can’t be wrong, right?
Rumble young man Rumble