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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
UFC 144: EDGAR VS. HENDERSON
FEBRUARY 25, 2012
LIVE FROM SAITAMA, JAPAN
=====Facebook Preliminary Card Bout=====
*Issei Tamura def. Tie Quan Zhang via KO at :32 of the second round
=====FX Preliminary Card=====
-Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan open up the FX broadcast and talk about the storied history of MMA and martial arts in Japan before running down the main event tonight. They then talked about the co-main between Rampage and Ryan Bader before throwing to our first fight of the night.
FIGHT ONE: TAKEYA MIZUGAKI VS. CHRIS CARIASO (BANTAMWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Cariaso threw a left body kick early. Mizugaki walked him down and landed a leg kick. Cariaso went high with a kick again but it was blocked. Cariaso closed the distance and clinched, then separated with a nice right. Cariaso connected on a couple more strikes. Mizugaki tried to get in with a takedown but Cariaso held him off. Cariaso landed a nice left that staggered Mizugaki briefly. Mizugaki landed a left, then the two clinched. Mizugaki scored a much needed takedown against the cage. He landed a left in the guard. Cariaso went for an omoplata, but Mizugaki got loose and dropped back into guard with a strike. Mizugaki landed a nice left, but Cariaso continued to mostly keep him in check. Cariaso landed a couple of short elbows from the bottom. Mizugaki connected on a few strikes, but Cariaso landed a few more strikes from the bottom and held him off.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Cariaso. Mizugaki is likely going to take it from the judges for being on top for half the round, but he didn't do much of anything and Cariaso was attacking from his back and was the better striker in the round.
ROUND TWO: Mizugaki got Cariaso to the cage early after eating a counter-strike. Cariaso got loose and they stood again. Cariaso threw a high kick that almost landed flush. Cariaso got in a nice left and he began stalking. Mizugaki walked him back and missed a couple of punches. Mizugaki shot in and clinched. Cariaso turned Mizugaki around. He landed a good knee to the body. Mizugaki then pulled off a trip takedown against the cage again and Cariaso got him into guard. Cariaso tried to kick Mizugaki off, but Mizugaki dropped back in with another big right. Cariaso pulled off an excellent sweep, but Mizugaki spun out and got to his feet. Cariaso clinched again and ate a short elbow as the round ended.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Mizugaki. Cariaso wasn't as active on his back, though he did pull off that nice sweep, and wasn't as effective as in the first round to negate the takedown and strikes of Mizugaki.
ROUND THREE: Cariaso threw the head kick again early and Mizugaki clinched up. They jockeyed for position against the cage. Mizugaki landed a good knee, and Cariaso dropped for a single leg. Mizugaki held it off. Cariaso separated with short combination. He landed a straight left and shot in, clinching Mizugaki on the cage. Quick stat shows total strikes very close between the two. Cariaso landed another short combo. He slipped on a head kick attempt and Mizugaki dropped into his guard. Mizugaki was holding control, but wasn't doing much. He stayed busy enough to not be stood up, but didn't land much. Mizugaki tried to pass, but Cariaso put him right back into guard. Cariaso got to his feet, and they traded strikes to end the round.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Cariaso. Mizugaki again did nothing but stay on top when it got down, and he was getting out-struck for three minutes of that round before Cariaso slipped. This is going to be a close decision, with three very close rounds, but I'm expecting Mizugaki to have gotten the nod.
WINNER: Cariaso via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
STAR RATING: (**-) It wasn't a terribly exciting fight, but there was some solid technical work from both, and Cariaso actually got rewarded for smart work off his back.
FIGHT TWO: RIKI FUKUDA VS. STEVE CANTWELL (MIDDLEWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Fukuda scored a takedown quickly and began landing strikes to the body as Cantwell tried to keep control of him. Cantwell tried to attack from the bottom, but Fukuda got loose and started landing strikes from the top. Cantwell kicked Fukuda off and got to his feet. Cantwell broke free and landed a knee. Cantwell landed a good kick to the leg. He got in another good kick to the body. Cantwell landed a hard right. Fukuda tried to set up a takedown, but Cantwell stuffed it. Fukuda landed an inside leg kick. Cantwell held off another takedown attempt and Fukuda faceplanted. He got back up and ate a body kick from Cantwell. Fukuda landed the inside leg kick. Fukuda scored with a couple of strikes. Fukuda landed an uppercut. He backed Cantwell to the cage. Cantwell went for a superman punch but it didn't appear to land. He landed a right to the body, but ate a kick. Cantwell landed a right. Fukuda connected on a few leg kicks in succession. He blocked a high kick. Cantwell went for another one and jumped with a knee that missed as the round ended.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Fukuda. Cantwell got in some good offense, but Fukuda effectively worked his ground and pound after the takedown, and got in some effective strikes standing as well.
ROUND TWO: Fukuda landed a body kick and a couple more to the leg. Cantwell landed a hard inside leg kick. Fukuda landed a nice kick. He shot in for a takedown but Cantwell caught him in a guillotine. Fukuda defended well and got free and they both stood. Fukuda landed a few good strikes in the clinch, Cantwell then returned some. Fukuda again landed a few strikes and then shot in. Cantwell stuffed that attempt. Cantwell landed a right. Fukuda connected on a nice combination, then landed a shot to the body. Fukuda landed a nice short flurry and Cantwell just backed up to the cage. Fukuda continued throwing strikes to the body and mixing in punches to the head. Cantwell went for a spinning elbow, but it missed, and Fukuda was picking him apart on the cage. He finally connected on a strike to get him off the cage. Fukuda landed the leg kick again and connected on a few strikes. Cantwell landed a left. Nice stat of Fukuda landing 19 clinch strikes to 8 for Cantwell. Fukuda landed a few more in close and effectively swayed away from the counter strikes. Fukuda landed a nice left uppercut. Another nice combination landed by Fukuda. Fukuda landed a kick low on Cantwell. Fukuda slipped on the kick a little bit and his toe went right into Cantwell's groin. Cantwell was alright to continue. Cantwell ducked under a punch and scored a takedown, but Fukuda stood right up as Cantwell tried to take his back at the end of the round.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Fukuda. Very nice round of offense from Fukuda. Cantwell can't allow himself to be stuck on the cage like that eating shots in the third.
ROUND THREE: Fukuda walked Cantwell down early. The total strikes stat shown was big in favor of Fukuda. Fukuda went back to the leg kicks. He clinched and landed an uppercut as Cantwell backed away. Cantwell landed a right. Fukuda connected on a straight right and a couple more strikes. Cantwell went high with a kick but it was blocked. Fukuda connected on another short combination, then went for the takedown on the cage. He completed it. Cantwell tried to go for an armbar, but Fukuda got out. Cantwell tried to kick out and landed on all fours with Fukuda on his back. He rolled and Fukuda got side control. Cantwell worked back to his feet. Cantwell was gassed, and Fukuda teed off on him against the cage with strikes to the head and body. Fukuda landed a couple of hard body kicks. Another big body shot. Fukuda started teeing off on Cantwell again. Fukuda continued landing hard shots to the body. He landed a straight left and another body kick. Excellent performance from Fukuda as the round ended.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Fukuda. That was close to a 10-8 round, and Fukuda was immensely smart in mixing up strikes to the head and body throughout.
WINNER: Fukuda via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
STAR RATING: (**) That was some excellent and smart offensive work from Fukuda in that fight. He drained Cantwell early, then just teed off on him in the second and third. Very good fight from him. For Cantwell, that was his fifth straight loss in the UFC, the first time any fighter has lost five straight in the Octagon.
FIGHT THREE: "KID" YAMAMOTO VS. VAUGHAN LEE (BANTAMWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Lee took the center and tried to walk Yamamoto down early. Both fighters felt each other out early. Lee got in and landed a few strikes. Kid clinched and then landed a kick to the body as he separated. Lee landed a short flurry that sent Kid down, but Yamamoto got back to his feet. Kid landed a huge right hook that staggered Lee and he went all out trying to finish. Lee covered up really well and recovered. Lee rushed in with a short combo and then connected on a flying knee that hurt Yamamoto. Great back and forth action here. Lee walked Yamamoto down again. Lee landed a big flurry that hurt Yamamoto, but as he rushed in Yamamoto took him down. He got right to a triangle choke, then turned it into an armbar, and Yamamoto was forced to tap. That was an incredible fight.
WINNER: Lee via submission (armbar) at 4:29 of the first round
STAR RATING: (***+) That was an incredible back and forth fight. Lee got caught by a tough punch and then smartly covered up to weather the storm, then he hurt Yamamoto twice before rushing in and getting taken down. Then he went for that triangle and turned it into the armbar. Brilliant stuff, and just an immensely exciting back and forth fight. Heartbreaking for Yamamoto's longtime fans, but what a great performance by Lee.
-They show a short video package of Rampage about his break in Japan in Pride. Rogan and Goldberg still haven't mentioned the fact that he missed weight as they talk him up.
FIGHT FOUR: TAKANORI GOMI VS. EIJI MITSUOKA (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Mitsuoka took the center and landed a couple of short punches early. He connected to the jaw of Gomi and then popped back out. Gomi left his arms hanging low. Mitsuoka landed a nice jab. He connected on a left hook. Mitsuoka got it to the cage and looked for a takedown. Gomi landed a few knees to the body, but ate a few strikes from Mitsuoka as well. Mitsuoka connected on a couple of solid punches. Mitsuoka again connected with a right. The offense from both slowed down for a bit. Gomi landed a right, but then he got caught by a ounce from Mitsuoka. Mitsuoka walked him down and landed a couple of strikes against the cage. He landed a left uppercut. Gomi landed a leg kick. He got in another but ate a right. Mitsuoka certainly not afraid to trade strikes with Gomi. He landed a few in combination. Gomi landed a body kick. Mitsuoka dropped Gomi with a big right. He got the mount and Gomi gave up his back. He got Gomi in a mounted triangle from the back, but Gomi made it to the horn. Wow.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-8 Mitsuoka. He was already out-striking Gomi, but add in a knockdown and a very close submission at the end and that's a big start for Mitsuoka.
ROUND TWO: Mitsuoka came quickly across the cage. Gomi landed a couple of kicks. Mitusoka landed a short combo. Gomi started throwing wildly. He backed Mitsuoka up and landed a few but missed a lot more. Gomi started teeing off, but then Mitsuoka got Gomi on the cage and went for a single leg. Gomi stayed up and landed a few big uppercuts. He started landing some big punches but Mitsuoka got away. Gomi took a deep breath. He then landed another big flurry, and Mitsuoka went for a single leg. Gomi continued landing short strikes, then he rolled around and got Mitsuoka's back. He started throwing strikes and Mitsuoka was only covering up. The ref told him he needed to fight back, and as he failed to do that it was stopped. Wow, huge comeback by Gomi.
WINNER: Gomi via TKO at 2:21 of the second round
STAR RATING: (***) Another great back and forth fight. Mitsuoka nearly pulled off the upset in the first after knocking Gomi down and nearly pulling off the mounted triangle from the back. 30 seconds more in that round and it would have been over. Then Gomi rushed back in the second with a fury, and took the fight right back after a bad start. Awesome stuff, and a great way to cap off the prelims.
-Gomi took the microphone and spoke to the Japanese crowd to a big reaction.
-Joe Rogan and Dana White give the final hard-sell before the pay-per-view.
-The pay-per-view opened with a cool short video package tracing fighter's roots to Japan with their return, then went to the new pay-per-view opening video package. After running down the night's card for those tuning in now for the pay-per-view broadcast, we go to the first of seven fights on this main card.
FIGHT FIVE: ANTHONY PETTIS VS. JOE LAUZON (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Pettis went with a high kick early but Lauzon blocked it. He landed an inside leg kick. Lauzon tried to walk him down and he got in with a short right. Pettis threw a short flurry with a couple getting through. Pettis again landed a short flurry. He threw a side kick to the body. He backed away from a rush by Lauzon. He landed a head kick that sent Lauzon crashing down. He followed up with a few strikes and the fight is all over! Lauzon was out cold. Holy hell.
WINNER: Pettis via KO at 1:21 of the first round
STAR RATING: (***+) Pettis stole the "Knockout of the Night" from Issei Tamura right there. Pettis is such a good striker, and he's capable of doing that in any fight. Another amazing highlight from "Showtime."
-Pettis said he knows this is where he belongs, he thinks he's the best in the lightweight division and he said he's coming for the belt. Pettis gave Ben Henderson credit for his run and he hopes Henderson wins so he can get his rematch.
-They air a preview for UFC 145 "Jones vs. Evans"
FIGHT SIX: HATSU HIOKI VS. BART PALASZEWSKI (FEATHERWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Hioki dropped Palaszewski early with a left, but Palaszewski popped back up. Hioki landed a kick to the body. Hioki landed a few jabs. He got in another punch, then a couple of kicks to the body. Hioki landed another hard jab. Hioki grabbed for a single leg, but Palaszewski grabbed a guillotine choke. Hioki popped out and got into half guard. He passed excellently into side control and went for the mounted crucifix. He landed a series of short strikes as Palaszewski tried to cover up. Palaszewski continued to cover up, then gave up his back. Hioki took it, then went for an armbar. Palazewski rolled through, and wound up in an omoplata. He got him back to the ground but Palaszewski regained guard. Great sequence. Hioki postured up and landed a nice elbow. He postured up and landed some more strikes on the ground. Palaszewski tried to control his wrists with time running out in the round.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Hioki. Excellent, excellent start by Hatsu Hioki. He looks completely different than he did in the fight against George Roop and he could be well on his way to a win that gets him a title shot here.
ROUND TWO: Hioki landed a kick to the body early on. He went high with a kick but it didn't connect. Hioki continued aiming strikes at the body. Palaszewski connected on a nice two punch combo. He landed a leg kick on the outside. Hioki landed a left. Another strike to the body landed from Hioki. Hioki went high with a kick that just grazed Palaszewski. Palaszweski got in a hard punch to the body. Hioki connected on a nice jab. Palaszewski came forward with a leg kick. He connected on another one. Hioki landed a body kick. Palaszewski got in with another jab. Hioki got in a few leg kicks, and Palaszewski returned the favor. He landed a hard leg kick again, then a body punch. Hioki has slowed considerably. Palaszewski landed another leg kick. Hioki connected on a low kick but Palaszewski restarted immediately. He landed a nice jab and an inside leg kick. That one may have gone low, and Hioki took a second to recover. Palaszewski landed an nice right. He rushed in with a short combo. Hioki landed a couple of body kicks. Palaszewski landed a nice two punch combo. Hioki shot for a takedown late but didn't complete it.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Palaszewski. Hioki's output slowed considerably, and Palaszewski picked it up in the latter half of the round. Close round, but I'm leaning towards Palaszewski.
ROUND THREE: Palaszewski came out swinging, and connected on a couple of strikes. Hioki shot in and Palaszewski held him off in the clinch. Hioki completed a trip and got the fight to the ground. Palaszewski tried to hold control of him, but Hioki got to side control. Palaszewski regained half guard. Hioki got back to side control again and landed a couple of elbows. Palaszewski's time is running out to get back in this fight. Palaszewski landed knees to Hioki's back, but ate a bunch of strikes. Palaszewski tried to spin out, but gave up his back. He tried to stand, but Hioki got the hooks in. Hioki went for the rear naked choke, but Palaszewski defended well. Hioki landed a nice elbow. Hioki pulled Palaszewski down and landed strikes with both hooks in. Palaszewski continued to defend and Hioki landed a few more elbows. Hioki went for an arm as the round ended to take the fight.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Hioki. He took the fight back by going to his major advantage here, and had another great round against a tough Palaszewski here.
WINNER: Hioki via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
STAR RATING: (**+) Solid fight. Hioki had an excellent first round and a more than serviceable third round to pick up a very good second win in the UFC. He looked a lot more like a title-worthy contender in this bout than he did against Roop, and a fight between Hioki and Jose Aldo is a very intriguing matchup.
FIGHT SEVEN: YUSHIN OKAMI VS. TIM BOETSCH (MIDDLEWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Boetsch landed a couple of strikes early. He barely missed a big right. Okami got in a nice left. Okami landed a hard right and Boetsch put his hand up to his face. Okami landed another right that briefly staggered Boetsch. He threw a high kick that was blocked. Okami again connected on the straight right. Okami connected on another left. Boetsch tried to land a couple of strikes. He shot in but Okami shrugged him off. Boetsch was cut open under the left eye. Okami with another big combination. Boetsch tried to reach in with a big right but it didn't land. Okami connected on a high kick to the face. Boetsch landed a few hard body kicks. Okami again landed the jab. Boetsch landed a leg kick inside. Okami tagged him with a jab. Okami went for the head kick but Boetsch blocked it. Boetsch landed a nice counter right. He connected again on a right. He started walking forward. He landed another nice right after covering up. Boetsch again with a right. Okami landed a hard knee to the body. The round ended.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Okami. Very good start for Okami on the feet. His striking is crisp, and he's already cut Boetsch open on both sides of his face.
ROUND TWO: Okami landed a few early punches, and got in another hard knee to the body. Boetsch went up high with a kick but it was blocked. They clinched as Okami missed a punch and he pressed Boetsch to the cage. Okami tried to work for a takedown, but Boetsch held him off. He completed a takedown, but Boetsch grabbed a guillotine. Okami got to half guard. Okami stayed patient and defended the choke, and finally popped out. Okami tried to pass to mount but Boetsch avoided that. Okami continued to try to pass, but Boetsch kept him in half guard. Okami went for a kimura and used it to pass to mount. He stayed on the arm, but then let it go. He started landing some big strikes in the mount, but Boetsch tried to buck him off. Okami finished the round landing strikes on top.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Okami. Another clear round for Okami, and he's putting forth an excellent performance right now.
ROUND THREE: Boetsch came out swinging and landed some nice strikes early. He hurt Okami with a big punch then started following him up. He landed a huge series of uppercuts on the cage that had Okami wobbled. He continued landing strikes and Okami dropped hard to the canvas. Boetsch landed a few more strikes on the ground and the fight was stopped. That was an incredible, incredible, and unlikely comeback. Wow.
WINNER: Boetsch via TKO at :54 of the third round
STAR RATING: (****-) That was one of the craziest come from behind wins in UFC history. Okami was dominating this fight, bullying Boetsch for ten minutes and just beating him up on the feet and on the ground. Then Boetsch came out with that flurry and, holy hell, those uppercuts against the cage! That was an incredible finish, and an incredible fight.
FIGHT EIGHT: JAKE SHIELDS VS. YOSHIHIRO AKIYAMA (WELTERWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Akiyama came forward immediately and took the center. Shields threw a few leg kicks. He connected on a right and tried to grab a hold of Akiyama but didn't have a good grip. Shields landed a left and a body kick. Shields shot in for a single leg. Akiyama tried to hold him off and Shields got him to the cage. Akiyama held off the takedown attempt nicely. Shields landed a hard knee to the body. He got in a right. Akiyama landed a left and put Shields' back on the cage. Shields shot in again but failed to get the takedown. He landed a couple of nice body kicks. Shields landed a right. Akiyama connected on an uppercut. Shields got a trip on Akiyama, but Akiyama popped back up and Shields clinched on the cage. Shields landed a knee low, but the ref missed it. Shields tried to take Akiyama's back standing and got it. Akiyama grabbed the fence to stay up and then got away from Shields. Shields landed a leg kick and a couple of jabs. They traded jabs. Akiyama then got in and pulled off a beautiful trip, but Shields popped back up. Shields landed a body kick. Shields landed a right again and the round came to an end.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Shields. Rogan's talking up Akiyama, but he didn't do anything but defend the takedowns and get that one quick trip and he was out-struck by Jake Shields.
ROUND TWO: Akiyama landed an early right. He stuffed another takedown attempt and went for the trip. Shields landed a jab. Shields tried to grab a clinch. Akiyama went for the spinning back fist but it didn't land. Shields landed a body kick. Akiyama got in a right. Akiyama shrugged off another takedown attempt. Akiyama landed a jab and then ate a body kick. Shields landed another combination. Shields caught a kick and grabbed a clinch, but Akiyama got loose again. Shields landed an inside leg kick. Shields landed a few jabs. Shields landed a few more strikes in close. Shields was bleeding from the nose. He landed a body kick. Shields landed another right. Akiyama landed a hard leg kick. He caught a body kick from Shields but Shields got away. Rogan continued to ignore the offensive output of Shields and concentrated only on Akiyama's takedown defense. Akiyama pulled off a beautiful throw, but Shields again popped right back up and got the clinch on the cage. He landed a knee. He took Akiyama's back standing again, but Akiyama again held him off. He tried to break free but Shields held the clinch to the end of the round.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Shields. Akiyama's not doing much at all offensively, regardless of what Rogan is trying to portray tonight. This is one of the times where he's doing a disservice to the fight because he's ignoring what's actually happening.
ROUND THREE: Shields landed a few more strikes. Shields landed a few more and Akiyama landed a left. Shields landed a good body kick. Akiyama landed a jab. Shields landed a hard leg kick. Shields landed a few more. He connected on a good body kick again and ate a punch to grab a clinch, but again he was shrugged off. Akiyama got in a nice uppercut. Shields landed a right. Shields went for the takedown but again was stuffed by Akiyama. Akiyama turned him around and landed a few body shots. Akiyama landed a couple of shots. Shields continued landing strikes and then shot in again. Akiyama tried to fight it off. Shields finally got Akiyama down but it was only for a second. Shields landed some knees to the body as he continued to work in the clinch. They were separated with a minute left. Shields landed a jab. He landed a hard body kick and a right. He ducked under a punch and took Akiyama down. He tried to roll down and Akiyama grabbed the fence twice to stay up. Shields took his back with 30 seconds. Akiyama defended as Shields had the choke on as the round ended.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Shields. Great final minute for Shields after a fairly even first four. Akiyama should have been docked the point as he held the cage twice as Shields almost had him down.
WINNER: Shields via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
STAR RATING: (**) It wasn't the prettiest fight, and Shields' striking is definitely ugly, but he won a stand-up fight against Akiyama when he couldn't get him down. Akiyama simply didn't do much of anything in the fight outside of two beautiful trip takedowns, while Shields was continuously staying busy with strikes throughout. It wasn't pretty, but it was effective, and he nearly finished it in the third round. Big win for Shields after losing two straight last year.
FIGHT NINE: CHEICK KONGO VS. MARK HUNT (HEAVYWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Hunt slipped after Kongo caught his leg kick, and Kongo rushed him into a clinch. Hunt turned him around, but Kongo held onto the clinch. They separated. Kongo landed a leg kick. Hunt swung a big left hook but Kongo backed away. Kongo landed a straight kick to the body. Hunt landed a nice jab as Kongo tried to engage. Hunt landed a leg kick. Hunt dropped Kongo with a big left, but let him get back up. That was a great punch. Nice patience from Hunt. He landed a crushing right that hurt Kongo, then dropped him with a series of strikes on the cage. He followed up with a few more strikes and Herb Dean stepped in. No comeback for Kongo tonight.
WINNER: Hunt via TKO at 2:11 of the first round
STAR RATING: (**+) That was an awesome knockout by Hunt, but how crazy is it that we're in 2012, and Mark Hunt is 3-0 in his last three UFC fights? What kind of alternate universe are we inhabiting right now? Regardless, he's as dangerous as any heavyweight if you don't get him down and submit him, and he showed Cheick Kongo that tonight.
FIGHT TEN: QUINTON "RAMPAGE" JACKSON VS. RYAN BADER (LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Rampage rushed out to the center and tried to walk Bader down. Bader landed a couple of kicks and Jackson shot in. Bader grabbed the clinch and pressed Jackon on the cage. Bader got in a short left. Bader landed a knee to the thigh and a nice hook to the body. Bader separated and backed away. Bader connected on a kick to the leg. Bader almost connected on a big right, but it just grazed Rampage. Bader stunned Jackson with a left. He got in another nice inside leg kick. Bader swung the overhand right again and it grazed Jackson as Bader grabbed a clinch. Rampage landed a knee to the body. Jackson landed a good elbow, and Bader backed away again. He landed an inside leg kick. Bader threw a left but it was blocked. Bader shot in and drove Jackson against the cage again. Jackson landed a knee to the body. Bader almost scored a trip but Jackson stayed up. Bader landed a nice uppercut, then grabbed a head lock and threw a good knee. Jackson put his hand on the ground. Jackson shot in and Bader shrugged him off. Rampage threw a couple of good strikes at the end of the round.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Bader. Good start for Bader. He's landing good strikes, working well in the clinch, and is much faster than Rampage thus far.
ROUND TWO: Bader landed an inside leg kick. He missed a right and backed away from the big counter. Jackson was swinging some wild punches. Bader grabbed a clinch and Jackson landed a couple of strikes to the body. Rampage caught a knee from Bader, picked him up and dropped him on his head in a nice spot. Bader got back to his feet. Jackson landed a hard body kick and Bader looked to be hurting a bit. Jackson landed a hard body punch, but then Bader scored a takedown into half guard. Bader landed a few short elbows and strikes to the body, but he didn't look to pass right away, leading to boos from the crowd. Jackson landed a couple of elbows from the bottom. Bader landed a few body punches. Bader pressed Jackson to the cage and landed some short elbows and punches. Bader kept Jackson down but Rampage regained guard. Bader took Rampage's back as Jackson got to his feet. He landed some knees to the thighs of Jackson, then picked him up and dropped him down. He landed a nice body punch and a good on to the head. Jackson tried to work back to his feet, but Bader kept him down. Bader landed some more strikes. Rampage threw a few from his back. Bader ended the round on top.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Bader. Jackson had an edge with his first slam, but Bader came back and took control the rest of the frame. He's exhausted right now, though.
ROUND THREE: Jackson landed a good early jab. Bader grabbed a clinch early and pressed Jackson to the cage. Rampage landed a couple of knees. Bader landed a good left as they separated. Bader shot in but was stuffed. Both were looking tired. Bader rushed in and scored a takedown into side control. He landed a couple of knees to the body. He continued to throw knees to the side of Jackson, then added an elbow. Jackson regained guard. Rampage got to his feet with Bader on his back. Bader took him down again. Jackson landed an uppercut, but got rolled to his back. Bader continued to work and passed to half guard. He grabbed for a kimura, but Jackson got his arm free. Bader got into side control. Jackson tried to explode but Bader grabbed a choke as the round ended.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Bader. Very smart performance from Bader tonight. He got a bit tired after the second, but then took Jackson down and controlled him in the third, and worked some decent offense in as well. Very big win for him.
WINNER: Bader via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
STAR RATING: (**) It was a smart fight by Bader, but there wasn't a ton to the action outside of the slams in the second round. This was probably the worst Rampage has looked in his UFC career.
MAIN EVENT FIGHT ELEVEN: FRANKIE EDGAR VS. BEN HENDERSON (UFC LIGHTWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP)
ROUND ONE: Henderson took the center and pawed out with the jab. Edgar connected first with an inside leg kick. Edgar caught a leg kick from Henderson and drove him back. Henderson jumped and nearly took Edgar's head off with a roundhouse kick but it missed. That would have been insane had it landed. Henderson threw a couple of high kicks and Edgar blocked them both. Henderson engaged and Edgar threw him down but let him back up. Edgar caught the leg kick again but Henderson got away. Edgar landed a hard inside leg kick. Henderson popped in with a kick that went low. Edgar was ready to go right away, though. Edgar caught another kick and chopped away at Henderson's back leg with kicks. Edgar landed a nice right and caught another kick. He landed a good body shot. Another caught kick by edgar. Henderson connected to the body with a knee. Edgar landed nice right. Edgar landed a nice hook to the body and Henderson landed a good left. Edgar shot in and scored a takedown. Henderson got back to his feet, though. Henderson landed a good knee from the clinch. Edgar went for a spinning kick but Henderson engaged. Edgar threw Henderson down again and landed a right as he got up. He caught another kick and landed a good right at the end of the frame.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Edgar. Very close round, but Edgar is doing well with kicks and punches, and is catching a lot of Henderson's attacks.
ROUND TWO: Edgar caught another kick and landed a few to Henderson's back leg. Henderson landed a hard straight right and tried to walk Edgar down. Another caught kick and they exchanged punches with Henderson hopping on one leg. Edgar landed a short combo but ate a big jab. Edgar's face is getting marked up, but he's still connecting on good strikes of his own. Henderson landed a good left, then got in with a knee to the body. Edgar went for a spinning back fist but it missed. Henderson threw a jumping kick to the body. Edgar landed a nice short combination. Edgar scored a takedown. Henderson got to his knees and Edgar grabbed a headlock. He took Henderson's back but Henderson got to his feet. Edgar landed a nice right and popped out. Edgar landed another leg kick. Henderson got in a left. Henderson barely missed a big knee. Edgar landed a nice right. They exchanged punches by the cage. Henderson landed a nice right. Edgar scored another takedown into Henderson's guard. He landed a few strikes in the guard. Henderson threw his legs up, but Edgar got out. Henderson landed an upkick that stunned Edgar and he finished the round with a couple of elbows. That up-kick split the bridge of Edgar's nose.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Henderson. UPDATE: Changed my mind right after posting that. The upkick and damage was more significant than anything else there.
ROUND THREE: The cut opened up early. They exchanged strikes by the cage. Henderson was on the offensive now and landed a short combination. Edgar tried to score a takedown and was stuffed. Henderson landed a hard knee and Edgar countered with a right. Edgar landed the right.Henderson tripped up Edgar and stayed on him to score a takedown. Edgar's left eye was getting closed up. He worked back to his feet and blocked a high kick. Edgar landed a right. Edgar landed a hard right. They traded strikes in the center. Edgar landed an inside leg kick. Henderson landed a hard kick that Edgar again caught. Edgar threw Henderson down but couldn't stay there. Henderson landed a good right and Edgar responded. Edgar shot in and scored a late takedown.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Henderson. He turned up the offense and is really doing damage to the Champion right now. Edgar's nowhere near out of this, but this is a very good fight right now.
ROUND FOUR: Henderson rushed in with a leg kick but Edgar caught it again and landed a right. Edgar landed a leg kick but Henderson connected on a jab. Edgar got in a good right. Henderson connected on a kick low. Edgar took a few moments to recover and then they restarted. Edgar landed a right. Henderson rushed with a short combination. Henderson landed a big knee. Edgar pulled off a big takedown but wound up in the nasty guillotine of Henderson. Edgar popped out of it into Henderson's guard. Henderson got out and got to his feet again. Henderson dropped his hands and landed a left. Edgar caught another kick but wasn't able to capitalize. He did it again, but then ate a knee as he got close. Edgar landed a hard right. Edgar nearly had a nice trip but Henderson stayed up and landed a good kick. He landed a jab. Henderson landed a kick. Edgar got in with a right at the end of the round.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Henderson. He's still doing more damage on the feet, and nearly locked on that guillotine. Edgar has to think he's behind, he needs to be in finish-mode in this final frame.
ROUND FIVE: Edgar landed a good right to start the final frame. Edgar caught another kick and landed a punch. Henderson connected on a big strike. Edgar landed an uppercut. He landed a big straight left. Edgar threw Henderson down and took his back, but Henderson again grabbed for a kimura and got to his feet. Edgar landed a right again. He landed an inside leg kick. Edgar landed a big combination. Edgar connected again. He slipped on a kick, but got right back to his feet. Edgar landed a right. Henderson landed a kick to the body. Edgar dropped Henderson with a big punch. He tried to take his back, but Henderson worked back up. Edgar landed a right again. Edgar landed another right. Edgar landed another left. Edgar caught another kick and drove Henderson to the cage. Edgar landed a nice kick after getting a takedown stuffed. Henderson landed a flying kneed and went for a guillotine, then landed a strike to end the round.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Edgar. The Champion had a great output in that round and dropped Henderson during the frame as well. We may get another immediate rematch for Edgar.
WINNER: Henderson via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 49-46)
STAR RATING: (****) Frankie Edgar and Ben Henderson each involved in another epic five-round title fight? Who would have thought? This was another fantastic 25-minute bout, and while there will be some controversy as it was close rounds in each and every frame, Henderson deserved that win just as much as Edgar. Will we see another immediate rematch? Only time will tell.
-Edgar said he thought he did enough to win, but gave Henderson credit for his performance. He wasn't ready to make a decision on whether or not he'd drop to featherweight or not after this. I say let's see Pettis-Henderson II and Edgar-Jose Aldo for the Featherweight belt.
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