While many hoped the second half of the New Japan Cup could be salvaged, the remainder of the tournament has been canceled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Japan. The first half of the tournament was canceled last month, with the second half scheduled to occur between 3/16 and conclude on 3/21. Continue reading “Coronavirus Slams Pro Wrestling”
Any wrestling fan worth his salt knows what January 4th represents. It is the biggest day of the year for Japanese pro wrestling as New Japan Pro Wrestling puts on their annual Wrestle Kingdom event otherwise known as the Tokyo Dome show. The perspective magnitude of this event is equal to WrestleMania and boasts an impressive resume of spectacle and sport.
UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson 2/25/12 (Coverage I provided for gerweck.net)
Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan
– Prelim Results
Chris Cariaso defeated Takeya Mizugaki via judges decision. (The crowd heavily booed this decision)
Issei Tamura defeated Tiequan Zhang via knockout at 0:32 of Round 2
Steve Cantwell defeated Riki Fukuda via unanimous decision
Vaughan Lee over Kid Yamamoto via Armbar at 4:29 of the 1st Round (Yamamoto was heartbroken over the loss)
Takanori Gomi defeated TKO due to Strikes at 2:21 of Round 2
– Main Card
Anthony Pettis vs. Joe Lauzon
Round 1: Pettis opened up with a kick to the body and lands a three punch combination. Lauzon misses with a left right combo and Pettis replied with a leg kick and left high kick to the head that dropped Lauzon and followed up with three hammer fists for good measure.
Winner: Anthony Pettis via TKO @ 1:21 of Round 1
Bart Palaszewski vs. Hatsu Hioki
Round 1: Hioki drops Palaszewski right away but Palaszewski pops right back up. Hioki controls the stand up for a few seconds until Palaszewski gets it to the ground and sinks in the guillotine choke but Hioki gets his head out. Hioki secures full mount and moves to side control. Hioki gets his back and attacks with an armbar and Palaszewski rolls over and to defend against it. Hioki regains the top position and lands heavy punches to close out the round.
Round 2: Both fighters circling with Hioki control the action while Palaszewski is starting to find his range. Hioki is connecting with double jab and follows up with a right leg kick. Palaszewski gets hit low but fights through it. Then both Palaszewski and Hioki hit each other low but fight through it. Hioki connects with a teep kick and shoot in for the takedown. Hioki gets his back and almost sinks in the choke but the round ends.
Round 3: Hioki clinches Palaszewski against the fence and they trade knees to the body until Hioki trips him for the takedown. Hioki is landing shots in Palaszewski’s half guard and moves to side control. He has Palaszewski’s head trapped and landing shot after shot while Palaszewski lands some knees to the body. Palaszewski gives up his back and Hioki gains over under control and is trying to sneak his arm under the chin. Hioki hammers away at the left side of Palaszewski’s body. Hioki locks him up with a body triangle and attempts a neck crank to end the round.
Winner: Hatsu Hioki via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Yushin “Thunder” Okami vs. Tim Boetsch
Round 1: Okami is dictating the pace with jabs and power punches to the head. Boetsch shoots in for the takedown but Okami shakes it off. Boetsch switches his stance and connects with two body kicks and a right leg kick. Okami circles connects with two straight rights and throws a high kick but Boetsch moves out of the way. The round ends with Okami landing three more straight punches as he moves to the right to avoid a counter. Boetsch’s cheeks are cut up.
Round 2: Okami connects with two jabs and a knee to the body. Okami is completely relaxed while Boetsch can’t find an ounce of comfort. Okami clinches with Boetsch against the fence and throws a few knees and takes him down while Boetsch holds on to the guillotine but Okami gets out and passes the guard and a tired Boetsch who’s nose is bloody. Okami hammers away to the head on side control and transitions to a head and arm triangle but lets go. Okami attempts a straight arm Kimura but abandons it as he gains full mount and connects with lefts and rights to end the round.
Round 3: Okami’s corner told him in between rounds “If you want to finish him, go ahead. I trust you.” Boetsch just came out like an animal and connected with two punches that rocks Okami. Okami is looking to retreat as Boetsch clips him with a left hand, misses a right high kick and drops him with a right hand. He swarms over him and goes for broke with repeated shots until the ref steps in to call it. ONE OF THE BEST COMEBACKS EVER!
Winner: Tim Boetsch: TKO at 0:54 of the 3rd Round
Jake Shields vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama
Round 1: Shields has Akiyama against the fence and works for the takedown but no dice as both men return to the center of the cage. Akiyama seems to have no concern with Shields striking. Akiyama connects with an uppercut but loses his balance and Shields shoots in for the takedown but again, no dice. Both men fighting against the fence trading knees. Shields gets behind Akiyama and works for the takedown for a few seconds and Akiyama spins out of it while losing his mouth piece. Akiyama hits him with a straight punch and shoots in for a front judo trips that brings Shields to the mat. Shields gets right back up and peppers a few jabs to end the round.
Round 2: Shields looks uncomfortable on the feet as Akiyama connects with a right hand and follows up with a spinning back fist. Akiyama shuts down another takedown attempt and is really controlling this fight. Shields connects with a right leg kick but Akiyama is not effected one bit. Akiyama secures another judo trip and controls him for a few seconds and Shields gets back up and controls his back against the fence to end the round.
Round 3: Akiyama missed a high kick and Shields connects with a inside leg kick and body kick. Shields fails at another takedown attempts and throws him against the fence and peppers away at the body of Shields. Shields is landing more punches but they are doing nothing and his nose is busted. Shields finally takes Akiyama down but it lasted for two seconds but he has Akiyama pinned against the fence. Akiyama reverses him against the fence and the ref breaks it up for lack of action to restart the fight. Shields secures the takedown and Akiyama grabs the fence. Shields gets his hooks in and Akiyama grabs the fence again but nothing from the ref. Shields gets the back and hooks in again. and works for the rear naked choke to end the round.
Winner: Jake Shields via unanimous decision 30-27 across the board
Cheick Kongo vs. Mark Hunt
Round 1: Hunt lands a right leg kick but loses his balance and Kongo pins him against the fence. Hunt reverses it and pushes off to get the fight back to the center of the cage. Hunt lands a lead left hook to the and drops Kongo with another left hand but Hunt lets him get back up. Hunt is backing up Kongo lands and an over hand left that rocks Kongo and chases Kongo while landing four precise lefts to the head and follows up with a body shot as Kongo goes down. Lands a couple more punches and the ref stops the bout.
Winner: Mark Hunt via TKO at 2:11 of Round 1
Ryan “Darth” Bader vs. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson
Bader comes out to “Imperial March” from Empire Strikes Back while Rampage gets the pop of the night by walking out to the PRIDE theme. Remember, Rampage missed weight by weighing in @ 211 lbs and will forfeit 20% of his purse which goes to Bader.
Round 1: Rampage circles to the right and Bader connects with a over hand right and Rampage pushes him against the fence. Rampage pushes him off and Bader misses an over hand right. Bader throws another over hand right and pins Rampage against the fence. Bader is moving very fast in the clinch until Rampage lands an elbow and Bader backs off to the center of the cage. Bader faints a couple a left jabs and shoots for the takedown and misses an uppercut but retains upper body control. Bader lands a knee and Rampage puts his hand down on the mat so Bader can’t use knees. Rampage connects with a right hook to end the round.
Round 2: Bader opens up with some let kicks and body punches and pins him against the fence. Rampage gets double under hooks and Rampage scoops him and and lands a pro wrestling body slam that drops Bader on his left arm in a very awkward way. Bader got up and looked out of it while as Rampage misses a couple of punches. Bader shoots in and takes Rampage down and gains side control and hammers away on him while the fans boo. Rampage slowly crawls up the cage but Bader takes him down and Rampage pulls guard. Rampage gets to his feet and Bader waist locks him, lifts him up high and slams him down for good measure. Connects with some hard shots to the face to end the round.
Round 3: Rampage comes out head hunting and Bader pins him against and lands body shots in the clinch. Bader connects with a left hand as they break. Bader stuffs a takedown attempt from Rampage and Bader shoots in for and secures the takedown and lands in side control. Rampage pulls guard and Bader hammers away. Rampage gets up but gives up his back and Bader hoists him up and puts him down. Rampage pulls guard again and Bader passes and ends up in half guard. Bader landing some hard shots as the Japanese crowd voices their disapproval. Bader attempts a Kimura but the cage is in the way. Bader tries it again but Rampage gets free and pops right up and Bader gets a reverse guillotine choke to end the round.
Winner: Ryan Bader via unanimous decision 30-27 across the board
UFC Lightweight Championship
Frankie “The Answer” Edgar vs. Benson “Smooth” Henderson
Round 1: Henderson throws a right leg kick and Edgar catches it and backs him all the way across the cage while Henderson keeps his balance. Henderson goes for an enziguri and Edgar ducks and backs up. Henderson hits Edgar low and the champ shakes it off. Henderson lands a left hand as Edgar charges in. Edgar shoots in and takes him down but Henderson gets up and attempts a standing Kimura but fails and follows up with a spinning back hand that misses. Henderson goes for a fake low kick and swings for the high kick and misses and Edgar scores a few more punches to end the round.
Round 2: Edgar catches another leg kick and kicks the one leg Henderson is standing on and still can’t buckle him. Edgar connects with a double jab and Henderson counters with a right hook. Edgar is landing more punches but Henderson’s punches are harder. Edgar left eye is swelling up as he lands another left hook and Henderson shoots in but Edgar stuffs the takedown. Henderson is targeting the left eye as Edgar lands a leg kick and one, two combo. Henderson lands another right hand and Edgar shoots in and takes him down but lands in Henderson’s guard. Edgar is landing some hard shots and Henderson connects with a huge up kick that appears to have broken Edgar’s nose. Edgar is rocked and Henderson sinks in the guillotine choke but can’t finish as the round ends.
Round 3: Edgar lands a nice body head four punch combo and lands an over hand right as Henderson attempts to take him down. Henderson lands a knee to the body and Edgar counters with a right hook. Edgar lands a straight hand Henderson takes him down but Edgar pops right up and goes right down again. Edgar pops up again and breaks away. Henderson misses an upward elbow and Frankie lands a one, two punch combo and follows it up with an inside leg kick. Henderson lands two punches and misses a high kick and Edgar takes him down to end the round.
Round 4: Edgar lands an inside leg kick and misses a right high kick. Henderson connects with a double jab and misses a knee. Henderson faints a jab and throws a body kick and catches it low. Frankie catches a breather and the fight resumes and Edgar comes out with a leg kick and a right hand to the head. Edgar with another right hand and Henderson shoots in for the takedown and lands the guillotine and it’s tight. Frankie fights for it and escapes but Henderson again, attempts the standing Kimura on the way up. Edgar catches another leg kick but Henderson lands a knee to the body. Edgar misses a high kick and Henderson lands a kick to the body and takes him down briefly and Edgar catches another kick to the body on the way up and throws a four punch combo that misses to end the round.
Round 5: The crowd is on their feet for the start of the final round. Edgar catches another Henderson leg kick but misses a high kick and Henderson lands a straight right hand. Edgar comes back with a right uppercut and a big left to the head that Henderson shakes off. Edgar takes him down and gets his back but Henderson once again, attempts the standing Kimura and Edgar lets go. Henderson lands a huge right hand and throws a body kick but slips as Frankie catches his leg and Henderson gets away. Henderson lands a hard left hand and Frankie drops Henderson with a right hand and tries to get his back but Henderson gets up. Henderson lands a knee to the body. Edgar shoots for a takedown but Henderson catches in the guillotine choke but Frankie escapes and Henderson hammers away on him to end the round.
I would not want to be a judge in this fight but I have it a close 3 rounds to 2 in favor of Henderson.
Winner and NEW UFC Lightweight Champion: Benson Henderson via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 49-46)
Post Fight Interviews: Frankie Edgar feels he did enough to win the fight because he landed more punches and takedowns but those are the breaks. Joe Rogan asked him he is will move down to 145 lbs and Edgar replied “It’s too soon to make a decision.”
Ben Henderson is the third fighter to hold a WEC and UFC championship
UFC 144 Post Fight Press Conference Notes
Bonuses: $65,000 each
Fight of the Night: Frankie Edgar vs. Benson Henderson
Submission of the Night: Vaughn Lee
KO of the Night: Anthon Pettis
– Rampage: “I’m not surprised I lost the fight. I injured my knee pretty bad and my doctor told me not to fight” Re-injured knee mid-fight
– Dana White says of Pettis’ title chances: “I think he’s gonna get it”
– Dane White on Tim Boetsch “The way Tim fought in the 3rd round is the way everyone should fight when they are down 2-0
– Ryan Bader admitted he was dazed after being slammed by Rampage
– Mark Hunt asked Dana White if he could fight next Saturday in Australia
– Dana White said he dosen’t want to comment on how close Hatsu Hioki is to a title shot at Jose Aldo
– Rampage said he used the PRIDE music because he wanted to cheer people up and because the Japanese fans are his favorite fans
– Frankie Edgar said he doesn’t want to take anything away from Ben but he feels he did enough to win those rounds
– Frankie Edgar’s response when asked about Pettis getting the next title shot “I’m not trying to shoot anyone out of anything they deserve, but I had to do two immediate rematches, so what’s right?”
– The media keeps asking Frankie Edgar about dropping to 145 lbs and he keeps telling him he is not thinking about that right now
– Tokyo Press asked Dana if Yoshihiro Akiyama will be cut after losing four in a row and Dana said himself, Joe Silva and Lorenzo Fertitta will get together and make a decision.
– Dana White paid Takeya Mizugaki his win bonus after his controversial decision loss to Chris Cariaso
(column I wrote for gerweck.net)
It took eleven years, two months and eight days for the Ultimate Fighting Championship to make the journey back to Japan. This is Zuffa’s first foray into the land of the rising sun and they endured numerous cultural, political and criminal road blocks along the way that stemmed from their acquisition of Pride back in 2007. The MMA market in Japan is a cracked shell of what it once was as its glory days when the grandest events and the best fights on the planet took center stage. Fans are used to their MMA events encompassing a professional wrestling atmosphere. Dana White has gone on record stating there will be no mention of Pride or any hint of theatrical spectacle to UFC 144. This is the time for the company to introduce a new business model that, hopefully, a new generation of MMA enthusiasts will latch on to. This Saturday we will be treated to 4 hours and 7 fights on pay-per-view instead of the usual three and five.