UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson was as fitting a return to Japan as the UFC could have had without forcing ever ex-PRIDE star on the card. It would have been nice to see Vitor Belfort, Wanderlei Silva, Mauricio Rua and all of those guys on the card, but there were plenty of guys who fit in that same group and plenty who provided the same fireworks that Japan knows and loves.
One fight that was guaranteed fireworks was Mark Hunt vs. Cheick Kongo. More accurately, the fight was most-likely going to result in fireworks, providing Kongo couldn't take Hunt down and hold him there. He couldn't, and it's unclear if he even tried. Hunt landed that strong left hook and remained cool and calculated until he could land a right and drop Kongo to the ground.
If you were unacquianted with this sport, the pudgy Hunt and formidable tank that is Kongo wouldn't seem an even fight given the eyeball test. What about the test that takes a look at the fighters' skillset? A couple years ago, that fight would have looked like Kongo's, too.
It's unclear if it was the UFC hype machine or just a couple of strong performances, but before Kongo transitioned into a semi-competent wrestler, he was one of the most technically impressive strikers in the division. The guy used such beautiful angles, slipping punches and utilizing brutal knees. The guy could hit you in the face from any angle.
Where did that Kongo go? Maybe he was overhyped and that Kongo was never truly around, but the guy still was expected to deliver more than he has. Crazy knockout comebacks notwithstanding. He's a visually impressive fighter with standup that's rapidly deteriorating and wrestling that's ... unimpressive.
Kongo's biggest asset at this point is being a somewhat recognizable name and a guy who probably holds eyeballs. For the casuals, it's because he looks like he'll maul anybody who comes in the octagon and for the devout fans of MMA, it's because they're hoping to see him knocked out or maybe pull some of that Pat Barry knockout magic.