UFC 144, headlined by a pair of co-main event fights, is well underway in Japan.
The first of the two marquee fights pitted Quinton Jackson against Ryan Bader. Jackson came in well over weight, so the fight was at a catchweight of 211 pounds. Bader entered the fight trying to put himself into the light heavyweight title picture with a win, while "Rampage" Jackson was hoping to pick up a victory in his return to Japan, the country where he first made a name for himself.
The first round featured a lot of stand-up and clinching, with some posturing thrown in by Rampage for good measure. Bader did a lot of circling and moving, while Rampage was moving like a fighter who didn't make weight. Bader was unable to get a double leg takedown and the fighters wound up against the cage once again. In the last 10 seconds, Rampage landed a big left hook but could not capitalize.
Round 2 opened with Bader continually lunging in with jabs, as Rampage would answer by just missing with a monster counterpunch. They ended up clinching against the cage again, where Rampage landed a couple of body shots before lifting Bader and body-slamming him right on top of his head. Rampage followed up with some big knees and a body kick, but Bader managed a takedown and got into half-guard, scooting Rampage against the cage and going for ground-and-pound. Rampage made it to his feet, but Bader got his back and managed a takedown slam of his own. The round ended with Bader on top. The replays of the Rampage slam showed that Bader came precariously close to getting his neck broken.
Round 3 opened with Bader getting another big takedown and controlling Rampage on the ground for the duration of the round to seal the win. He tried for a kimura in the final minute of the fight but settled for retaining control. Right before the bell sounded, Bader tried to hook in a guillotine, but it was unnecessary.
Bader picked up arguably the biggest win of his career to date via unanimous decision on scores of 30-27, 30-27, 30-27.
Other results of the main card so far:
Lightweight bout: Anthony Pettis vs. Joe Lauzon
Pettis defeated Lauzon via KO (head kick & punches) at 1:21 of round 1.
Featherweight bout: Hatsu Hioki vs. Bart Palaszewski
Hioki defeated Palazewski via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).
Middleweight bout: Yushin Okami vs. Tim Boetsch
Boetsch defeated Okami via TKO (punches) at 0:54 of round 3.
Welterweight bout: Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Jake Shields
Shields defeated Akiyama via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Heavyweight bout: Mark Hunt vs. Cheick Kongo
Hunt defeated Kongo via TKO (punches) at 2:11 of round 1.
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