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UFC 144 Rundown: Predictions

Good morning maniacs,

Here are my previews for this weekends upcoming PPV. This card looks amazing, really wish I would be watching it but I am going to an amateur live event to do some ringside judging and support a buddy in a submission grappling match.

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UFC 144 Edgar vs. Henderson
A Brief Preview and prediction breakdown:

Preliminary card (Facebook)
Featherweight bout: Zhang Tiequan vs. Issei Tamura
Zhang : 15-2 - 33 years old - 5'9" - 69" Reach
Tamura : 6-2 - 27 years old - 5'5" - N/A Reach

Zhang:

-Has fought in the UFC and WEC: Overall better competition.
-More experience.
-Good submissions(12 wins by submission, 3 by KO/TKO)

Tamura:

-Has fought in Shooto.
-Relative inexperience, more experience than what appears.
-Only one finish (KO), all other wins by decision.

Zhang Tiequan should win by submission early, has size, experience and no jitters fighting in the Octagon. Shooto uses a ring, and it will be Tamuras first fight in a cage and I think it will play a roll. Zhang by submission early.

Preliminary card (FX)
Bantamweight bout: Takeya Mizugaki vs. Chris Cariaso
Mizugaki : 15-6-2 - 28 years old - 5'7" - 69.5" Reach
Cariaso : 12-3 - 30 years old - 5'3" - 64.5" Reach

Mizugaki:

-Good level of competition
-Boxing/chin (5 wins by KO)
-2x WEC FOTN awards

Cariaso:
-StrikeForce/ WEC vet
-3-2 last 5 fights
-Speed

Takeya Mizugaki should win this. Better overall competition, good boxing and fighting in his home country are all in his favor. I see a second round KO win for Mizugaki.

Middleweight bout: Riki Fukuda vs. Steve Cantwell
Fukuda : 17-5 - 31 years old - 6'0" - 73" Reach
Cantwell : 7-5 - 25 years old - 6'2" - 75" Reach

Fukuda:

-Lost close controversial split decision in UFC debut, (7 wins by KO/TKO)
-Fights with EliteXC, Shooto, DREAM.
-Former Deep Middleweight champion.

Cantwell:
-Former WEC Light Heavyweight champion
-Brazilian Jujitsu black belt(4 wins by submission)
-4 fight losing streak

Riki Fukuda is coming in with more momentum, and will likely be confident for this fight. Cantwell is very tough to finish, so I expect Fukuda to win by decision and Cantwell to be released from the UFC.

Bantamweight bout: Norifumi Yamamoto vs. Vaughan Lee
Yamamoto : 18-5 (1 NC) - 34 years old - 5'4" - 66" Reach
Lee : 11-7-1 - 29 years old - 5'5" - N/A Reach


Yamamoto:
-World class wrestler with excellent good striking(13 KO/TKO wins).
-Experience with top competition.
-1-4 last 5 fights(issues with injuries?)

Lee:
-5-2-1 in last 8 fights
-Never fought outside the UK, losses to "higher level" competition
-High number of stoppages: 6 submissions, 4 KO/TKO's

Kid Yamamoto is the betting favorite here. If his issues with injury are over and he is able to use his fantastic wrestling he should dominate this fight. I expect Yamamoto to win by TKO in the 3rd round.

Lightweight bout: Takanori Gomi vs. Eiji Mitsuoka
Gomi : 32-8 (1 NC) - 33 years old - 5'8" - 70" Reach
Mitsuoka : 18-7-2 - 36 years old - 5'7" - N/A Reach

Gomi:

-Former PRIDE lightweight champion/world class experience
-Punching power(12 wins by KO/TKO) (Fastest PRIDE KO, 1x KOTN award)
-5-5 last 10 fights

Mitsuoka:
-Short notice fight/UFC Debut
-7-3 last 10 fights
-11 submission wins

Takanori Gomi was a monster at one point. He is the betting favorite. He's been unable to recapture his success in the UFC like he had in PRIDE, but in this fight he should have the victory. Mitsuoka has the ability to upset Gomi, but I am expecting this fight to end in one of the three ways: an early KO for Gomi, a submission for Mitsuoka, or a decision for Gomi. Because Eiji is so tough to finish I think it will go to the judges scorecards. Gomi by decision.

Main card
Lightweight bout: Anthony Pettis vs. Joe Lauzon
Pettis : 14-2 - 25 years old - 5'10" - 72" Reach
Lauzon : 21-8 - 27 years old - 5'10" - 70" Reach


Pettis:
-Former WEC Lightweight Champion.
-11 Stoppage victories (5 KO/TKO, 6 Submission)
-3rd Degree black belt in Taekwondo, purple belt in BJJ, improved wrestling

Lauzon:
-Finisher: 4 wins by KO/TKO, 17 by submission
-7 bonus awards: 3 FOTN, 4 Submission of the Night
-Slightly inconsistent, good grappling with improved boxing

Anthony Pettis will likely win here. Lauzon is an upset king, but I doubt Pettis will fall into the same traps as Guillard did. Pettis is the more athletic and faster fighter. I am personally hoping for a Lauzon victory as I am a fan of his, but Pettis will probably get the nod in a decision victory.

Featherweight bout: Hatsu Hioki vs. Bart Palaszewski
Hioki : 25-4-2 - 28 years old - 5'11" - 73" Reach
Palaszewski - 36-14 - 28 years old - 5'9" - 70" Reach

Hioki:

-Good level of competition, former Sengoku and TKO Featherweight champion
-Black belt in BJJ,(12 wins by submission)
-Never been finished, 10-1 last 11 fights

Palaszewski:

-Experienced, WEC/IFL veteran.
-Finisher:17 wins by KO/TKO, 11 wins by submission (Black belt in BJJ)
-7-4 in his last 11 fights

Hatsu Hioki is the slight favorite in this fight, and at this point I'm going with him to win the victory. Even with his win over Anthony Pettis I don't think Bart is as good as his record would indicate. His striking isn't spectacular, good but not amazing, and he's a good grappler. Hioki has very limited striking but he's a grappling savant and with his toughness I think he'll grind out the decision victory.

Middleweight bout: Yushin Okami vs. Tim Boetsch
Okami : 26-6 - 30 years old - 6'2" - 72" Reach
Boetsch : 14-4 - 31 years old - 5'11" - 74" Reach


Okami:
-Physically strong, good wrestling, decent boxing, Judo black belt.
-Long time veteran, has fought many upper level fighters
-Likely wants to rebound from loss to Anderson Silva

Boetsch:
-Third fight at middleweight
-6 wins by KO/TKO, 5 by submission
-Difficult to finish, but fails to win against better competition in the past.

Yushin Okami should take this fight. It will be a back and forth fight, but Okami should have the better hands and the better grappling. Okami doesn't finish a lot of opponents and I expect him to win via decision.

Welterweight bout: Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Jake Shields
Akiyama : 13-4 (2 NC) - 36 years old - 5'10" - 75" Reach
Shields : 26-6-1 - 33 years old - 6'0" - 72" Reach


Akiyama:
-3rd Dan Judo black belt, good boxing
-Good chin, never been taken down in the UFC
-First fight at Welterweight, problems with cardio in the past

Shields:
-Very Experienced, high level competition.
-Good wrestling, excellent BJJ: 10 submission wins
-Former EliteXC, Strikeforce, and Shooto champion

Yoshihiro Akiyama isn't the betting favorite. Many fans feel like he is overrated and doesn't belong in the UFC. He was winning the fight against Leben until he was submitted in the 3rd round, Belfort is among the best middleweights in the world and losing to Bisping isn't something to be ashamed of. Shields striking isn't good enough to be Akiyama and even with his good wrestling I don't think he'll be able to take Akiyama down. Akiyama should take the decision.

Heavyweight bout: Mark Hunt vs. Cheick Kongo
Hunt : 7-7 - 37 years old - 5'10" - 74" Reach
Kongo : 17-6-2 - 36 years old - 6'4" - 82" Reach


Hunt:
-K-1/Professional kickboxing: 30-13 (13 KO/TKO)
-Good chin, issues with Cardio and grappling in the past
-Fought good competition majority of career

Kongo:
-Pro kickboxing experience: 21-2 (12 KO/TKO)
-Improved/underrated wrestling
-UFC veteran since 2006

Mark Hunt. Call me crazy but I see this going to Hunt. The logical pick is the longer, slightly younger Kongo. I think his chin is questionable and Hunt hits very hard and Kongo will likely try to stand for at least a little while if he feels he has the advantage there. I agree it's possible that he'll push Hunt against the fence, take him down and ground and pound him to a decision victory, but I'm still calling Hunt by KO in the first round.

Light Heavyweight bout: Quinton Jackson vs. Ryan Bader
Jackson : 32-9 - 33 years old - 6'1" - 73" Reach
Bader : 13-2 - 28 years old - 6'2" - 74" Reach

Jackson:
-Former UFC champion, world class experience
-Good boxing, one punch knockout power, good takedown defense.
-Loves Japan, likely will have the "hometown" advantage

Bader:
-Elite wrestling, solid punching power, takedowns
-TUF winner, fought good competition since entering the UFC
-Something to prove

Rampage Jackson has far more experience, is still physically capable and if he truly wants to put on a show for the Japanese fans then it is likely he will dominate this fight. He was able to stop many of Jon Jones's takedowns, and it's unlikely that Baders takedowns are any better. The standup edge goes to Jackson, along with pure power. I think that Bader's chin in questionable after getting caught by that right hand from Tito Ortiz, and I think Rampage has the power to put him away. Jackson by KO in the 2nd round.

Lightweight Championship bout: Frankie Edgar (c) vs. Ben Henderson
Edgar : 14-1-1 - 30 years old - 5'6" - 68" Reach
Henderson : 15-2 - 28 years old - 5'9" - 70" Reach


Edgar:
-Great boxing, footwork and wrestling
-Good recovery ability, difficult to finish
-Great cardio, very fast

Henderson:
-Good cardio, good striking
-Fantastic wrestling and BJJ
-Former WEC champion

Frankie Edgar cannot afford to let himself get tagged again in the first round like Maynard did in his last two fights. If he is hurt he will be finished by Henderson, who will likely grab a submission should Frankie present him with one. Henderson isn't going to tried out and this fight will be back and forth for 25 minutes with Edgar landing more punches but Henderson landing a lot of kicks. Edgar to win by split decision.

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via pics.mmaplayground.com


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