Pictured: Hatsu Hioki.
The main card on pay-per-view of the UFC 144: "Edgar vs. Henderson" event going down tonight (Sat., Feb. 25, 2012) in Satiama, Japan, featured a potential featherweight number one contender bout, as Hatsu Hioki put his status on the line against Bart Palaszewski.
With a victory, the former would surely be awarded a title shot against division deity Jose Aldo while the latter would most definitely catapult himself quite a ways up the ladder.
As it were, Hioki showcased a far superior game -- especially on the floor -- en route to winning a clear cut unanimous decision. If there's a clear cut contender ahead of him in the 145-pound food chain, I'd love to see him.
By the time it was over, Palaszewski looked helpless and dejected. Something we could see from Aldo later this year?
The excitement came fast in this one, as Hioki managed to drop Palaszewski with a short right hand. The WEC import popped right back up to his feet but the message was received.
The Japanese guard smasher stayed busy with his pressure, working a single leg takedown that Bart tried to turn into a guillotine. He failed miserably and it wasn't long before Hioki had side control and was working an arm. Palaszewski went nuts trying to escape the various chain submission attempts from his foe and eventually got back to full guard.
But hot damn, Hioki scored like crazy in the opening frame.
The second round saw a much slower pace, as Hioki eased it back to stay even and Palaszewski continued to contemplate the proper way to attack his opponent. He was getting eaten up with a jab and couldn't quite split Hioki's defense.
Bart found a bit of success but still likely needed a finish in the final round to win the fight.
It didn't start out well for him, as Hioki grabbed him up and executed a trip takedown within the first 30 seconds. It took him roughly a minute or so to turn it into anything but he passed to side control once again and it was painfully clear that Palaszewski simply couldn't match up on the floor.
By the time all was said and done, Palaszewski had fought valiantly to avoid being finished but Hioki was clearly the better man. Now all that's left to determine is if he's ready for Jose Aldo.
Me thinks so. How about you, Maniacs?
Remember, too, to check out our ongoing live coverage of the UFC 144 main card action by clicking here.