UFC 144 results recap: Anthony Pettis vs Joe Lauzon fight review and analysis

Anthony Pettis rocks Joe Lauzon with a kick at UFC 144 on Feb. 25, 2012 in Saitama, Japan. Photo by Esther Lin via MMA Fighting

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was coming out guns blazing last night (Feb. 25, 2011) as top lightweights Anthony Pettis and Joe Lauzon opened up the UFC 144 main card in Saitama, Japan.

Fans were expecting something incredible to happen, and just like the previous six times Joe Lauzon stepped into the Octagon, there would be a fight night bonus awarded to a participant of his fight.

Unfortunately for "J-Lau," this time it would be Anthony Pettis and Pettis alone who would be taking home that coveted bonus cash.

So what did Pettis do to right the ship after two disappointing decisions in 2011? And where do both talented 155-pounders go from here?

Follow me after the jump for our Anthony Pettis vs. Joe Lauzon UFC 144 post-fight review and analysis:

Lauzon might be one of the most dangerous first round fighters in the UFC today, so Anthony Pettis came out cautiously, making sure to keep his defenses up and seemingly prepared for everything.

He shrugged off a Lauzon takedown attempt and kept the Bostonian at bay with some heavy punches whenever he got in range.

As both Lauzon and Pettis began to loosen up, Pettis decided to once again prove why he earned his "Showtime" nickname.

With Lauzon at the perfect distance and totally anticipating a kick to the body, Pettis unleashed a beautiful left head kick which caught The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season five veteran square in the face and sent him reeling to the canvas.

After what seemed like an eternity and some follow-up hammer fists, the referee stepped in and put a halt to the action which gave Pettis a knockout victory just 81 seconds into the fight.

For Joe Lauzon, this has to be frustrating after finally working himself up into contention only to be brought back down to Earth again. He simply gave Pettis too much space and "Showtime" made him pay with a swift kick to the head. We didn't really get an opportunity to see that vintage "J-Lau" who blitzes his opponents and overwhelms them early on in a fight. Hopefully he's not too discouraged by the result and comes back stronger than ever next time around.

Melvin Guillard had been campaigning for a rematch and after such a violent end to this fight, a rematch with "The Young Assassin" might actually be in order. Other possibilities for Lauzon should he accept them are Rafael Dos Anjos or Terry Etim.

For Anthony Pettis, this was the old school Pettis we'd come to know and love during his time in the WEC. We thought we had lost him after two ho-hum fights in 2011, but that was the finishing instinct we all knew he was capable of. The Roufusport fighter looked tremendous last night and looked to be the clearly superior fighter. Perhaps it's time to give him the shot he was expecting to get in 2011.

With the only other top contender's fight taking place in May, why not give Pettis a title shot next? His last fight with Benson Henderson was one for the ages so let's go and do it again. There is honestly no other fight that makes sense for him next other than a shot at the belt. Perhaps Gray Maynard, but that's a serious win-lose position for the UFC. Just go ahead and give him the shot. His "Knockout of the Night" award coupled with being the last man to defeat the current champion should be more than enough.

So what did you think, Maniacs?

Were you surprised with the result last night? Do you feel Pettis should get the next shot at the UFC title?

Sound off!

For complete UFC 144 results, including blow-by-blow, fight-by-fight coverage of the entire event as well as immediate post-fight reaction click here, here and here.

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