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Report: Hatsu Hioki vs Bart Palaszewski planned for UFC 144 in Japan

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Surprise! More home grown talent is headed for the Octagon when the world's largest fight promotion returns to Japan.

That's because Hatsu Hioki has reportedly been booked to square off against Bart Palaszewski at UFC 144, which is scheduled for Feb. 26, 2012, at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. brought word of the pending match-up earlier today.

Hioki was last in action this past Oct. 29 at UFC 137 where he made his debut in the big leagues and looked anything but impressive. Sure, he emerged victorious, squeaking by George Roop with a split decision win. But he failed to impress stateside fight fans who were witnessing his brand of violence for the very first time.

Maybe he'll have better luck back home in a more comfortable environment.

Standing in his way is Bart Palaszewski, who made his Octagon debut a memorable one by blitzing Tyson Griffin and finishing him in the first round. 

That win marked his fifth in six fights, which includes a victory over current top lightweight contender Anthony Pettis. He'll need to build his resume with the UFC, of course, but his track record is solid.

In fact, at just 28-years-old, Palaszewski already has 50 career fights, 36 of them wins. A win over a top three ranked 145-pound fighter would surely catapult him to the front of the featherweight line.

UFC 144 is scheduled to take place on Feb. 26 (Feb. 25 here in America) and will mark the first time Zuffa will hold an event in Japan in a decade. The show will be headlined by Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar defending his title against Ben Henderson.

Stay tuned to for more on this still-developing fight card.

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