Here is my first ever MMA event prediction post & the event is UFC 144 also known as UFC Japan with the headliner Frankie ‘The Answer’ Edgar vs Benson ‘Smooth’ Henderson.
Anthony Pettis vs Joe Lauzon
This is a very interesting fight in the 155 pound division as the winner of this fight will either be next in line or second in line for a title shot, depending on how the FOX 3 card match up between Miller and Diaz. Joe Lauzon is coming off of a Submission of the Night win over highly regarded Melvin Guillard and while Pettis is coming off a split decision win over Jeremy Stephens. I believe this fight will be decided in the first round. It will either be Lauzon does his trademark blitz from the starting bell and finishes the fight in exciting fashion, or slowly fatigues during the fight with Pettis getting stronger as the fight goes on and turning out like the Sotiropoulos fight. Pettis creates a very unique and creative attack which Lauzon will have to be wary of throughout the fight but I feel Lauzon has a slight edge in his submissions and may look to do his trademark blitz and emulate fights with Guillard and Pulver.
Winner – Joe Lauzon, Round 1 Submission.
Hatsu Hioki vs Bart Palaszewski
Here is a Top 10 Featherweight fight between highly ranked Hioki and new Featherweight Palaszewski looking to jump into the Top 5 rankings with a win. Hioki is coming off a tough and controversial split decision over George Roop while Bart Palaszewski is coming off of a huge Knockout of the Night over Tyson Griffin in his Featherweight and UFC debut. I got Palaszewski taking this fight with his superior striking with another Knockout of the Night as long as he can stop Hioki from getting the clinch and a takedown. I just feel the bigger stronger Palaszewski will be able to over power the smaller Hioki and take the W.
Winner – Bart Palaszewski, Round 2 KO.
Yushin Okami vs Tim Boetsch
Another Top 10 fight with Middleweights Yushin Okami and Tim Boetsch fighting towards getting a title shot against the kingpin of the Middleweight division, Anderson Silva. Okami is coming off of a Title fight loss to a focus and dangerous Anderson Silva in Brazil while Boetsch is coming off of a dominant win over Nick Ring. It no secret what Boetsch’s plan is for this fight. Take this fight anyway possible to ground and smother Okami with ground and pound and submission attempts while Okami will be looking to use his takedown defense and use his sharp boxing to get a KO or TKO win. My favorite for this fight has to be Okami i feel hes been fighting the best 185’ers for many years now and by looking at the Munoz fight i don’t see Boetsch causing anymore problems with a skill set similar to Munoz. I just feel like Okami is a huge 185 pounder and his with great takedown defense by training with the likes of Chael Sonnen, Okami can keep this fight standing and chip away at Boetsch standing and win a decision victory.
Winner – Yushin Okami, Round 3 Decision.
Yoshihiro Akiyama vs Jake Shields
An important fight for both fighters who are both coming into this fight with losing streaks and a possible pink slip from the UFC, more so in the case of Akiyama who is currently on a 3 fight losing streak. Akiyama is coming off of a KO loss to Vitor Belfort and Shields is also coming off of a KO loss to fast rising Jake Ellenberger. This is Akiyama’s first fight at welterweight after much persuasion from the UFC and looks to get his career back on track with a home victory over Former Strikeforce champion and former UFC title contender Jake Shields. My pick for this fight has to be Jake Shields who although a natural welterweight has much experience in Middleweight and with aturally bigger opponents then himself. Also with the always looming factor of cardio with Akiyama on top of the extra 10 pound weight cut Shields will look to take this fight to the ground with his highly touted grappling skills and wear the Japanese Judo specialist down while on top and secure a submission late in the 3rd round.
Winner – Jake Shields, Round 3 Submission.
Mark Hunt vs Cheick Kongo
A fan friendly match up between Former K-1 Grand Prix Champion Mark Hunt and UFC veteran Cheick Kongo. Mark Hunt is coming off of a less then entertaining fight win over Ben Rothwell where cardio was a major problem for both fighters. While Cheick Kongo is coming off of a win over rising star Matt Mitrione which didn’t deliver the fight expected by fans. Cheick Kongo has had mixed performances with the highly entertaining fight with a comeback from behind win over Pat Barry but then has had fights with Travis Browne and Matt Mitrione which was a bit of a stalemate. I have Kongo winning this fight by not risking the stand up fight with the former K-1 Champion but by exploiting the poor submission / ground defense that was exploited by Sean McCorkle. Hunt will be looking to stand and trade with Kongo and avoid the ground game at all costs.
Winner – Cheick Kongo, Round 1 TKO.
Quinton Jackson vs Ryan Bader
A big match up between two Top 10 fighters in the Light Heavyweight division looking to get into title contention with both recording a loss to current champ Jon Jones. Rampage is coming off of a title fight loss to Jon Jones whereas Ryan Bader is back on track with a first round KO of Jason Brilz, after back to back losses to Jon Jones and Tito Ortiz. After a long campaign to fight on the Japan card Rampage got his wish and is fighting in front of his favorite crowd, the Japanese. Rampage will have to display his always impressive takedown defense and iron chin to out box Bader. Bader will be looking to take this fight to the ground with explosive takedowns to use some ground and pound and work for a TKO victory.
Winner – Quinton Jackson, Round 3 Decision.
Frankie Edgar vs Benson Henderson
The headliner of the event, a title fight between current UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar the only man to beat the best lightweight ever in MMA BJ Penn and the former WEC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson. A tough fight and very hard to call. Edgar has been on a the comeback kid of MMA having nearly identical fights in the last two fights against Gray Maynard, in which Maynard rocked Edgar multiple times in the first round to come back and draw and also KO Maynard in their last two outings. Benson Henderson is coming in with a 3 fight win streak from losing his WEC title and the UFC/WEC merger. The main factor in this fight will be Edgar’s champion heart and being able to take a beating and still pull off wins against Benson’s size and cardio. I feel this fight will be very similar to the Edgar vs Maynard but with Benson’s cardio coming into play he will not gas out and keep Edgar under constant pressure and not letting the comeback kid get into the fight after maybe rocking the champion in the first or second round, but you never know with Frankie he might pull it off once again.
Winner – Benson Henderson, Round 5 Decision.