UFC Japan: welcome to the new champion

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Henderson vs Edgar / UFC publicity photo

Benson Henderson was all set to enter the UFC and get a shot at the title straight away; however, in his final appearance in the WEC he ended up letting his promotional belt slip through his fingers to Anthony Pettis.

All the WEC divisions were incorporated into the UFC, but Henderson’s plans were put on hold. It took him three wins in his new home (against Mark Bocek, Jim Miller and Clay Guida) to finally get to take on Frankie Edgar.

At UFC 144, the promotion’s long-in-coming return to Japan, Ben used his reach advantage and potent Jiu-Jitsu to good effect in outpointing Edgar and winning a unanimous judges’ decision. Now, the brown belt will get his rematch with Pettis, the man responsible for his second loss in 16 fights and for taking his WEC title. Dana White himself confirmed the news at the post-event press conference.

UFC 144 brought the pinnacle of world MMA back to the Saitama Super Arena, the venue for some of the most epic bouts of all times, at the now-defunct Pride FC event. However, despite the home cage advantage, four of the five Japanese fighters on the card failed in their bids to win.

On the evening, Best of the Night awards amounted to 65,000 dollars, of which: Fight of the Night went to Ben Henderson and Frankie Edgar for their five-round headliner, Knockout of the Night went to Pettis for his crippling head kick over Joe Lauzon, and best submission honors went to Vaughan Lee for his armbar on Kid Yamamoto.

Check out the results:

UFC 144
Saitama Super Arena, Saitama, Japão
February 25, 2012

Ben Henderson defeated Frankie Edgar via unanimous decision;
Ryan Bader defeated Rampage Jacksonvia unanimous decision;
Mark Hunt defeated Cheick Kongo via TKO in R1;
Jake Shields defeated Yoshihiro Akiyama via unanimous decision;
Tim Boetsch defeated Yushin Okami via KO in R3;
Hatsu Hioki defeated Bart Palaszewski via unanimous decision;
Anthony Pettis defeated Joe Lauzon via KO in R1;
Takanori Gomi defeated Eiji Mitsuoka via TKO in R2;
Vaughan Lee submitted Kid Yamamoto via armbar in R2;
Riki Fukuda defeated Steve Cantwell via unanimous decision;
Chris Cariaso defeated Takeya Mizugaki via unanimous decision;
Issei Tamura defeated Tiequan Zhang via KO in R2.

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