The UFC 144 prelims took place tonight on Facebook and FX networks from Saitama, Japan. Fighters Takanori Gomi, Vaughn Lee, Riki Fukuda, Chris Cariaso, Issei Tamura were all victorious on the undercard of tonight’s event.
Stay tuned to MMAFrenzy as we start play-by-play for tonight’s main card highlighted by a lightweight title bout between champion Frankie Edgar and Ben Henderson.
Gomi survives early trouble to defeat Mitsuoka
Takanori Gomi survived early trouble from late replacement AJ Mitsuoka to win big in the second round. Mitsuoka knocked down Gomi in the first and landed a back-mounted triangle that had Gomi in trouble before the bell rang.
In the second, Gomi roared back and rocked Mitsuoka with a knee to the body. Gomi eventually took Mitsuoka’s back and fired strike after strike until the referee was forced to step in.
Lee finishes Yamamoto in slugfest
Vaughn Lee did something no one had ever done Saturday night by submitting Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto. Both fighters rocked each other in the opening round as both fighters looked to crush the other. Lee then rocked Yamamoto on a nice exchange but was taken down by a cross-ankle pick when he rushed in. Lee did not allow Yamamoto to take the advantage as immediately attacked with a triangle. Kid defended the triangle but Lee transitioned beautifully to an armbar that forced the Japanese fighter to tap.
The win improved Lee to 1-1 in the UFC, while “Kid” dropped to 0-3 in the UFC and 18-6-1 overall.
Cantwell fades badly as a relentless Fukuda hammers out a win
Steve Cantwell started strong in the first and briefly looked like he would finish Fukuda in the second round via guillotine choke but Riki Fukuda battled back in impressive fashion to win the fight.
The Cantwell choke attempt was the turning point in this one as it as nearly all Fukuda for the remainder of the fight. Fukuda had Cantwell reeling on the cage in both the second and third rounds but Cantwell somehow stayed on his feet.
The win brings Fukuda to 1-1 in the UFC after his controversial loss to Nick Ring at UFC 127.
Cariaso edges Mizugaki in surprising decision
Chris Cariaso won a controversial decision over Takeya Mizugaki that drew a chorus of boos from the Japanese crowd. Despite getting takedowns in all three rounds and spending most of the fight in top control, Mizugaki was dropped to 1-2 in the UFC.
While the decision was surprising, Cariaso was very active off his back and attacked the entire time with an omoplata early and a nice sweep in the second. While Cariaso was very active on his feet the majority of his strikes appeared to be checked by Mizugaki. With the win, Cariaso improved to 3-1 in the UFC.
Tamura crushes Zhang
Both Issei Tamura and Tiequan Zhang came ready to battle in the opening fight with both fighters landing knockdowns but Tamura came away with the huge knockout. Tamura and Zhang battled each other in the first with multiple knockdowns and submission attempts in the first round.
In the second round, both fighters looked to stand and bang. Tamura managed to land a massive shot as Zhang loaded up. The strike put Zhang out cold and put Tamura in the driver’s seat for “knockout of the night”