UFC 144: "Edgar vs Henderson" Live Play-By-Play & ResultsThe Ultimate Fighting Championship returned to the Land of the Rising Sun after 11 years away for UFC 144: “Edgar vs Henderson” at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie “The Answer” Edgar battled Ben “Smooth” Henderson in the main event.

Also on the card, former PRIDE star and one-time UFC titleholder Quinton “Rampage” Jackson faced Ryan “Darth” Bader in featured light heavyweight action, while Jake Shields squared off against Yoshihiro Akiyama in a welterweight matchup. MMARising.com has live play-by-play for the card.


UFC Lightweight Championship

Ben “Smooth” Henderson vs Frankie “The Answer” Edgar

Round 1:
Edgar landed an early leg kick and a one-two. He caught a kick from Henderson, who attempted a flying kick and fell. Henderson stood and both fighters threw kicks. Henderson attempted a pair of head kicks, but Edgar tossed him to the mat. Henderson got back to his feet and continued to mix up his strikes with kicks to the lead leg and body. Time was called after Edgar was kicked in the groin. The fight quickly resumed and Edgar caught a kick. He kicked at Henderson’s leg.

Henderson tried to put together a punching combination and landed another kick, but Edgar continued to catch his leg over and over again. Edgar connected with an overhand right, but Henderson scored with a one-two in close. Edgar remained able to catch nearly every one of Henderson’s kicks. Henderson tried for a standing Kimura and spun into a body kick. Edgar missed with a spinning back kick and Henderson clinched, but Edgar fought out and landed a right hand just before the bell. Close round. 10-9 Henderson.

Round 2:
Edgar opened round two with a one-two and caught a kick. He held onto Henderson’s leg and threw a head kick, but Henderson blocked it. Edgar began to score with kicks of his own and he caught another one from Henderson. This set off an exchange of power punches and Edgar finished with an attempted head kick. Henderson clinched and landed a knee to the body. Another hard knee followed for Henderson and Edgar just missed with a spinning backfist. Edgar landed a right cross and Henderson checked a leg kick.

Edgar’s left eye continued to swell up, but he managed to take Henderson down and used a front headlock to transition to the back. Henderson scrambled out and Edgar landed a right cross. A leg kick from Edgar was answered by a left hand from Henderson, who scored with a combination seconds later. Edgar took Henderson down and both fighters landed elbows on the ground. Henderson attempted an armbar, to no avail. He rocked Edgar with a vicious upkick that appeared to break Edgar’s nose. Edgar fell to his knees and Henderson unloaded with elbows in the dying seconds. 10-9 Henderson.

Round 3:
Edgar landed a quick combination early in the final round, but his damaged nose continued to bleed heavily. He scored with a solid right hand after a failed takedown attempt, but Henderson answered back with a body kick. Edgar caught a kick, but Henderson tagged him with two hard punches that backed him up. Edgar countered a jab with a right hook, but fell after throwing a head kick.

Henderson kept Edgar pinned down and landed punches. Edgar’s left eye closed and he ate a head kick as he stood up. He landed a right hand as Henderson threw a standing elbow. Edgar started a combination with punches and finished with a body kick. Henderson replied with a kick of his own and both fighters looked for takedowns. Henderson flurried and just missed with a head kick. Edgar took him down at the bell. 10-9 Henderson.

Round 4:
Edgar jabbed early in the fourth round and Henderson targeted the body with kicks. Big right hooks scored for both fighters almost simultaneously and time was called after Edgar was kicked in the groin. The fight continued on and Edgar landed a right hook. He countered a combination with another right hand, but ate a knee. Henderson latched onto a guillotine choke and pulled half-guard. Edgar held on and managed to escape.

Edgar wound up in Henderson’s guard, but Henderson landed two elbows and used a Kimura attempt to get back to his feet. Henderson narrowly missed with a side kick to the face and landed a standing elbow. A one-two and a leg kick landed for Henderson, but Edgar caught the kick. Henderson scored with a knee and attempted a hip toss takedown. Edgar defended, but ate a body kick on the way up. A left hook and a leg kick from Henderson were answered by an Edgar flurry. 10-9 Henderson.

Round 5:
The final round began with an exchange of kicks and Edgar looked to set up a combination. He caught a kick from Henderson, but Henderson landed a left hook and Edgar began to bleed heavily again. Edgar snuck in a nice uppercut and a big left hook. Henderson shook it off, but Edgar took his back in a scramble. Henderson once again used a standing Kimura to break free of the clinch and circled away. More leg kicks were exchanged and Henderson landed a hard right hook. The fighters continued to trade power punches and Edgar briefly took Henderson’s back after Henderson slipped while throwing a kick.

Henderson again targeted the body with a kick just as Edgar scored with a one-two. Edgar dropped Henderson with punches, but Henderson recovered quickly and got to his feet. Edgar landed a lead left hook and blocked a head kick. He tried to sweep Henderson’s leg out, but could not. Henderson stuffed another takedown and landed a knee to the body. He followed with a flying knee, a guillotine choke attempt and elbows just as the bell sounded. Very close round. 10-9 Henderson, barely, due to the late rally.

Winner: Ben Henderson by Unanimous Decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47) after five rounds. He improves to 16-2-0 and becomes the new UFC Lightweight Champion.


Ryan “Darth” Bader vs Quinton “Rampage” Jackson

Round 1:
Jackson looked for a takedown early on and Bader stuffed it with a front headlock. He pressed Jackson up against the cage and landed short punches and knees. Bader backed away and threw a Superman Punch. A looping overhand right landed for Bader, but Jackson did not appear to be hurt. Bader rushed in with a right hand and a leg kick.

Another looping right connected for Bader and he clinched against the cage. Jackson used a short elbow to keep Bader at bay and Bader backed off. Two lead left hooks landed for Bader and he again backed Jackson up to the fence. Bader stuffed a takedown and landed an uppercut and a knee. Jackson tried unsuccessfully for a takedown, but landed a left hook. 10-9 Bader.

Round 2:
Little transpired in the opening minute of round two until the fighters clinched against the cage. Jackson caught a knee and body slammed Bader right onto his head. Bader stood and ate a knee and a left hook. He recovered and the fighters traded knees in close. Jackson landed a combination to the head and body, but Bader took him down.

Bader landed short elbows from half-guard and the normally quiet crowd began to boo. Bader continued to land weak punches and elbows until Jackson battled back to his feet. Bader took his back and slammed him back down to the mat. Bader scored with punches and wound up in Jackson’s guard. 10-9 Bader.

Round 3:
Bader backed Jackson up to the cage again in the final round. He backed away and tried for a takedown, but Jackson stuffed it. Bader landed left hands and stayed a step ahead of Jackson. He took Jackson down and landed in side control. Jackson managed to get back to full guard, but Bader kept him down and landed punches.

Jackson looked to explode to his feet and managed to briefly stand up. Bader took his back and dragged him down. The crowd booed as Bader threw a handful of strikes and Jackson offered little resistance. Bader moved to side control and worked for a straight armbar and a Kimura. He switched to a guillotine choke, but time expired. 10-9 Bader.

Winner: Ryan Bader by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) after three rounds. He improves to 15-2-0.


Mark “Super Samoan” Hunt vs Cheick Kongo

Round 1:
Hunt slipped while throwing a leg kick right away, but got back to his feet and reversed a clinch against the fence. He backed away and looked to set up a big right hand as Kongo kicked at his legs. Hunt landed a leg kick and countered a right hand with a left hook that dropped Kongo to his knees. Kongo stood, but appeared to be stunned. Hunt landed a huge right hand that hurt Kongo again and he tried to run away. Hunt dropped him with more punches and referee Herb Dean stopped the fight.

Winner: Mark Hunt by TKO (Punches) at 2:11 of round one. He improves to 8-7-0.


Jake Shields vs Yoshihiro Akiyama

Round 1:
Shields landed two right hands early on, but Akiyama shrugged off a takedown and landed a nice left hook in close. Shields dove for a leg, but Akiyama stayed on his feet and pressed Shields against the cage. He backed away and the fighters traded kicks. Akiyama landed an uppercut and sprawled out of a takedown. A knee from Shields strayed low, but the fight continued.

Shields took Akiyama’s back and tried to take him down. Akiyama scrambled out and time was called to replace his mouthpiece. He landed a right cross after the restart and followed with another one. Shields tried to punch his way into a clinch, but Akiyama sidestepped and scored an extremely impressive leg-sweep takedown. Good first round. 10-9 Akiyama.

Round 2:
Akiyama landed nice right hands in round two and nearly swept Shields’s leg out again. Shields tried for takedowns, but had no success. Akiyama easily shrugged him off and the fighters exchanged punches. Akiyama stuffed another takedown, but Shields picked up the pace and landed a kick to the body. Akiyama tried for a head kick, but Shields caught his leg. Akiyama stepped free and jabbed.

Shields remained the more active striker, but Akiyama’s jab bloodied his mouth. Shields closed the distance with a right hand, but Akiyama countered with a hard leg kick. Shields landed leg kicks of his own, but he was swiftly thrown to the mat. Shields stood and attempted a takedown. He took Akiyama’s back and landed punches just before the bell. Very close round. 10-9 Shields, barely.

Round 3:
Shields opened the final round with punches and Akiyama replied with kicks. Shields kicked to the body and lunged in with a right hand. Leg kicks and punches landed for Shields and Akiyama appeared to slow down. He landed a nice uppercut in a clinch, however, and stuffed a takedown. Akiyama pressed Shields up against the cage, but backed away after a moment. Shields stuck to leg kicks and he continued to outland Akiyama.

A takedown attempt was unsuccessful for Shields, but he got Akiyama down on the second try. Akiyama quickly stood up and the fighters were separated. Akiyama attempted a side kick and Shields took his back. Akiyama grabbed the cage twice to avoid being dragged down to the mat. He was warned, but the fight continued. Shields worked for a rear-naked choke and nearly got it, but Akiyama made it to the bell. 10-9 Shields.

Winner: Jake Shields by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) after three rounds. He improves to 27-6-1.


Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch vs Yushin “Thunder” Okami

Round 1:
Boetsch landed a right cross early on and Okami answered with a left hand counter. A stiff jab from Okami landed to Boetsch’s eye and he followed with another jab that sent Boetsch off-balance. Boetsch’s eye began to swell and Okami continued to throw jabs. Boetsch connected with a one-two and tried for a takedown, but Okami easily stayed on his feet.

A big left-right combo stunned Boetsch, but he regained his footing. Okami landed a head kick and Boetsch began to target the body with his own kicks. Both fighters landed jabs and Okami threw another head kick. After an exchange of right hands, Boetsch landed a one-two and Okami replied with a hard knee to the body. Dominant 10-9 Okami.

Round 2:
Okami landed a series of punches and a vicious knee to the body to start round two. He blocked a head kick and clinched against the cage. The fighters battled for position and Okami took Boetsch down. Boetsch locked on a guillotine choke, but Okami stayed calm and broke his grip. Okami looked to pass to mount, but Boetsch defended.

Okami tried to set up an arm-triangle choke, but let it go and punched away from the top. Okami latched onto Boetsch’s left arm and moved to mount. He worked for a straight armbar, but released the hold in favour of blasting him with punches. Boetsch rolled and Okami landed more punches before the bell. 10-9 Okami.

Round 3:
Boetsch landed knees in close and punches that wobbled Okami in the final round. Boetsch unloaded with more punches and dropped Okami with two big uppercuts. He continued to punch on the ground until the fight was stopped. Amazing comeback.

Winner: Tim Boetsch by TKO (Punches) at 0:54 of round three. He improves to 15-4-0.


(Additional results and play-by-play on Page Two.)