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UFC 144 Aftermath Part Two: Barbarians in Beast Mode


(Props: Getty Images/UFC.com)

Admit it: When Mark Hunt first caught Cheick Kongo with a counter left, you were excited. When Hunt chased Kongo down and dropped him with a series of fight-ending straight rights, you cheered. No matter how much money you bet on Kongo to win, you couldn’t help but buy into the feel-good story that has been Mark Hunt’s UFC run. To see the same Mark Hunt who only earned a shot in the UFC due to the PRIDE buyout- the guy who Dana White offered to pay to just walk away from the UFC before being submitted by Sean McCorkle- thoroughly outclass one of the heavyweight division’s best kickboxers is a testament to his newfound dedication to the sport. The fact that he’s thirty seven years old only makes it all the more remarkable.

Mark Hunt improves to 8-7, marking the first time he’s had a winning record in the sport since his record was 5-4 in 2008. Although his hopes for either a title shot or a fight on next week’s Australia card are both pretty optimistic (to put it mildly), Hunt clearly demonstrated that he’s ready for stiffer competition. As for Cheick Kongo, this loss shouldn’t hurt his standing with the UFC- he was already a gatekeeper to begin with. We already knew that he wasn’t a serious contender for the heavyweight championship- the way he was outclassed by Mark Hunt’s striking and his inability to get Hunt on the ground proved it.

It’s disappointing to say this, but I think we can all agree that the “Sexyama in the UFC” experiment is officially a bust. Jake Shields, with his subpar striking and inclination to grapple, was about as handpicked of an opponent as Yoshihiro Akiyama could get for his welterweight debut. Yet for three rounds last night, Shields outpointed Akiyama on his way to a unanimous decision victory. While Akiyama did manage to stuff Shields’ takedown attempts throughout the fight, he offered nothing in return. Save for a beautiful throw in the second round, Akiyama never had Jake Shields out of his element in this fight- let alone actually in danger. And even though Jake Shields didn’t come close to finishing Akiyama until the final minute of the fight, he was clearly in control throughout the bout. Yoshihiro Akiyama has now lost four straight fights (or five, depending on how you feel about the Alan Belcher decision), and although he has shown flashes of greatness, the thirty six year old’s UFC run has been overwhelmingly unremarkable.

There may not have been a bigger surprise from last night than Tim Boetsch’s victory over Yushin Okami. Not only because Boetsch was such a heavy underdog, but also because of how he won. “The Barbarian” failed to live up to his nickname for most of their fight, being outgunned by Yushin Okami’s jab heavy offense in the first round and nearly punched out by Okami’s ground and pound after a failed guillotine in the second. When Tim Boetsch realized that nothing short of a finish would get him a victory, he threw caution to the wind and put everything behind his strikes. And it actually worked, as Okami found himself out cold fifty four seconds into the third round. While Okami seemed to be back to normal throughout the fight, once he got caught by “The Barbarian” he resorted to the same gunshy ”Thunder” we watched get picked apart by Anderson Silva. Okami needs to shake his fear of getting caught- something much easier said than done after back-to-back knockout losses.

As for the evening’s end of the night bonuses, which were all worth $65k, Submission of the Night went to Vaughan Lee for his armbar against Kid Yamamoto. Lee survived Yamamoto’s early onslaught and transitioned to the armbar after a failed triangle choke during the prelims on FX. Knockout of the Night went to Anthony Pettis for his brutal head kick against Joe Lauzon. It’s being rumored that Pettis has earned a rematch with Benson Henderson for the title. Don’t ask me how knocking out a gatekeeper like Lauzon earns a guy a title shot, but we’ll keep you posted if the rumor turns out to be true. As we mentioned earlier, Fight of the Night went to Frankie Edgar and Ben Henderson for their five round main event title fight.

Also of note, the UFC has decided to give Takeya Mizugaki his win bonus, even though he lost a unanimous decision to Chris Cariaso. Mizugaki earned takedowns and stayed on top of Cariaso for the entire fight, but Cariaso’s submission attempts, elbows from the bottom and sweeps earned him the victory in the eyes of the judges. Admittedly, I thought Mizugaki was going to be the victor while watching the fight, but only because top control usually wins, regardless of whether the guy on top is actually attacking or not.

Full Results:

MAIN CARD (PPV)

Ben Henderson def. Frankie Edgar via unanimous decision- UFC Lightweight Championship
Ryan Bader def. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson via unanimous decision
Mark Hunt def. Cheick Kongo via TKO (strikes) at 2:11 of Round One
Jake Shields defeats Yoshihiro Akiyama via unanimous decision
Tim Boetsch def. Yushin Okami via TKO (strikes) at :54 of Round Three
Hatsu Hioki defeats Bart Palaszewski via unanimous decision
Anthony Pettis def. Joe Lauzon via KO (head kick) at 1:21 of Round One

PRELIMINARY CARD

Takanori Gomi def. Eiji Mitsuoka via TKO (strikes) at 2:21 of Round Two
Vaughn Lee def. Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto via submission (armbar) at 4:29 of Round One
Riki Fukuda def. Steve Cantwell via unanimous decision
Chris Cariaso def. Takeya Mizugaki via unanimous decision
Issei Tamura def. Tiequan Zhang via KO (punch) at 0:32 of Round Two

- Seth Falvo

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dude- February 27, 2012 at 9:51 am
HEY CP, DO US ALL A FAVOR AND AND A 'THUMBS UP/DOWN or 'LIKE/DISLIKE' option for ppl's comments. They are down right hilarious!
Pen Fifteen- February 27, 2012 at 8:02 am
LOL at the dipshit who said that "from what he heard" the fight was close enough to merit an immediate rematch. Too bad you didn't actually watch the fight, because then you would have known what a one-sided beatdown it was. Henderson was never in trouble, and clearly dominated rounds 2-5. Edgar showed nothing that would suggest he'd fare any better in a rematch.
Todd M- February 27, 2012 at 4:21 am
^ Yeah Boetsch surprised the hell out of me, it was trippy the way Rogan was saying 'he's gotta throw caution to the wind' and then Boetsch just went beast mode, great fight.
@ Get Off Me, I'm a big Diaz fan but I think this will be his toughest fight yet, I don't see either of them finishing each other. I agree with your view, if Nate wins he will have to keep it standing and Millers no picnic there either.
Xanderschultz- February 26, 2012 at 11:27 pm
@TerryEtimfrozenintime

Yeah man, those uppercuts were unreal. They were like Mike Tyson Punchout uppercuts
Xanderschultz- February 26, 2012 at 11:25 pm
@sloppyspray

Couldn't agree more about Jake Shields not being a gimme. The guy is about a tough an out as they come. He's got an ugly game on his feet, no doubt, but I don't think anyone is pumped to get matched up with him. Most of the time it means being mounted and slapped around for 15-25 minutes, if your lucky enough not to get subbed.

Ugly games don't make people bad. Hendo's one dimensional striking and Nate and Nick Diaz's stockton slaps make them easy to dissect from afar and make them look really bad when they lose, but no one thinks they are easy to put away either.
KidDinomite- February 26, 2012 at 9:08 pm
Hunt's first name should be Mike. But seriously, I was rooting for him. He really impressed the hell out of me with that KO.
TerryEtimFrozenNTime- February 26, 2012 at 8:28 pm
Nobody has said shit about the Okami knockout. Boetch was unreal in that third round.
Get Off Me- February 26, 2012 at 7:08 pm
@Todd M
Miller is going to win vs Diaz, like maynard, he will not like Diaz's stand up, take Diaz down, defend sub's left and right...basically win inside Diaz's guard.
I don't think Miller is ready for another crack at Bendo just yet and Diaz sadly won't get there until judging in this sport is fixed. I just can't wait until Barboza gets his shot, would be great to see him fight either Bendo or Pettis.
Todd M- February 26, 2012 at 6:52 pm
I like Bendo/Pettis 2 because at this point there is no one else in contention besides maybe the winner of Diaz vs Miller.
darkstarrocketship- February 26, 2012 at 6:26 pm
Heh, Pat Barry's reaction to Kongo getting KTFO: http://www.mobypicture.com/user/HypeOrDie/view/12119936
RaginAsian- February 26, 2012 at 3:16 pm
For Dana, selling Henderson-Pettis II is going to be easier than buying out a rival promotion.
RSparrow- February 26, 2012 at 3:03 pm
Hunt vs Verdum
skeletor- February 26, 2012 at 2:45 pm
Where do you put the Barbarian? Beat a top ten but is nowhere near that ranking in skill, how far up the ladder do you move him? Herman?
Sloppyspray- February 26, 2012 at 2:41 pm
Jake Shields was a "hand picked" opponent for Sexyama? That's laughable. Going in to the fight everyone was saying how this was the worst possible match-up for Sexyama. I don't know one person who was like "wow, Akiyama gets to fight Shields in Japan? Man, that lucky son of a bitch. He's got such an easy fight ahead of him, no way he will lose."
Kid Clam Curtains- February 26, 2012 at 2:36 pm
Why do people want to see Hunt fight Nelson? Just because they're both fatties? That fight would be a flaming turd consisting of Nelson getting the TD in the first minute then titty smothering him until he gets the crucifix. Then TKO. Hunt is never going to be a champion but he's exciting and a good story. He can also strike with the best in the world (of mma). He should keep fighting strikers like Pat Barry, Kongo, Lavar Johnson, Mitrione, etc. At least the UFC can almost guarantee an exciting HW fight on any card he's on. I'd actually love to see him light up Matt Mitrione.
whiterice- February 26, 2012 at 2:16 pm
@GetOffMe
I hadn't heard it happened before, and I certainly understand the impulse to ensure the better guy gets paid. But if the UFC can basically decide its own winner (not in record, I know, but in money, and therefore, in spirit as well) doesn't that cancel out, to an extent, the reason that the commission exists in the first place - to avoid possible conflicts of interest and favoritism?
I'm on the fence. The judges are inconsistent at best, but is it ok to pick and choose when to go around them?
AndyInflammatory- February 26, 2012 at 2:10 pm
So Edgar caters to the UFC and fights Penn and Edgar in immediate rematches, yet everyone is talking about Pettis/Benderson? From what I hear that fight was close enough to warrant the same courtesy being offered to Frank.
anderson wanderlei paulo thiago alves silva- February 26, 2012 at 2:10 pm
im afraid to say it but i think sexyama and kid yamamoto are out of the ufc
k-onda- February 26, 2012 at 1:59 pm
no, Mizugaki got robbed, that was a bad decision.
Get Off Me- February 26, 2012 at 1:54 pm
@Whiterice
It definitely does not set a precedent, it has happend before(Nam Phan, Omigawa etc) and is simply rewarding a fighter even if the judges did or not. I heard the same thing with Barboza/Pearson concerning "handpicked opponent" and I think it is a way of saying an "easy opponent" which to I do not get either. Shields was a -300 at the books probably based on how he fought against Hendo. If Shields was so "hand picked" whoever "hand picked" him must not recognize the similarities in Akiyama and Henderson's attributes plus the fact that Jake has been Ko'd only once in a over a decade. I think selling a fighter short by saying he's handpicked results from underanalysis of said fighters capabilities.
whiterice- February 26, 2012 at 1:41 pm
And does anyone else think giving Mizugaki the win bonus (if true) sets a really bad precedent?
whiterice- February 26, 2012 at 1:38 pm
To say that Jake Shields was, "about as handpicked of an opponent as Yoshihiro Akiyama could get" is just silly, especially as most people thought Shields would wreck Sexyama. He may not be the big fish he was in SF, but the idea that Shields is a 'gimme' for anyone is ridiculous.
Get Off Me- February 26, 2012 at 1:22 pm
If there was ever a case for a fighter winning a fight off his back, it would have to be Pettis/Guida...I think Pettis could have ended up catching Guida if it was a 5 rounder. Pettis/Bendo is the only fight right now, it will also finally pit the WEC champ vs the UFC champ, the fact that it is a rematch and the first fight was a barn burner should be reason enough.
RearNakedSpoon- February 26, 2012 at 1:13 pm
Nelson's chin needs more testing?
humperdinkal- February 26, 2012 at 12:46 pm
Mark Hunt should be fighting Roy Nelson! That is the best matchup for both guys. It will test Nelson's chin, and it will see if Hunt can withstand not being taken down and submitted from Nelson. Both have sick chins and both are smaller(not width obviously but height) than the average heavyweight. That fight would be interesting.
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