UFC 144: Why Event Will Be Best of 2012

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 25, 2012

The UFC returns to Japan for the first time in a little over 11 years with UFC 144.

The main event of the card is a UFC Lightweight Title fight between Frankie "The Answer" Edgar and Ben "Smooth" Henderson.

It should be a good fight. Edgar (14-1-1) and Henderson (15-2-0) are both very adept at the takedown.

Edgar, the fourth-best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, according to Sherdog, is coming off an epic trilogy against Gray Maynard. Maynard is responsible for both the lone draw and lone loss on Edgar's professional record.

"The Answer" was able to end the trilogy with a knockout of Maynard at UFC 136, which won Knockout of the Night.

This is only going to be Henderson's fourth fight in the UFC. Each of his three previous fights have gone to a decision. He earned a title shot after defeating Clay Guida at UFC on Fox 1.

It's likely that Henderson-Edgar is going to go the distance so fans will probably be getting their money's worth from this fight.

UFC 144 is already not without plenty of drama, either.

The other big fight on the card, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson vs. Ryan Bader, has already made headlines because Jackson was six pounds overweight at the weigh-in. As a result, Bader will receive 20 percent of Jackson's purse.

Rich Franklin called out Jackson for what Franklin believes is Jackson's lack of interest in MMA. Although he's lost three of his last seven fights, if Jackson has a chip on his shoulder, it could be fun to watch him unload on Bader.

It could be a big trophy for Bader. After two bad losses to Tito Ortiz and Jon Jones, respectively, a win over Jackson could see MMA fans take him more seriously as a contender.

The most exciting fight, though, could be Cheick Kongo vs. Mark Hunt. For the casual UFC fan who just likes to watch guys hit each other, this could your fight.

Kongo and Hunt are very good strikers and both will look to that to win the fight. Kongo will try to get Hunt off his feet because the big Kiwi really struggles on the ground.

The Jake Shields-Yoshihiro Akiyama fight is a battle of two guys who have been underachieving lately. Akiyama is coming off three straight losses while Shields has lost two in a row.

This means that the two are desperate to regain some footing in UFC. Desperation can make a fighter very dangerous as each fighter will look to do whatever he can to get back in the win column.

The four preliminary fights for UFC 144 begin on FX at 8:00 p.m. EST, and the main event kicks off on pay-per-view at 10:00 p.m. EST.