UFC 144 Results: What We Learned from Steve Cantwell vs. Riki Fukuda

Andrew BarrCorrespondent IFebruary 25, 2012

Fukuda and Cantwell at UFC 144 weigh-ins. Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Fukuda and Cantwell at UFC 144 weigh-ins. Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Riki Fukuda defeated former WEC light heavyweight champion Steve Cantwell via unanimous decision.

It was a closely contended matchup in the early goings, but as the fight went on Cantwell faded and Fukuda poured it on, perhaps fueled by his countrymen cheering him on.

In Round 1, it appeared that Fukuda had the advantage on the ground and that Cantwell had the advantage on the feet. However, as Cantwell tired Fukuda was able to capitalize and control the fight in all areas.


What we'll remember about this fight:

Fukuda's performance in the later rounds.

Smelling blood in the water, he really pushed forward as the fight went on, throwing punches in bunches and putting on a show for the fans.


What we learned about Riki Fukuda:

Though rough around the edges, this guy has a ton of heart and may have a place in the middleweight division.

At 31-years-old, it's unlikely that Fukuda will ever improve to the point of being a legitimate contender at 185lbs, but he has what it takes to be a middle-of-the-road fighter in the UFC.


What we learned about Steve Cantwell:

Cantwell needs to make some big changes.

This was his fifth straight loss in the UFC, so there is no doubting that he will be cut from the promotion following UFC 144.

At 25-years-old, Cantwell still has a lot of time to improve his game, but he needs to start improving quickly if he ever wants to compete with the best in the world. Switching training camps might be a good idea.


What's next for Riki Fukuda:

Solid win for Fukuda tonight, but he'll need a couple more wins before the UFC gives him a significant step up in competition.

Jared Hamman or Mike Massenzio could be next.


What's next for Steve Canwell:

No idea, but you can bet his next fight won't be in the UFC.

Andrew Barr is a Featured Columnist for BleacherReport.com. For updates on what's happening in the world of MMA, follow him on Twitter @AndrewBarr8