UFC 144 was a great event from top to bottom, featuring several star performances from UFC newcomers and veterans alike. But which stars shined brightest, and what moments will fans be talking about in the following weeks? Here’s my take on the matter: my top five best moments of UFC 144.
5. Hatsu Hioki proving he’s UFC-ready
Bart Palaszewski is one of the UFC’s strongest assets in its featherweight division. He may not be championship-caliber, but he’s always entertaining, he always fights to finish, and he’s got enough versatility and veteran savvy to pose a threat to anybody. In short, he’s a great gatekeeper, and most people can’t pass his test.
Hatsu Hioki did, though, and he did it with flying colors. I’m finally starting to believe some of Hatsu Hioki’s hype.
4. Anthony Pettis KO’ing Joe Lauzon
Joe Lauzon is a really entertaining fighter, and I always feel gutted when he loses. But I felt incredibly happy when Anthony Pettis scored his first stoppage win in the UFC, even if it came at the cost of Lauzon getting KO’d.
It’s taken a few fights, but Pettis seems to have finally found firm ground to stand on in the UFC. Moving forward, I can’t wait to see if Pettis can capitalize on this victory and make a serious run at the title.
3. Mark Hunt dropping and stopping Cheick Kongo
How can you not love Mark Hunt? The guy puts it all out there every single time he fights, and it’s finally starting to pay off for him.
I honestly consider Mark Hunt’s current run to be one of the most spectacular resurrections of an MMA fighter’s career that I’ve ever seen. No matter where Mark Hunt goes from here, I’ll definitely be pulling for him.
2. Tim Boetsch rallying and stopping Yushin Okami
You couldn’t write a better comeback than this one. Tim Boetsch was done but not out, he was losing two rounds to none but never stopped thinking that he could finish the fight.
Yushin Okami, to his credit, did everything right in this fight and was five or so minutes away from getting a dominant decision victory.
But sometimes...sometimes you just get caught.
That’s exactly what happened to Okami, and it resulted in a spectacular come-from-behind stoppage win that I know we’ll all still be talking about for weeks to come.
And my personal pick for the best moment of UFC 144 is…
1. The main event, of course
If Benson Henderson vs. Frank Edgar hadn’t lived up to its hype, I would’ve been severely disappointed. Both men are on my list of favorite fighters, and I think the two of them are two of the most entertaining fighters the UFC has to offer.
For five rounds, these two gave us a stellar back-and-forth fight. It was non-stop action with a number of twists and turns, and even a few close calls. In the end we got a new UFC lightweight champion, and that was pretty awesome to see as well.