When the UFC stops in Saitama, Japan for UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson, it will be the organization’s first stop in the Land of the Rising Sun after more than a decade-long absence from the nation, one of the birthplaces of modern MMA. To mark the monumental occasion the promotion has decided to “super-size” the show, booking seven scraps for PPV meaning the event is expected to run four hours long.
Confirmation of the UFC’s decision came earlier today during a conference call promoting the February 25 card.
Specifically, the bouts being featured are: Hatsu Hioki vs. Bart Palaszewski, Mark Hunt vs. Cheick Kongo, Anthony Pettis vs. Joe Lauzon, Yushin Okami vs. Tim Boetsch, Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Jake Shields, Quinton Jackson vs. Ryan Bader, and headliner Frankie Edgar vs. Benson Henderson.
Hioki-Palaszewski is expected to have a significant impact on the featherweight contendership picture with Hioki likely earning a title-shot with a win, while Akiyama’s offering involves his welterweight debut and Jackson is a legend in Japan based on his work with PRIDE. Last but not least, Edgar will be putting his lightweight belt on the line against Henderson who has looked better than ever since joining the UFC after a memorable run in WEC.
MMATraining Take: Seven fights on PPV! Consider my mind blown. This is a tremendous card and truly worthy of the trip to Japan. If it wasn’t already, UFC 144 has just become a “must see” spectacle.