The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Monday announced the full fight card for UFC Japan: Edgar vs. Henderson (or UFC 144) slated for Feb. 26 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
“Japan is the spiritual home of martial arts – the world has learned from the Japanese many aspects of how to compete in hand-to-hand combat with respect and honor,” said company CEO Lorenzo Fertitta.
“But Japan also has a proud history of modern mixed martial arts and I am excited to bring the Ultimate Fighting Championship back here, and to begin the build-up today to one of the most highly anticipated events of the year — not just for Japanese UFC fans, but for sports fans all over the world.”
UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar defends his belt in the main event against Benson Henderson.
“To mark this historic occasion of UFC’s return to Japan and Zuffa’s first event in Asia, we are bringing a truly stacked card, topped with a world championship title bout,” noted UFC Asia Managing Director Mark Fischer.
“Frankie Edgar is one of the top pound-for-pound and toughest guys in the sport, and Benson Henderson is a former WEC champion who earned his title shot with three consecutive wins including most recently over Clay Guida in one of the best fights of 2011.”
UFC 144 also features the return of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson to Japan. Rampage was a staple of the fight scene as part of the Pride Fighting Championships. He will face rising light heavyweight talent Ryan Bader in the co-main event.
The main card is rounded out by a heavyweight bout matching Mark Hunt and Cheick Kongo, Yoshihiro Akiyama in his welterweight debut against Jake Shields, and Joe Lauzon vs. Anthony Pettis in a lightweight battle.
UFC 144 preliminary bouts:
-Yushin Okami vs. Tim Boetsch
-Takanori Gomi vs. George Sotiropoulos
-Hatsu Hioki vs. Bart Palaszewski
-Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto vs. Vaughan Lee
-Riki Fukuda vs. Steve Cantwell
-Takeya Mizugaki vs. Chris Cariaso
-Leonard Garcia vs. Tiequan Zhang
Tickets for UFC Japan: Edgar vs. Henderson are available via pre-sale channels in Japan on Nov. 28. General availability begins Dec. 10 in numerous outlets.
UFC Japan: Edgar vs. Henderson will be available live in the United States on pay-per-view at an early start time of 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT due to the time difference with Japan.
© 2011 MMA Weekly All Rights Reserved.