UFC® RETURNS TO JAPAN WITH A CHAMPIONSHIP CARD: FRANKIE EDGAR DEFENDS THE
LIGHTWEIGHT TITLE AGAINST BENSON ‘SMOOTH’ HENDERSON
Sunday, February 26, 2012, 10am
Saitama Super Arena, Japan
TICKETS: PRE-SALE CHANNELS OPEN TODAY;
GENERAL AVAILABILITY ON SATURDAY DECEMBER 10
10 am local/1 am GMT/8 pm ET (Friday, December 9)/5 pm PT (Friday, December 9)
Tickets for international fans will be available to fans outside through Japanese ticket vendor Boardwalk Inc.
Live on Wowow in Japan, and Pay-Per-View in North America on Sat. Feb. 25, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT
The Ultimate Fighting Championship® announced the full fight card today of the organization’s return to the birthplace of mixed martial arts. This highly anticipated event, the first in Asia under Zuffa ownership, features an epic lightweight title fight pitting champion Frankie Edgar against former WEC Champion Benson Henderson. UFC® JAPAN: EDGAR vs. HENDERSON will take place at the Saitama Super Arena, in suburban Tokyo, on Sunday, February 26, 2012.
UFC Japan – or UFC 144 – will also feature the return to Land of the Rising Sun of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, one of the biggest stars in the sport, in a bout which will mark the 6th anniversary to the day of his last fight in Japan. Jackson faces rising star Ryan Bader, whose most recent win came just two weeks ago at UFC 139 in San Jose. Other key matchups feature Mark Hunt, a veteran of Japanese kickboxing, versus French heavyweight contender Cheick Kongo; and Japanese superstar Yoshihiro Akiyama dropping a weight division to meet the always dangerous Jake Shields at welterweight. Rounding out the main card will be a lightweight bout pitting the underrated Joe Lauzon, coming off a stunning 67-second submission over Melvin Guillard, against former WEC champion Anthony Pettis.
The above-mentioned fighters Edgar, Jackson, Akiyama, Henderson, Bader and Shields, as well as Japan’s own top middleweight Yushin Okami, all appeared in the press conference at the Ritz Carlton Roppongi in Tokyo today along with other top Japanese fighters Hatsu Hioki, Takanori Gomi, “Kid” Yamamoto, Riki Fukuda and Takeya Mizugaki. UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, UFC International Managing Director Marshall Zelaznik, and Asia Managing Director Mark Fischer unveiled the complete card and discussed the upcoming event to be held at the Saitama Super Arena.
Full fight card:
Main event - five rounds
Frankie Edgar vs. Benson Henderson
Main card -
Rampage Jackson vs Ryan Bader
Mark Hunt vs Cheick Kongo
Yoshihiro Akiyama vs Jake Shields
Anthony Pettis vs Joe Lauzon
Yushin Okami vs Tim Boetsch
Takanori Gomi vs George Sotiropoulos
Hatsu Hioki vs Bart Palaszewski
Kid Yamamoto vs Vaughan Lee
Riki Fukuda vs Steve Cantwell
Takeya Mizugaki vs Chris Cariaso
Leonard Garcia vs Tiequan Zhang
“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 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.”
“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”
Tickets for UFC® JAPAN: EDGAR vs. HENDERSON will be made available via pre-sale channels in Japan on November 28 and are priced at Japanese Yen (JPY) 100,000, 34000, 19000 9800, and 5800. General availability begins December 10 in numerous outlets including Kyodo Promotion, E-Plus and Lawson Tickets.
UFC® fans in Japan will have the opportunity to purchase pre-sale tickets to this event starting today through UFC Mobile, and tomorrow through WOWOW and Nikkan Sports.
UFC® JAPAN: EDGAR vs. HENDERSON will be available live in the United States on Pay-Per-View at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT for a suggested retail price of $44.99 US for Standard Definition and $54.99 US for High Definition.