Feb 25, 2012

Hatsu Hioki Dominates Bart Palaszewski at UFC 144

The second televised fight from UFC 144 featured two talented featherweights. Hatsu Hioki was making his second appearance in the UFC, while the colorful veteran, Bart Palaszewski was also making his second appearance. Hioki defeated George Roop in his debut, while Palaszewski knocked out Tyson Griffin in his debut.

Hioki was 25-4 in his professional career coming into this fight, including wins in five straight. Palaszewski came into this fight a winner in five of six, including a win against Anthony Pettis in December 2009.

The open of the fight saw Hioki land a solid strike to rock Palaszewski. Palaszewski rebounded, with both men landing solid strikes during the next minute. Hioki then connected with a takedown, but Palaszewski was working for a guillotine, which Hioki evaded. Hioki quickly got to side position and was working towards a crucifix. Hioki landed countless unanswered and unblocked strikes to the head of Palaszewski.

With two minutes left in the round, Palaszewski gave up his back, which led to Hioki to work towards an arm bar, which Palaszewski got away from, leading to a triangle attempt. Palaszewski again got away and found Hioki in his guard. Hioki spent the final minute of the round landing vicious strikes from the top on Palaszewski.

My scorecard: Hatsu Hioki, 10-9.

The second round started a bit slower than the first, but Hioki continued to land damaging strikes. Two minutes into the round, Hioki landed a beautiful combination that concluded with a nice head kick. Palaszewski  began to find his range midway through the round, landing nice combination's of his own, ending with leg kicks.

My scorecard: Bart Palaszewski, 10-9. He was landing more strikes and did more damage. Hioki had a noticeable limp at the end of the round. 

With the fight even on my scorecard, which fighter would come out more aggressive?

Palaszewski came straight forward to start the third round, but Hioki got a takedown less than 30 seconds into the round. After showing great patience, Hioki moved into the mounted crucifix and landed countless blows. Palaszewski gave up his back and Hioki gained over-under control as he worked towards a rear-naked choke. Hioki didn't stop working towards the submission, but Palaszewski did a good job of avoiding the submission, but Hioki won the round.

My scorecard: Hioki 10-9, overall, Hioki 29-28.

Official Decision: Hatsu Hioki via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

After watching Hioki in this fight, I can actually see somebody employed by the UFC as a viable threat to Jose Aldo and the UFC featherweight title.

For more UFC 144 coverage and fight recaps, go here.
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Hobson Lopes has been a fan of mixed martial arts since the days of Tank Abbott and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes

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