Another Japanese standout has been booked for the UFC's return to Japan in February. Highly-regarded featherweight, Hatsu Hioki, will get the chance to fight in front of his countrymen against slugger, Bart Palazszewski, according to a report from MMA Weekly:
Sources close to the match-up confirmed to MMAWeekly.com that the bout has been verbally agreed by the participants for the show taking place Feb. 26 at Saitama Super Arena in Japan.
Hioki came into his UFC debut last month against George Roop as one of the top-ranked featherweights outside of the UFC. Although many expected Hioki to find his way into title contention immediately, his underwhelming performance against Roop, despite winning the decision, has apparently led the UFC to ease him into the title picture at 145 lbs. "Bartimus" also made his UFC debut on the same card as Hioki, after many years on the regional circuit and in organizations such as the IFL and the WEC. Known for his knockout power, Palaszewski put it on display against Tyson Griffin, finishing him in the first round.
Hatsu Hioki (25-4-2)
W George Roop (split decision) - UFC 137
W Donald Sanchez (submission - triangle choke) - Shooto Tradition 2011
W Marlon Sandro (unam. decision) - Sengoku Soul of Fight
Bart "Bartimus" Palaszewski (36-14)
W Tyson Griffin (KO - punches) - UFC 137
L Kamal Shalorus (split decision) - WEC 53
W Zack Micklewright (KO - punch) - WEC 50
Here's the current rumored card for UFC 144, scheduled for February 26th, 2012 at the Saitama Super Arena: