UFC 144 Fight Card Primer: Kid Yamamoto Vs. Vaughan Lee

Norifumi Yamamoto and Vaughan Lee square off at the UFC 144 weigh-ins on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

At UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson, Norifumi Yamamoto (18-5, 1 NC; 0-2 UFC), better known to fans as Kid Yamamoto, faces Vaughan Lee (11-7-1; 0-1 UFC). This Bantamweight contest is the third of four fights on the prelims live on FX. Prelims begin this Saturday, February 25 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT, with the PPV card beginning at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT. Neither Kid nor Lee are currently ranked in the USA TODAY / MMA Nation Consensus MMA Rankings.

This fight is on the card for one reason - to showcase the Japanese legend in front of his home country. With neither man even holding a win in the UFC, this is clearly not a battle with a tremendous amount of relevance to the Bantamweight division. But for fans who have watched Kid over the years, and have watched him struggle in the UFC, it's definitely a big deal - a chance to see this legend get one last shot at glory. If he does, expect a hero's welcome from the Japanese crowd. If Lee pulls off the upset, it will be a sad scene.

How do these two stack up?

Yamamoto: 34 years old | 5'4" | 66" reach
Lee: 29 years old | 5'5"

What have these two done recently?

Yamamoto: L - Darren Uyenoyama (UD) | L - Demetrious Johnson (UD) | W - Kiko Lopez (TKO)
Lee: L - Chris Cariaso (SD) | W - Mark Jones (TKO) | W - Ian Cox (Sub)

How did these two get here?

Kid Yamamoto was, at one time, considered among the pound for pound elite in all of MMA. Using his combination of wrestling and steadily improving boxing, he dominated the lower weight class Japanese scene throughout the mid-2000's, putting together a powerful 17-1 record. In 2007, Kid announced his plans to step away from MMA to train for the Olympics. An injury in training ended those plans, and Kid came back to MMA, but some of his momentum was lost. Then, in 2008, he suffered a series of injuries that kept him out of action for over a year, and he's never been the same since. He returned in 2009, and is just 1-5 since that year layoff. It's been clear for awhile now that the career of Kid Yamamoto is at its end; the only question now is when will we see his final fight?

Vaughan Lee came up through the English MMA scene, training at the Ultimate Training Centre and fighting primarily in organizations like Cage Rage and Cage Gladiators. He put together an 11-6-1 record that includes a loss to Brad Pickett before getting the call up to the UFC. He made his Octagon debut at UFC 138, losing a split decision to Chris Cariaso. This will be his first fight outside of England. It's definitely a major step up for Lee, but a win will put him on the map.

Why should you care?

He may not have too much to offer these days, but come on, it's Kid Yamamoto fighting in Japan. And there aren't many more times you're going to see that.

For a more in-depth look at Yamamoto vs. Lee, be sure to read Dallas Winston's always excellent Dissection.

More UFC 144 preview coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.

SBN coverage of UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson

UFC 144 Judo Chop: The Striking Defense of Mark Hunt - Fraser Coffeen

UFC 144: Rampage Jackson Misses Weight By Five Pounds, Loses 20% Of Purse While Fight Goes On - Brent Brookhouse

UFC 144 Weigh-In Video And Coverage - Tim Burke

UFC 144: Anthony Pettis Vs. Joe Lauzon Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 144: The Bloody Elbow Judo Chops Of Frankie Edgar Vs. Ben Henderson - Fraser Coffeen

UFC 144: Edgar Vs. Henderson Staff Predictions - Tim Burke

UFC 144: Jake Shields Wants UFC To Make Sure Yoshihiro Akiyama Doesn't Cheat - Brent Brookhouse

UFC 144: Yushin Okami Vs. Tim Boetsch Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 144 Video: Dana White Video Blog Episode 2 - Kid Nate

UFC 144: Rampage Jackson On The Streets Of Tokyo - Kid Nate

UFC 144: Dana White Wants You To Know The UFC Didn't Kill PRIDE - Brent Brookhouse

UFC 144: The Epic Drama Of Yoshihiro Akiyama - Fraser Coffeen

UFC 144: Is Frankie Edgar Being Underrated Against Ben Henderson? - Fraser Coffeen

UFC 144: Hatsu Hioki Vs. Bart Palaszewski Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 144 Roundtable: Can The UFC Succeed In Japan? - Tim Burke

UFC 144 Predictions: Pros Slightly Favor Frankie Edgar To Beat Ben Henderson - Brent Brookhouse

UFC 144: Takanori Gomi Vs. Eiji Mitsuoka Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 144 Judo Chop: Benson Henderson And The Miracle of Survival Part 2 of 2 - Ben Thapa

UFC 144 Video: Under PRIDE Rules, Rampage Jackson Dominates Fight Against Ryan Bader - Anton Tabuena

UFC 144 Video: Frankie Edgar vs. Ben Henderson Fight Simulation And Prediction - Anton Tabuena

UFC 144 Pre-Fight Press Conference Video - Tim Burke

UFC 144: Yoshihiro Akiyama Leads The UFC Back To Japan - Kid Nate

UFC 144: Should The Winner Of Joe Lauzon Vs. Anthony Pettis Get The Next Title Shot? - Brent Brookhouse

UFC 144: Norifumi 'Kid' Yamamoto Vs. Vaughan Lee Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 144: Riki Fukuda Vs. Steve Cantwell Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 144 Judo Chop: Benson Henderson And The Miracle Of Survival Part 1 of 2 - Ben Thapa

UFC 144: Edgar Vs. Henderson Countdown Show Full Video - Anton Tabuena

UFC 144: Edgar Vs. Henderson Betting Lines - Tim Burke

UFC 144: Rampage Jackson Is A Death Sentence For Ryan Bader According To Michael Bisping - Brent Brookhouse

UFC 144 Manga-Style Promo Video - Kid Nate

UFC 144: Takeya Mizugaki Vs. Chris Cariaso Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 144: Tiequan Zhang Vs. Issei Tamura Dissection - Dallas Winston

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