UFC 144 Results: Hatsu Hioki Is Japan's Last Best Hope For A UFC Title

Photo by Esther Lin for MMA Fighting.

Featherweight Hatsu Hioki entered his UFC 144 bout with Bart Palaszewski as the #2 ranked fighter in the world at 145lbs according to the USA TODAY/MMA Nation Consensus Rankings. His dominating win over "Bartimus," the #10 ranked fighter in the world, left no doubt that Hioki is one of the best featherweights in the game today. But Hioki says he needs one more win before he feels ready to challenge champion Jose Aldo.

Hioki is right to be in no hurry for a title shot. The former Sengoku featherweight champion is now 2-0 in the UFC but his first win, a split decision over George Roop, was less than impressive. Hioki showed more of what he could do last night against the dangerous Palaszewski.

In the first frame, Hioki came out and surprised Palaszewski with his aggressive striking, repeatedly beating Bartimus to the punch before getting a take down. Once on the ground Hioki showed in no uncertain terms why he is one of the most highly regarded grapplers in MMA.

Hioki utterly dominated Palaszewski positionally and segued from serious submission threat to serious submission threat. He wasn't able to get the finish in the first and it looked like it might come back to haunt him in the second. Palaszewski figured out Hioki's timing and probably took the second round on strikes.

But in the third it was all Hioki again as he quickly put Palaszewski down and again dominated the ground game with slick jiu-jitsu. Hioki might find himself rushed into a title shot against Jose Aldo, but I'm hoping he gets his druthers and is allowed one more fight before the title shot.

Japan just may produce a UFC champion yet.

SBN coverage of UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson

More UFC 144 coverage here at Bloody Elbow:

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