UFC 144 Results Recap: Riki Fukuda Vs. Steve Cantwell

Image via Esther Lin of MMA Fighting

In the third bout of the UFC 144 preliminary card, Riki Fukuda busted up Steve Cantwell over 15 minutes and picked up a wide unanimous decision victory. The scores were 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28 in favor of the Japanese fighter. Fukuda showed no ill effects of the knee injury he suffered in a car accident last year, peppering Cantwell with solid shots for all three rounds. Cantwell gassed out late and showed weak defense on the feet. The bout was the second of four preliminary fights that aired on FX.

Fukuda started the fight with a quick takedown, and mixed up his striking well with a high volume of kicks and wide punches when it was back on the feet. Cantwell responded well with some knees and single punches, but it wasn't enough to take the round. Cantwell started the second better, grabbing Fukuda in a guillotine that looked tight. Riki escaped though, and blitzed "The Robot" with uppercuts, hooks, and leg kicks for the rest of the next two rounds while Cantwell looked a bit lost as to how to get back on track. Fukuda improved to 1-1 in the UFC with the win, while Cantwell dropped his fifth straight in the UFC (the first man to do so) and is almost guaranteed to be released.

What was the high spot of this fight?

There isn't one thing that really stands out, but Fukuda's uppercuts in the second round were pretty nice.

Where do these guys go from here?

Fukuda could arguably be 2-0 in the UFC (the loss to Nick Ring was highly controversial and Dana White gave Fukuda his win bonus) and looks to have a solid, well-rounded game that would make him a tough fight for a lot of UFC middleweights. It's still early in his Zuffa career though, so a logical matchup might be against the winner of the Francis Carmont vs. Magnus Cedenblad bout scheduled for UFC on Fuel 2.

Cantwell is going to get released. You can't lose five fights in a row in the UFC, none of them controversial in the least, and continue to be gainfully employed by the top organization in the world. He won't have a problem finding fights though, and I'm sure we'll be hearing about him again soon.

Watch it now, later or never?

Later. Fukuda busted him up and it was a pretty fun fight that might get a "now" on another card, but UFC 144 is full of awesome fights. This one can wait.

More Bloody Elbow coverage of UFC 144 in the full entry.

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