Esther Lin, MMA Fighting | Hatsu Hioki will battle Bart Palaszewski in the main card for UFC 144.
Hioki (25-4-2) won his UFC debut last October at UFC 137 by beating George Roop in a split decision. At the same event, Palaszewski (36-14) also won his UFC debut by knocking out Tyson Griffin.
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Round 1: Hioki drops Palaszewski with an early, crisp jab. Palaszewski's nose is quickly bloodied. He takes Palaszewski down and moves into half-guard. Quickly into side control now for Hioki, who throws elbows, then a series of left hands. Hioki looks great early. Palaszewski gives up his back and HIoki jumps on it. Hioki to the arm bar. Palaszewski powers out. Hioki ends up on top in as a brilliant stretch of transitions ends. Hioki in Palaszewski's guard with 1:00 left. Hioki overwhelming Palaszewski with punches from the top. A big first round for Hioki, 10-9.
Round 2: Palaszewski with his best moment of the fight so far, a straight right hand that backs Hioki up a couple of steps. A much better start for Palaszewski, but Hioki still has the center of the cage. Hioki with a head kick that gets a piece of its target. Hioki's long jab has been a good weapon, snapping Palaszewski's head back a few times. Palaszewski changes course with leg kicks, trying to slow Hioki down. A low blow causes a timeout, but Palaszewski only takes a moment to recover. Palaszewski moving around much better. Hioki scores a late takedown and takes the back. A very close round, but it's Palaszewski's, 10-9.
Round 3: Hioki goes for an early takedown and they end up against the cage. Hioki uses a trip to put Palaszewski on the mat. Hioki with left hands and moves to side control. HIoki tried to mount but couldn't and ended in half-guard. Back to side control, and elbows from the top as he exerts his huge ground advantage. Hioki takes Palaszewski's back with 2:00 left. Palaszewski works hard to try to escape but Hioki's all over him. He tries a rear naked choke, then a neck crank. Palaszewski survives but that's it. Hioki wins it 10-9.
Winner: Hatsu Hioki by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
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