After picking up impressive wins at UFC 137, featherweights Bart Palaszewski and Hatsu Hioki will meet in the Octagon this February as part of the lineup for an increasingly-stacked card in Japan. Hioki marks the third fighter from the Far East scheduled for action at UFC 144 with the other two match-ups involving area-favorites Yoshihiro Akiyama and Yushin Okami.
News of the bout was first reported by MMAWeekly.
UFC 144 will feature Hiokiâ€™s return to the region where the nearly all of his success took place while competing for Shooto, PRIDE, and SRC. At 25-4-2, and on a five-fight winning streak, itâ€™s likely a win over Palaszewski will earn Hioki a coveted crack at whoever emerges champion when current title-holder Jose Aldo defends his belt against Chad Mendes a month earlier.
Palaszewski, a fifty-fight veteran coming off a â€œKnockout of the Nightâ€ against Tyson Griffin in what was also his 145-pound debut, has long been known as one of the toughest draws in the sport with eleven submissions and seventeen TKOs to his credit. In addition to Griffin, the 28-year old also holds a past victory over Anthony Pettis while under WECâ€™s banner.
The February 26 event is headlined by Frankie Edgar putting his lightweight strap on the line against Ben Henderson. The card is also scheduled to feature Akiyama vs. Jake Shields, Okami vs. Tim Boetsch, and Pettis vs. Joe Lauzon.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC