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UFC 144 main card recap: Hatsu Hioki bests Bart Palaszewski, earns unanimous decision victory

Hatsu Hioki showed off his world-class ground skills against Bart Palaszewski, dominating the action on the mat on his way to earning a unanimous decision victory at UFC 144.

Bart Palaszewski started to implement his jab early to start the fight, but soon found himself on the canvas after Hioki landed a stiff straight left hand. After getting back to their feet, Hioki got exactly what he was looking for, getting a takedown and going to work with his submission game.

After fighting off a guillotine attempt from Palaszewski, Hioki went to work, quickly advancing to side mount and pouring on left hands from the top. Hioki dominated the action from the top, forcing Palaszewski to roll, giving up his back. With Hioki high on his back, Palaszewski looked to shake his opponent off, but Hioki had already secured an arm, and quickly transitioned to an armbar attempt. Palaszewski managed to fight off the submission, but had no answer for the flurry of ground-and-pound from Hioki to end the first round.

In the second, Palaszewski found his rhythm, landing the better of the exchanges, while mixing in his kicks. Hioki returned fire, but it was Palaszewski that landed the more significant strikes before giving up a late takedown to Hioki near the end of the second stanza.

Hioki came out in the third and immediately closed the distance, clinching and putting Palaszewski against the cage. Hioki then got a crucial trip takedown to put the fight back on the canvas. From there he went back to the work with more left hands before moving to side control. Palaszewski tried desperately to regain guard, but gave up position again, giving way to Hioki’s ground-and-pound from the top. Palaszewski tried to spin out of trouble but gave up his back in the process, as Hioki dug his hooks in to start working from the back. Hioki softened Palaszewski up with punches and then flattened him out looking for a late choke just as the bell was sounding on the bout.

After three rounds of action, Hatsu Hioki was declared the winner with scores of 30-27, 29-28, 29-28.

The win for Hioki (26-4) keeps him perfect in the UFC at 2-0.

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