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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

UFC (R) Returns To Japan with Championship Card: Frankie Edgar Defends Lightweight Title Against Benson 'Smooth' Henderson, On Sunday, February 26, 2012, At Saitama Super Arena, Japan

- Tickets: Pre-sale Channels Open Now; General Availability on December 10; Live on Pay-Per-View on Saturday, February 25, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT -

TOKYO, Nov. 30, 2011 -- The Ultimate Fighting Championship (R) announced the full title card on November 30 of the organization's return to the birthplace of mixed martial arts. This highly anticipated event, the first in Asia under Zuffa ownership, features an epic lightweight title fight pitting champion Frankie Edgar against former WEC Champion Benson Henderson. "UFC (R) JAPAN: EDGAR vs. HENDERSON" will take place at the Saitama Super Arena, in suburban Tokyo, on Sunday, February 26, 2012.

UFC Japan -- or UFC 144 -- will also feature the return to the Land of the Rising Sun of Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, one of the biggest stars in the sport, in a bout which will mark the 6th anniversary to the day of his last fight in Japan. Jackson faces rising star Ryan Bader, whose most recent win came just two weeks ago at UFC 139 in San Jose. Other key matchups feature Mark Hunt, a veteran of Japanese kickboxing, versus French heavyweight contender Cheick Kongo; and Japanese superstar Yoshihiro Akiyama cutting weight to meet the always dangerous Jake Shields in the welterweight division. Rounding out the main card will be a lightweight bout pitting the underrated Joe Lauzon, coming off a stunning 67-second submission over Melvin Guillard, against former WEC champion Anthony Pettis.

The above-mentioned fighters Edgar, Jackson, Akiyama, Henderson, Bader and Shields, as well as Japan's own top middleweight Yushin Okami, all appeared in a press conference at the Ritz Carlton Roppongi in Tokyo on November 28 along with other top Japanese fighters such as Hatsu Hioki, Takanori Gomi, "Kid" Yamamoto, Riki Fukuda and Takeya Mizugaki. UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, UFC International Managing Director Marshall Zelaznik, and Asia Managing Director Mark Fischer unveiled the complete card and discussed the upcoming event to be held at the Saitama Super Arena.

"Japan is the spiritual home of martial arts -- the world has learned from the Japanese many aspects of how to compete in hand-to-hand combat with respect and honor," said Fertitta. "But Japan also has a proud history of modern mixed martial arts and I am excited to bring the Ultimate Fighting Championship back here, and to begin the build-up today to one of the most highly anticipated events of the year -- not just for Japanese UFC fans, but for sports fans all over the world."

"To mark this historic occasion of UFC's return to Japan and Zuffa's first event in Asia, we are bringing a truly stacked card, topped with a World Championship title bout," noted UFC Asia Managing Director Mark Fischer. "Frankie Edgar is one of the top pound-for-pound and toughest guys in the sport, and Benson Henderson is a former WEC champion who earned his title shot with three consecutive wins including most recently over Clay Guida in one of the best fights of 2011."

Tickets for "UFC (R) JAPAN: EDGAR vs. HENDERSON," now available via pre-sale channels in Japan, are priced at 100,000, 34000, 19000, 9800, and 5800 Japanese yen (JPY). General availability begins December 10 in numerous outlets including Kyodo Promotion, E-Plus and Lawson Tickets. UFC (R) fans in Japan can purchase pre-sale tickets to this event through UFC Mobile and through WOWOW and Nikkan Sports.

"UFC (R) JAPAN: EDGAR vs. HENDERSON" will be available live in the United States on Pay-Per-View at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT for a suggested retail price of US$44.99 for Standard Definition and US$54.99 for High Definition.

For more information, or current UFC fight news, visit UFC.com. All bouts will be live and subject to change.

About Ultimate Fighting Championship (R)

Owned and operated by Zuffa, LLC, and headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., UFC (R) produces over 12 UFC live Pay-Per-View events annually around the world. Globally, UFC programming is broadcast in more than 140 countries and territories, reaching more than a billion homes worldwide in 21 different languages.

In Japan, UFC events and other featuring programming are currently broadcast on the Wowow premium cable channel. In addition, the Hikari TV IP television network airs live and archived UFC bouts, as well as classic fights from the beloved PRIDE (R) library. UFC information, news and features are available in Japanese via JP.UFC.COM as well as the Official UFC Mobile site in partnership with TV Bank Corp. The UFC mobile site also offers fans across Japan updates, ringtones, wallpapers, fights on demand, and other exciting content.

UFC (R) also boasts a powerful presence online, with UFC.com attracting over seven million unique visitors per month, while also possessing one of the most powerful social media followings in all of professional sports. To date, UFC has over six million fans on Facebook and over 300,000 followers on Twitter. In addition, UFC President Dana White is one of the most accessible and most followed executives in sports with over 1.6 million followers on Twitter. On January 22, 2011, UFC continued to set trends in social media, becoming the first major sports league to stream live, broadcast quality action on Facebook.

Ancillary businesses include the best-selling UFC "Undisputed" videogame franchise distributed by THQ, UFC Gym (TM), UFC Fight Club affinity program, UFC Fan Expo (TM) festivals, branded apparel, trading cards, articulated action figures and other media including best-selling DVDs and a bimonthly magazine.