Headlined by a hard-fought lightweight title bout between Frankie Edgar and Benson Henderson, UFC 144 marked the promotion’s first trip to Japan since 2000. Henderson captured the UFC lightweight title in a five-round unanimous decision, earning scores of 49-46 (twice) and 48-47.
The reported viewership figure represents another jump in UFC undercard ratings for the Fox-owned cable station, topping the marks set by UFC 142 (880,000) and UFC 143 (1.3 million).
Of the five preliminary contests on the bill, four aired on FX prior to the pay-per-view offering. The undercard broadcast featured a pair of Japanese icons, as Takanori Gomi and Norifumi Yamamoto both competed at Saitama Super Arena. While Gomi overcame some first-round adversity to deliver a second-round knockout of Eiji Mitsuoka, Yamamoto fell by submission to Brit Vaughan Lee in 4:29.
Middleweight talent Riki Fukuda also got his hand raised during the telecast, scoring with takedowns and consistently beating Steve Cantwell to the punch en route to a unanimous decision victory. Additionally, bantamweight Chris Cariaso earned his third win in four fights by taking home a unanimous nod over Takeya Mizugaki.
Prior to the FX broadcast, the evening’s first preliminary bout was streamed live on Facebook. Octagon newcomer Issei Tamura notched the second knockout victory of his career, finishing Chinese talent Tiequan Zhang just 32 seconds into the second round of their featherweight affair.