They called for it, they got it. According the UFC officials, a significant lightweight tilt between Anthony Pettis (12-2) and Joe Lauzon (21-6) has been scheduled for UFC 144 in Japan. Both men verbally agreed to the contest after a respectful back-and-forth through the media in late-October.
Pettis, the former WEC lightweight champion, hopes to piece together another run towards title contention after derailing a guaranteed shot with a listless decision loss to Clay Guida in June. Since then "Showtime" has returned to good graces, earning a hard-fought split decision victory over Jeremy Stephens for his fifth win in six appearances.
Meanwhile, Lauzon hopes to capitalize on the biggest triumph of his career after stunning surging contender Melvin Guillard in just 47 seconds at UFC 136. The win was the third of his last four fights, and earned the 27-year-old his fifth "Submission of the Night" and eighth overall "Fight Night" bonus.
UFC 144 takes place on February 26, 2012 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. Former WEC lightweight champion Ben Henderson takes on UFC champion Frankie Edgar in the night's main event.
UFC 144 fight card:
Lightweight Championship: Ben Henderson vs. Frankie Edgar
Welterweight: Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Jake Shields
Lightweight: Anthony Pettis vs. Joe Lauzon
Middleweight: Yushin Okami vs. Tim Boetsch