It should come as no surprise that that Jonathan Brookins and Michael Johnson would collide in the Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale. After all, if you are led to believe what the cameras of TUF displayed, both Brookins and Johnson were two of the most focused cast members/fighters.
However, what many would say is that they did not envision Johnson loosing the manner in which he did: a victim of wrestling.
Look, Brookins is obviously a very talented young fighter. But, he carried nowhere near the amount of praise and hype that surrounded Johnson. Few, if any, would have envisioned Johnson being out wrestled in an MMA contest, let alone to the likes of the unassuming Brookins. But give credit where credit is due, Brookins reached up and seized the opportunity as it presented itself.
After eating a buffet of punches served up by Johnson in the opening round of their main event fight, Brookins utilized his wrestling ability to take Johnson down at will and punish him repeatedly. This same tactic carried over into the third round where Brookins was able to grind out the decision and capture the coveted prize of TUF winner.
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Good for Brookins. The kid seems like a real model citizen. His cerebral approach to life, one born of a less than idealistic childhood, is a fresh approach to the sport. MMA is often categorized as being filled with braggadocios meatheads and a fighter like Brookins goes a long way in dispelling such a negative stereotype.
However, as impressive as Brookins was in victory let us not discount the fact that there are some gaping holes in his game. First and foremost, Brookins needs to enlist the aid of a striking coach pronto. Johnson was able to tee off on his exposed chin for the greater part of the opening round. Actually, Broookins served up his chin by keeping his hands low and pulling straight back with his chin in the air. A good boxing coach will fill some of these needs and blessed with a solid wrestling base, I fully expect to see Brookins continue to flourish under the UFC banner.