UFC Bantamweight Championship Main Event
Dominick Cruz (19-1) UD 5 Demetrious Johnson (14-2)
Scores: 50-45, 49-46, 50-45
Few fights will ever give you the technical brilliance at such an entertaining speed as Saturday night’s title main event. Johnson and Cruz started the fight fast and furious as both fighters whizzed shots at each other in a rapid pace. With both fighters possessing some of the best footwork in the game few shots managed to actually land. A takedown attempt from Johnson was stuffed and swept by Cruz who seemed to have the much better ground game. Eventually, Johnson was able to get to his feet and began to have some success in landing sneaky lead and counter hooks to the chin of Cruz.
Johnson landed a hard shot to start the second round but Cruz was able to secure the takedown. Johnson would not stay down and began to press the action but Cruz was able to use his jerky movement to keep his opponent honest. But Johnson’s speed was beginning to give Cruz some trouble as Johnson pressed the action for most of the round.
Again, Johnson came out at the start of the round as the aggressor and Cruz seemed to be on the defensive early. However, Cruz began to try to press his attack and cut Johnson’s movement off with some deft footwork. Cruz managed to land an awe-inspiring suplex that had the crowd on its feet and almost secured the win with two impressive rear naked choke attempts. However, Johnson would not go away that easily and somehow managed to make it to his feet. Still, Cruz would continue to slow the pace of the fight by securing another takedown of Johnson but could really do nothing with the fight on the ground.
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Cruz appeared to be visibly tiring in the fourth round which was a huge surprise given his much ballyhooed cardio in past fights. Johnson was able to again land some little shots while on the feet but when things get hard for Cruz he easily takes down Johnson. Johnson was simply unable to keep Cruz off of him on the ground but even when Cruz was able to get full mount the damage he inflicted was minimal at best. Still, despite Johnson’s success in the striking department Cruz managed to control the action when it mattered most.
Both fighters came out in the fifth and final round in a blistering pace which was surprising given the grueling pace of the fight. However, again Cruz was able to get the clinch and performed yet another awesome suplex of Johnson who was simply out-muscled on the ground by Cruz. While Johnson was able to get back to the feet, he was unable to actually connect any shots to the chin of Cruz. On the contrary, Cruz scored well with two judo trips. In the end Johnson was game but Cruz did what champions do; find ways to win.
UFC Heavyweight Fight
Stefan Struve (2-5) SUB RD 2 (Triangle) Pat Barry (6-4)
Time of Submission: 3:22 RD 2
Though physically Struve and Barry couldn’t be more different, their fighting styles are very, very, similar as both fighters are accomplished kickboxers. No doubt because of this the early part of this fight was largely devoid of action as both fighters seemed overly tentative of one another. Granted, you could understand why Barry would be a little gun shy given that Struve had more than a foot in height advantage on him. Though Barry landed some good inside leg kicks to the giraffe-like legs of Struve overall the lack of sustainable action had the crowd booing often.
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Both fighters started the second round much more aggressively as Barry landed a hard uppercut that buckled Struve’s knees a bit. Struve would try to keep Barry at bay with head kicks, Barry countered to march forward. Midway through the second Struve tried to land a flying knee but was countered with a hard left hook. Struve, at this point, decided to switch up his game plan and went for a standing Darce choke. Barry fought it off but was taken to the ground with a guillotine choke. Again, Barry was able to escape the submission attempt but Struve would be undaunted and deftly slip in a triangle choke. Barry would attempt to break the submission with a cage rattling power bomb slam but Struve would just sink in the choke tighter eventually forcing Barry to tap.
UFC Welterweight Fight
Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (10-3)T KO RD 1 (Head Kick) Charlie “The Spaniard” Brenneman (14-3)
Time of Knockout: 2:49 RD 1
On paper this fight represented a battle between two good wrestlers but Johnson would have the edge in striking and power. Early on it appeared to be right on the money as Johnson came out and stuffed a couple of Breeneman’s takedown attempts and simply bullied “The Spaniard.” After eating some hard shots on the ground, the fight would be called off after Brenneman ate a huge head kick from Johnson. While Brenneman would complain that he wasn’t hurt (and the replays would seem to back that case), the fact that he fell to his back like he had been shot with a cannon probably gave referee Mario Yamasaki all the initiative he needed to call a halt to the bout.
UFC Lightweight Fight
Matt Wiman (14-6) UD Mac Danzig (21-9-1)
Scores: 29-28, 29-28, 29-28
With the controversy surrounding Wiman’s victory over Danzig last year there was some tangible animosity and weight added to Saturday night’s rematch. The action started out at a blistering pace as both fighters elected to trade on their feet early on. Danzig made the most of this opportunity landing some sneaky uppercuts to the chin of Wiman while in the clinch. While Wiman seemed to want to take the fight to the ground, Danzig would be able to stuff the takedown attempts and keep the fight standing. Wiman seemed to be open to this and made Danzig double think this tactic with some vicious elbows while in close. Both fighters ended the first swapping shots, much to the delight of the crowd.
The action carried over into the second round where Danzig was able to take Wiman down with a beautiful sweep. While Danzig tried to make the most of this position, it was Wiman who was able to transition to catch Danzig with a vicious armbar attempt that had many thinking that the fight could soon be over. However, Danzig was able to eventually break the submission and made Wiman pay with come hard hammer fists. The fight soon found itself back to the feet and both Danzig and Wiman traded some hard bombs. Though Wiman was the definition of aggression, it appeared that Danzig’s boxing movement was a tad better.
Wiman, sensing that he may be losing the fight, came out aggressive in the third. While Danzig seemed content to try and counter punch Wiman’s attacks, he paid the price by eating two hard rights from the Colorado-based fighter. As both fighters seemed to slow down the action seemed to intensify. Punches, knees, and elbows were both traded with reckless abandon. Both Danzig and Wiman’s faces wore look of the battle as both were bloodied and bruised. Wiman turned up the heat with some hard elbows to the face of Danzig while on the ground. Danzig was able to survive the onslaught and even caught Wiman in a tight guillotine but time ran out in the round. Danzig clearly lost the third round but many would say that a case could be made that he deserved the fight.