Anthony Johnson and Dan Hardy have excellent knockout power, so the fans were expecting an all-out firefight. In fact during the prefight teleconference, Johnson promised there wouldn't be any takedowns. He lied, and for good reason.
Instead, Johnson decided to prey on Hardy's biggest weakness. Johnson scored takedowns and maintained top control in every round to cruise to a unanimous decision victory, 30-27 on all three cards, in the co-main event at Ultimate Fight Night 24 in Seattle.
All five of Johnson's previous UFC wins had come via KO or TKO. Hardy's takedown defense was shown to be very weak against Georges St. Pierre at UFC 111, so Johnson turned to his JUCO wrestling pedigree. The crowd at Key Arena booed loudly at different times, but there was no reason to risk anything on the feet. Johnson outlanded Hardy 72-5 over the course of the 15 minutes.
Johnson's best moments came in the first, when he floored Hardy with a head kick, and the third when he took Hardy's back. He went from attempting choke to locking an arm-triangle choke and even worked a neck crank in the final seconds. When he rose to his feet, as the crowd howled, Johnson blew some kisses.
Hardy's lost three straight fights. This was a big one for Johnson, who'd missed the last 16 months battling injuries and recovering from knee surgery. While sidelined Johnson (9-3, 6-3 UFC) blew up to 220-plus pounds. He normally cuts a lot of weight and has suffered stamina issues in some past fights. Tonight, he looked fresh for all 15 minutes. He said during the postfight press conference that walked into the cage in this 170 pound fight somewhere between 190-195 pounds.
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