Those fans who aren't enamored watching flyweight fights or don't believe they're talented clearly haven't been watching Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson.
The UFC flyweight champion successfully retained his title with a dominant all-round performance, finishing challenger John Moraga on Saturday at Key Arena in Seattle with an arm bar with just 1:17 left in the fifth round, the latest submission win in UFC title fight history.
Moraga had derided Johnson before the fight for not being a finisher. Johnson, though, was far ahead and still looking to finish as the fight wound down. He could have held on and coasted to an easy win, but he retained the belt in style.
The low-key Johnson, though, wasn't making much of it. It was all in a day's work for him.
He wasn't, he said, looking for a finish to prove a point.
"You know, it wasn't important to me at all," Johnson said. "I'm here to fight, and like I said, if a finish comes to me, I'm going to take it. I feel great and it was a show of what is to come."
Johnson has now beaten Joseph Benavidez, John Dodson and Moraga in title fights and has looked increasingly better each time.
Moraga didn't look like he belonged in the same cage with Johnson. Johnson repeatedly took Moraga down and worked for submissions. Moraga's only highlight was late in the fourth round when he caught an onrushing Johnson with a right hand that bloodied the champion's nose.
Johnson was trying for the Kimura when he transitioned to the arm bar and quickly finished the fight. It was a total whitewash and perhaps Johnson's best-ever performance.
Rory MacDonald def. Jake Ellenberger via decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
In the co-main event, Jake Ellenberger proved to be a better trash talker than a fighter, as he did next to nothing while getting routed by Rory MacDonald in a welterweight fight that had the possibility of determining the next title contender.
MacDonald was hardly overwhelming, but he didn't need to be to beat Ellenberger, who not only couldn't do anything except eat MacDonald's jab, but who frequently looked as if he wasn't trying.
Ellenberger mostly followed MacDonald around the cage. MacDonald was allowed to be cautious and took advantage of the opportunity, winning a unanimous decision simply by out-jabbing Ellenberger.
"I obviously look to finish fights, but he's a good fighter, so what can you do?" MacDonald said. "I think I had him worried with the elbows because he didn't want to come near me after that. That wasn't my game plan, but I accomplished what I needed to do. I think I'm a better fighter than him."
Robbie Lawler def. Bobby Voelker via KO
One guy who looked deserving of a title shot was Robbie Lawler, who knocked out Bobby Voelker.
Lawler was once the hottest prospect in the UFC, but things never worked out like he, or many others, expected. And though he's gone on to a solid career, he's never achieved the greatness many expected of him.
Suddenly, though, he's beginning to look like the phenom who was terrorizing the UFC as a 20 year old.
"They really woke me up at American Top Team," Lawler said.
Lawler again showed the effects of his work with ATT in Florida. He put on an extraordinary performance on Saturday, finishing Voelker in spectacular fashion just 24 seconds into the second round with a head-kick knockout.
Lawler's striking was precise in the first round, as he battered and beat Voelker around the cage. Voelker was a bloody mess when the first round ended, having eaten a series of significant strikes from the power-punching Lawler.
As the second round began, Voelker tried to close the distance and the southpaw Lawler cracked Voelker in the face with a left kick. Voelker went down and referee Dan Miragliotta dove in to save him and stop the fight.
"It was a tough fight and Robbie is very quick and explosive," Voelker said.
Liz Carmouche def. Jessica Andrade via TKO
Another former UFC title challenger, Liz Carmouche opened the main card with an impressive second-round stoppage of rookie Jessica Andrade.
Carmouche dominated the second round and got the finish with vicious ground-and-pound following a back-and-forth first.
Andrade, who had Carmouche in a guillotine choke late in the first round, came out aggressively to start the second. But that proved to be her undoing.
Carmouche got Andrade with a double leg and slammed her hard into the mat. She then quickly moved into mount and pounded away on Andrade for several minutes.
She briefly went for a rear-naked choke when Andrade moved onto her stomach in an attempt to avoid the strikes, but for the most part, it was Carmouche on top firing elbows and punches.
Referee Herb Dean saw enough and stopped it at 3:57 of the third round. It wouldn't have gotten to that point, though, had Carmouche not been able to survive that choke.
"I knew no matter what, even if she had [the guillotine choke] sunk in all the way, I was not going to tap," Carmouche said. "It's not in my nature. The problem was, she had it so tight, and she has short arms so it was difficult for me to try and pry her hands apart. But, it was just a matter of me trying to pop my head out and get free."
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- Sports & Recreation
- Martial Arts
- Jake Ellenberger
- Robbie Lawler
- Bobby Voelker
- John Moraga