Demetrious Johnson ran circles around his challenger before putting him away. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Demetrious Johnson was not going to settle for a decision this time.
The man they call “Mighty Mouse” retained his Ultimate Fighting Championship flyweight crown in the UFC on Fox 8 headliner, as he submitted John Moraga with a fifth-round armbar on Saturday at KeyArena in Seattle. Moraga (13-2, 2-1 UFC) conceded defeat 3:43 into round five, his seven-fight winning streak a thing of the past.
Johnson (18-2-1, 6-1-1 UFC) was simply outstanding and showed why most view him as one of the sport’s pound-for-pound best. The 26-year-old AMC Pankration export went a perfect 12-for-12 on takedown attempts, according to FightMetric figures. He passed Moraga’s guard 13 times and out-landed the Arizonan by a 67-32 count in significant strikes, 112-53 in total strikes.
A Matt Hume protégé, Johnson struck for beautifully disguised takedowns in all five rounds, effectively neutralizing the challenger’s heavy hands. Moraga did his best work in the fourth frame, where he countered the oncoming champion with a straight right to the face. The blow staggered Johnson and left him with a visibly damaged nose, but he recovered and picked up where he left off, blood be damned.
With a little more than a minute remaining in round five, Johnson grounded Moraga again, moved to side control and fished for a kimura before transitioning to an all-in armbar. His limb hyperextended and on the verge of real physical damage, Moraga had no choice but to opt out of the fight. It was the latest stoppage in UFC history, having occurred with just 77 seconds remaining in the 25-minute clash.
“It wasn’t important [for me to finish] at all,” Johnson said. “I’m here to fight. If the finish comes to me, I’m going to take it. I felt great, and it’s just a sign of things to come. I’m just going to keep on getting better.”
MacDonald Jabs Past Ellenberger
Tristar Gym’s Rory MacDonald employed the death-by-a-thousand-cuts approach in the co-main event, as he claimed a unanimous decision over Jake Ellenberger in an utterly forgettable encounter between two of the sport’s premier welterweights. All three judges scored it for MacDonald (15-1, 6-1 UFC): 30-27, 29-28 and 30-27.
Ellenberger (29-7, 8-3 UFC) had no answer for the Canadian’s reach and footwork, as MacDonald kept the Reign MMA representative pinned on the perimeter with a thudding jab. Ellenberger did almost nothing of note offensively until the third round, where he scored with his only takedown. However, MacDonald trapped him inside his guard and avoided damage entirely.
MacDonald, 24, has posted four straight wins since suffering his only career defeat in a third-round technical knockout to Carlos Condit three years ago.
Lawler Head Kick KOs Voelker
Former EliteXC champion Robbie Lawler knocked out Bobby Voelker with an exquisite second-round head kick in a welterweight showcase. Lawler (21-9, 6-3 UFC), a longtime middleweight who looked like a different fighter at 170 pounds and finished it 24 seconds into round two.
Voelker (24-10, 0-2 UFC), a replacement for the injured Siyar Bahadurzada, was never a factor in the fight. Lawler overwhelmed him with power, speed and variety, blasting the Strikeforce veteran with clean power punches, body kicks, head kicks and flying knees. He even mixed in a takedown, further short-circuiting Voelker’s defenses.
Less than half a minute into round two, Lawler uncorked a left head kick. Voelker collapsed, and the “Ruthless” one polished him off with one last right hand to the face. The 31-year-old American Top Team representative has won three of his last four fights.
Carmouche Grounds, Pounds Andrade
Team Hurricane Awesome’s Liz Carmouche dispatched Brazilian newcomer Jessica Andrade with some serious second-round ground-and-pound in a women’s bantamweight showcase. Carmouche (9-3, 1-1 UFC) finished it 3:57 into round two, forcing referee Herb Dean to intervene.
Five months after she failed in her bid to dethrone UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, Carmouche was in prime form. The 29-year-old Lafayette, La., native struck for multiple takedowns and weathered an attempted guillotine choke from Andrade (9-3, 0-1 UFC) in the first round.
In the second, Carmouche delivered another takedown, passed to side control, mounted the Brazilian prospect and threatened her with a rear-naked choke before unleashing her ground-and-pound. Transitioning between back control and full mount, Carmouche dropped heavy punches and sharp elbows with authority, ultimately forcing the stoppage with an accumulation of blows.
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