APRIL 25, 2015
LIVE FROM MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA
=====UFC Fight Pass Prelims Quick Results=====
– Randa Markos def. Aisling Daly via unanimous decision (30-27,29-28,29-28)
Note: Solidly competitive grappling-centric fight. Some decent back and forth work from each fighter, but Markos was simply more effective.
-Valerie Letourneau def. Jessica Rakoczy via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Note: Rakoczy’s eye was swollen shut after the second round, but she lied and told the doctor she could see to let it continue. That opened her up to some more damage in the third. Still, she wouldn’t give up even as she was down, and fought hard for the full 15 minutes in the loss.
-Nordine Taleb def. Chris Clements via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Note: Not a very competitive fight, with Taleb scoring numerous takedowns and doing damage from top position. Not the most entertaining, but it wasn’t a horrible fight.
=====Fox Sports 1 Prelims=====
-Brief intro from Goldie and Rogan, and then it’s intro time for our first fight.
PRELIM FIGHT ONE: OLIVIER AUBIN-MERCIER VS. DAVID MICHAUD (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Slightly tentatitve opening before Aubin-Mercier went high with a kick. It was partially blocked. Aubin-Mericer connected on a short combination. He shot under a strike from Michaud and scored the takedown. Michaud tried to get back to his feet, but Aubin-Mercier stayed heavy on him and tried to drag him back down. He held position on Michaud at the cage and looked for the right opening to advance. Michaud kept fighting the full takedown attempt, but ate some strikes for his troubles. Aubin-Mercier tried to open things up with some strikes. He landed some knees to the thighs. He spun downand wound up taking Michaud’s back. Nice move from Aubin-Mercier. He tried to set up a choke but got held off. Michaud defended the choke attempts well, but was pretty much stuck. That’s the position the round ended in.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Aubin-Mercier. Not the most dominant, but still fairly one-sided.
ROUND TWO: Michaud got in some short strikes early. Aubin-Mercier landed a couple of kicks and avoided a return. Things got a little tentative for a bit. Michaud got through with a hard right hand. He couldn’t fully take advantage, though, and Aubin-Mercier cracked him with a kick to the head. Aubin-Mercier landed a hard kick and Michaud went down. Not sure if that was a groin strike, but Aubin-Mercier pounced and did some damage on the ground, looking up at the ref to make sure he was alright. Michaud recovered and tried to fight him off, finally getting to his feet and getting separation. No sign of a groin strike from Michaud, so that was probably legal. Aubin-Mercier countered a strike with a couple of his own. They traded strikes. Michaud got through with a left hand. Aubin-Mercier landed another hard body kick with a punch behind it. Aubin-Mercier landed another kick, then blocked a punch just before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Aubin-Mercier. Michaud was having some success before that body kick changed the tone of the round.
ROUND THREE: Aubin-Mercier got a hold of Michaud early and tried to take him down. Michaud looked at Yves Lavigne to get separated while Aubin-Mercier was on his back. Aubin-Mercier got in the body triangle and tried to set up the choke. Aubin-Mercier finally locked on the rear naked choke and forced the tap.
WINNER: Aubin-Mercier via submission (rear naked choke) at 3:24 of the third round
STAR RATING: (**+) Aubin-Mercier had a very solid performance, and by the end there Michaud just wanted out. He stopped trying to fight off the choke and it was over two seconds later. Regardless, good win for Aubin-Mercier.
PRELIM FIGHT TWO: CHAD LAPRISE VS. BRYAN BARBARENA (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Barbarena landed a few hard leg kicks early on in the round. Laprise tried to cut him off and threw a high kick that was partially blocked. Laprise got inside with a leg kick. More kicks exchanged between them. Laprise landed another high kick, though again partially blocked. Laprise’s movement was solid early on, avoiding counters as he connected on strikes. Laprise landed a few punches in a row after Barbarena got in with one. Laprise landed a couple more strikes. He got in a hard spinning back kick to the body. Laprise got in to the head with another kick. He had Barbarena backed up to the cage and started landing some big punches and kicks. He didn’t over-commit, but did stay active. Barbarena tried to stay in it with a few strikes. Barbarena clinched up but Laprise immediately separated. Laprise landed a hard leg kick. Barbarena tried to move forward with strikes but wasn’t really finding a home for much. Laprise got in a little spinning elbow. Laprise countered a couple of rushes late. Barbarena got in a leg kick before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Laprise. Very solid opening round. He’s doing some significant damage while avoiding much of what Barbarena is throwing at him.
ROUND TWO: Barbarena tried to throw out a few early strikes. Laprise countered nicely and tossed out a head kick with it. Laprise landed a strike, clinched, and shoved Barbarena to the cage. Laprise landed a couple more strikes. Barbarena got in on a couple of strikes, but Laprise fired off in return. Laprise landed another nice combination. They traded kicks. They briefly clinched in the center and Barbarena got in a knee. He landed a couple of leg kicks. Barbarena got in a few more strikes. They clinched and Laprise landed a good elbow on the break. Laprise landed a solid jab. Laprise with a hard right hand. He threw a spinning kick that missed. Laprise again got in a few strikes in combination after eating a couple of strikes. They traded kicks. Barbarena landed a body kick. He got in another, avoiding the counter-strikes. They each got in a couple more before the horn. Close round.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Barbarena. Barely. Close round, could go either way. Laprise slowed a bit, but was still scoring multiple strikes at a time while Barbarena was intermittently landing and pressing pace.
ROUND THREE: Barbarena continued moving forward early. Laprise opened a cut on him with a short exchange. Laprise landed a few hard jabs as Barbarena tried to press in. Laprise landed a combination. Barbarena threw Laprise to the ground out of a clinch. He landed some strikes on the ground, but Laprise got to his feet quickly. Barbarena tried to press him to the cage, but Laprise quickly worked free. Laprise landed a hard uppercut in close before shoving Barbarena away. Laprise got in some more hard strikes as Barbarena tried to close in. They clinched again, with Barbarena getting in a knee before separating. Laprise got cut on the top of his head from something. Another clinch and Barbarena landed a couple. Barbarena taunted a bit. Another clinch with Barbarena getting in some knees. Laprise threw a spinning kick to the body. Barbarena pressed in with several strikes, though not all were getting through. Laprise landed a right hand. He got in a spinning back kick. They traded punches. Laprise landed a spinning kick to the body, and threw a spinning back fist at the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Barbarena? Close round again. Then again, could easily go the other way here and in the second round.
WINNER: Laprise via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
STAR RATING: (**) No problem with any of those scores. Close fight, lots of offense from each, Laprise appeared to be actually landing a little bit more. Regardless, neither took it clearly over the other.
PRELIM FIGHT THREE: SARAH KAUFMAN VS. ALEXIS DAVIS (WOMEN’S BANTAMWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Tentative start, but then both got through with some hard jabs. Kaufman got the better of a short exchange. Davis landed a couple of strikes. Kaufman fired back with a few more of her own. Kaufman landed a hard combination. Both connected in another exchange. They’re both firing and finding a home for their strikes. They clinched and Davis looked for a takedown, though did not complete it. Kaufman landed a knee and a punch to separate. Davis landed a leg kick, but Kaufman hit her with a few strikes. Davis’ face was already bright red with damage after half a round. Kaufman landed another short combo. Davis landed a good inside leg kick. Kaufman fired out a short combo. Davis landed a kick, but it was caught and she ate a punch. They clinched, this time with Kaufman pressing her to the cage. Davis got in a knee and turned her around. They separated and Kaufman went back to work. Davis was throwing out some strikes, but was getting beat to the punch more often than not as the round wound down.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Kaufman. Clear round in her favor, she’s doing a lot more effectively in her striking game.
ROUND TWO: They traded shots early again. Davis got in a hard right hand after eating a couple of strikes. Davis got in a few strikes, but Kaufman was matching her. Kaufman landed another combination. Davis went for a push kick and ate a few strikes. Kaufman landed another right hand. Davis got in a couple of kicks. Kaufman landed a hard combination. Kaufman caught a kick, but Davis countered and scored a throw. She got to the mount and went for a mounted triangle. Kaufman rolled to get on top but Davis was still attacking for the triangle. She turned it into an armbar attempt! Kaufman tapped almost immediately but the referee was out of position and didn’t stop it. Kaufman continued tapping and it was finally stopped. Wow.
WINNER: Davis via submission (armbar) at 1:52 of the second round
STAR RATING: (***-) Great finishing sequence to that fight, but Kaufman cost herself that fight. She was beating Davis up in the striking department, but tried to work in the grappling game, where she got thrown and immediately mounted. Davis took full advantage. Referee Jerin Valel is awful, and shouldn’t be reffing at this level. Not the first time he’s missed a tap like that, as he failed to stop both the Mark Munoz and Josh Koscheck fights in a timely manner at UFC 184. He could have caused some serious damage to Kaufman because of that.
PRELIM FIGHT FOUR: PATRICK COTE VS. JOE RIGGS (WELTERWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Cote pressed forward early. He looks quite big compared to Riggs in this one. Cote over-committed on a strike and Riggs took his back and tried to drag him down. Cote stood up, but Riggs tried to keep position. Cote bucked him off and wound up on top. Riggs got his back to the cage, but ate a bunch of strikes as he worked his way up. Cote then took him down. He patiently tried to drag Riggs further down, getting in a hard knee to the body when Riggs rolled to a knee. Riggs worked his way up. He tried to grab a guillotine as he got taken down again, but failed, and Cote got in a bunch of short strikes. Riggs again got to his feet, only to be immediately taken down. Cote passed out to half guard. He tried to briefly set up an arm triangle, then went for a kimura. He lost the hold after trying to turn it to a straight armbar. Cote passed to side control. Riggs escaped and got to his feet, but got tossed down at the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Cote. Strong opening round for him from a position control standpoint, with some decent ground and pound and submission attempts.
ROUND TWO: Both pawed out some strikes but were a bit out of range. Cote rushed in and threw a few in combination, but Riggs avoided damage and landed a hard right hand. Cote clinched but got turned around on the cage. Riggs separated with an elbow. Cote tried to press back ahead. He had an uppercut blocked but landed a short right hook. Cote connected to the body. Riggs accidentally punched him in the groin for a brief pause. Cote landed a left hand Cote got in with a body kick. Riggs landed an inside leg kick. They clinched after a missed strike, with Riggs then pushing Cote to the cage. Cote went for a throw but Riggs pushed off the fence to stay upright. More clinch work with Cote’s back on the cage. Riggs landed a right hand. Riggs finally backed off. Riggs landed a left hand as Cote tried to press forward. They clinched again in the center. Cote failed on a late throw and Riggs nearly took his back for a choke attempt before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Riggs. Not a ton of offense to that round, but Cote just didn’t find much success anywhere.
ROUND THREE: Cote took the center as Riggs circled on the outside. Cote tossed out some kicks that weren’t quite in range. Riggs shot in and took Cote down. Cote tried to turn into him. Riggs nearly got on a guillotine choke, then wound up taking his back. Cote then spun out and started unloading strikes in Riggs’ guard. Cote landed a solid elbow, then just tried to stay busy from top position. Cote continued to do just that over the next minute. Riggs tried a couple of half-hearted attempts from his back, but Cote just drove his head into Riggs’ chest and threw some strikes. Cote not doing anything to pass, but he was doing enough with his top strikes to hold the position. He finally stepped over to half guard, then side control. Riggs got to a knee and tried to stand up, but Cote stayed heavy on him. Cote shot for a takedown, but Riggs countered, taking his back standing. Riggs missed a few thown knees. Riggs got Cote’s back again, but Cote scrambled. Cote rolled into him at the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Cote. Close round, Cote probably edges it with top position advantage, though Riggs had his back a couple of times.
WINNER: Cote via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
STAR RATING: (*+) Not really a good fight. Very sloppy. Riggs wasn’t happy with the decision, but he didn’t do enough to win that third round.
=====Pay-Per-View Main Card=====
MAIN CARD FIGHT ONE: YVES JABOUIN VS. THOMAS ALMEIDA (BANTAMWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Jabouin moved his hands around in front of his face quite a bit. Almeida landed an early leg kick. Very tentative opening minute. Jabouin got in a body kick. Almeida landed a hard leg kick. Almeida landed a short left. Jabouin shot under a strike and scored a quick takedown, but Almeida gained guard and landed a hard elbow from the bottom. He used some nice balance to work his way back up. He blocked a strike. Almeida came back ahead with a right hand, then a nice leg kick. Almeida ate a kick to the body, then landed a strike. He got in with a hard right hand and another punch behind it. Almeida landed a couple. Jabouin got in a kick to the body. Almeida landed a hard punch to the body. Almeida connected on a hard right hand. He landed another. Almeida connected on a combination. He landed another short combo. He missed a couple and ate a spinning kick to the body. Almeida connected on another combination. He’s picking up his pace considerably. Jabouin threw out a high kick. Almeida landed a hard counter-right. Jabouin got in a right. Almeida landed a hard left hook. He backed Jabouin to the cage and started unloading strikes on the cage, forcing the referee to step in. That kid is legit.
WINNER: Almeida via TKO at 4:18 of the first round
STAR RATING: (***) That was awesome. Almeida is now 19-0 in his MMA career, and he showed again here why he’s one of the most highly touted prospects in the game. Fantastic performance.
MAIN CARD FIGHT TWO: JOHN MAKDESSI VS. SHANE CAMPBELL (160 LB. CATCHWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Campbell opened with a kick and ate a body strike. He landed another kick as Makdessi took the center. Campbell landed a couple more body kicks. One was caught and he was tossed down. Campbell landed a couple more kicks to the body. Makdessi caught another one and clinched. He tried to take him down at the cage, but Campbell did a good job stuffing it. He went back to the body kick. He got in a knee and shrugged off a clinch. Campbell landed a few more body strikes. Makdessi fired back with a few strikes. Campbell again got in to the body with a kick. He landed a short hook, then tossed out a few strikes. Campbell landed an uppercut and cut Makdessi open. More leg kicks from Campbell with a body kick behind it. Campbell got in a knee to the body. Campbell landed a left hook then a kick. They traded strikes. Campbell landed a short combination. Campbell shot in but got shoved aside. Makdessi landed a hard strike. Campbell fired off several hard strikes, but Makdessi fired back some big strikes. Makdessi dropped him with a right hand. Campbell tried to get his wits about him as he took a ton more strikes. Campbell recovered and got to his feet. Makdessi landed another hard strike. Campbell threw out some strikes but he was still a little wobbly. He shot in to slow things down, and nearly had a takedown when Makdessi grabbed the cage. Campbell kept it in the clinch, but finally separated. Makdessi tried to rush him back. He caught a kick and sent him down. Campbell threw out a few strikes. He got clipped again and went down hard. He turtled and covered up but Makdessi kept throwing strikes, forcing the late stoppage. That right hand to drop him the second time was perfectly placed.
WINNER: Makdessi via TKO at 4:53 of the first round
STAR RATING: (**+) Very entertaining. Campbell was doing a lot of good work on short notice, but Makdessi caught him with two huge right hands on the button that pretty much won it for him.
-Preview time for next month’s UFC 187 card. Now that’s going to be an awesome event.
MAIN CARD FIGHT THREE: MICHAEL BISPING VS. C.B. DOLLAWAY (MIDDLEWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Dollaway pawed out a few strikes. Dollaway caught Bisping in the groin with a kick. Bisping pressed ahead on the restart. Dollaway got in another leg kick. Bisping went high with a kick that was blocked. Bisping connected on an inside leg kick. He blocked a high kick from Dollaway. Bisping landed a right hand. He landed another. Bisping connected on a couple of jabs. Dollaway blocked a high kick attempt. Dollaway missed a strike and shot in, but got stuffed pretty easily. Bisping landed a few hard jabs, then got in with a right hand. Bisping landed an inside leg kick. Bisping landed another combination and just avoided the return from Dollaway. Bisping landed a left but ate a hard straight right. Bisping threw another head kick that was blocked. Bisping got in with a late left hand. Dollaway dropped Bisping with a big left hand and pounced. Bisping kicked him off and tried to keep him away. Dollaway tried to stack him up. Bisping got to his feet. He got hurt again. Bisping stayed on his feet. Bisping rushed late with a few strikes to close out the round.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Dollaway. Bisping was winning the round before getting clipped, but Dollaway let him off the hook a bit.
ROUND TWO: Bisping checked an early leg kick. Bisping landed a few strikes and nearly got cracked by the left hook. Both a bit more wary of one another here. Bispgin landed a nice left. He avoided a couple of strikes and landed another of his own. Bisping landed an inside leg kick. Bisping landed a right hand, but ate one from Dollaway again himself. Bisping landed a jab. Bisping threw out a couple of kicks. Bisping stepped in with a knee. Dollaway shot in but got stuffed. Bisping tossed out a couple of strikes. Both missed. Bisping threw a spinning kick to the body. Bisping caught a kick and landed a couple. Bisping landed a kick to the body. Bisping again got a short combo in. Bisping landed a knee and got a couple of strikes in.Dollaway backed up like he was hurt. Bisping tried to take advantage. He ate a strike, but kept firing. Dollaway recovered. He landed a nice jab. Bisping landed a shot. Dollaway landed a couple of hard left hooks. Bisping was cut by the right eye. Bisping missed a spinning kick. Dollaway shot in and scored a takedown, but there was no time to do anything with it.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Bisping. Did some damage and was a lot more active to even things up.
ROUND THREE: Dollaway went for the hook. Bisping tossed out a couple of kicks. He continued working on the outside. Dollaway got in a jab. Bisping landed a hard right as Dollaway shot in, but he got taken down. Bisping quickly worked back to his feet. Bisping landed an inside leg kick. Dollaway landed another hard left hook. Bisping caught a kick and landed two punches. Bisping tossed out a combo, only connecting on one or two. He landed a hard right hand and Dollaway shook his head as if it didn’t do anything. Bisping caught another kick and landed a hard two punch combo. Bisping landed another right hand. Bisping connected on a high kick in a combination but Dollaway took it. Bisping landed several kicks in a ro. Dollaway landed a stirke but slipped. He tried to rush Bisping but didn’t get anything in. Bisping landed a hard left hand. Dollaway landed a couple of strikes. Dollaway landed a right hand. Bisping landed a couple more kicks. Bisping went high again. Dollaway missed a couple of strikes. Dollaway shot in but Bisping stuffed it at the cage. Dollaway stayed on the single leg, but Bisping stuffed it. Bisping then landed a couple of strikes and got on top. He landed some strikes. Dollaway got to his feet. He rolled, but then had to stand, eating a knee on the way up. Bisping landed a big right hand just before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecared: 10-9 Bisping. Dollaway had some offense in the round, but Bisping was far more active and did some damage himself. Dollaway slowed considerably after the first round.
WINNER: Bisping via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
STAR RATING: (**+) He survived the knockdown in the first, and he never let up on pressuring Dollaway in the final two rounds. Dollaway just didn’t have the gas tank to keep up with Bisping’s continuous attack.
-Bisping still thinks he’s going to be a Champion in the UFC. That’s just not happening, sir. No disrespect meant, it’s just the reality of Bisping’s spot in the UFC. Other guys higher up than Dollaway wouldn’t have let him off the hook in that first round.
MAIN CARD FIGHT FOUR: QUINTON “RAMPAGE” JACKSON VS. FABIO MALDONADO (215 LB. CATCHWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Jackson quickly closed the distance and both looked to establish the range. Jackson feinted an uppercut. He pawed out a jab but was off the mark. Maldonado pressed forward with a couple of strikes. Jackson threw a leg kick that landed. Maldonado egged him on and Jackson threw a combo before clinching. That lasted a short bit before Rampage backed off. He landed a short combination. Jackson got in a knee to the body. Jackson landed several strikes in combination. Jackson landed another leg kick. Maldonado got in a jab. He landed a hard body punch. Jackson missed a couple of strikes. Maldonado missed a big overhand right. Jackson landed a good left hand. He landed a big combination on the cage as Maldonado covered up. Maldonado fired out a few shots and Jackson clinched. Maldonado turned him around on the cage. The clinch battle slowed things down. Jackson finally backed Maldonado off. He landed a couple of jabs. He threw a kick to the leg again. Jackson got in a couple of short uppercuts. Maldonado landed a left hook. Jackson went for a head kick and nearly slipped, then got in a couple of knees at the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Jackson. Solid round, though he took some damage himself. Still, did a lot more than Maldonado did.
ROUND TWO: Maldonado landed an early hook. Bisping fired out a few strikes. He said he got poked in the eye but the ref missed it and Maldonado came ahead. Jackson landed a couple of strikes before Maldonado clinched up. He landed some body shots, then took a knee from Jackson. Maldonado got in a short left hook. Jackson circled out and separated. He missed a winging hook. Maldonado got in some body strikes. Maldonado grabbed another clinch. He got in a short strike and pressed Jackson to the cage. Jackson got in a knee to the body. Jackson separated again. Jackson landed a jab. He got in a couple of strikes and Maldonado taunted him. Another clinch in the center, with Maldonado landing some body strikes. Jackson returned fire to break. Jackson got in a kick to the body, then a left hook. Maldonado pressed ahead and clinched again. The crowd got a little restless at the lcinch. Jackson missed a right hand and Maldonado kept him in the clinch with body strikes. Jackson got in a couple of knees and separated. Jackson came ahead with a few strikes. He landed a leg kick. They traded punches. Maldonado landed some more body punches. Maldonado landed a kick, then Jackson fired off a short combo. Jackson landed an uppercut, then a couple of kicks. Maldonado pawed out a jab. Jackson landed a few punches in combination. He got Maldonado to the cage and landed a right hand. Maldonado scored a late trip takedown.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Jackson. He’s just been more active overall, but Maldonado’s wearing him out a little bit.
ROUND THREE: Maldonado pressed ahead. Jackson missed a strike, then had a kick checked, but he landed a couple of strikes after that. Maldonado landed a right. He went to the body with a few strikes. Jackson landed a hard right hook to the body. Maldonado went back to the body. Jackson had some nice head movement to avoid some jabs. Jackson landed a jab to the body. Jackson knocked Maldonado’s mouthpiece out. He didn’t advance and let Maldonado get it put back in. Maldonado got in a few jabs a short time after the restart. Jackson got in an uppercut. They traded some jabs. Jackson landed a solid flurry of punches. He knocked Maldonado’s mouthpiece out again, leading to boos as he got time to put it back in. Jackson landed another combination. Maldonado landed a few punches to the body. Jackson went back to the body. Maldonado pressed him back and clinched. Boos rained down from the crowd, who are not getting what was promised. Maldonado landed a left hook. Jackson landed a kick to the body. He landed an elbow and a punch behind it. Jackson got in another short combo. Jackson landed another combination. Maldonado landed a left hook. He pressed Jackson back but ate a couple of strikes. The fight came to an end to boos.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Jackson. He was the better fighter tonight, but it’s amusing that he had another fight get booed by the crowd when it’s the exact type of matchup he wanted.
WINNER: Jackson via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
STAR RATING: (*+) The first round was solid and competitive, the second two rounds just didn’t have a ton of action. Maldonado was a hand picked opponent here, but didn’t bring the same type of balls-to-the-wall striking we’ve seen from him in the past, and that led to a less than stellar fight. Jackson did enough to win clearly, but it’s far from the type of fight he was envisioning.
MAIN EVENT FIGHT FIVE: DEMETRIOUS JOHNSON VS. KYOJI HORIGUCHI (FLYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP)
ROUND ONE: Horiguchi landed the first body kick to start things off. Lots of early movement. Johnson landed a nice short hook as Horiguchi tried to circle out. Johnson avoided some strikes and looked to close the distance. Horiguchi tried to press in but didn’t reach the Champ. Johnson shot in but didn’t have it. Johnson caught a kick and drove him to the cage for a takedown attempt. Horiguuchi stuffed the attempt, but Johnson stayed on him. Horiguchi tried to fight him off on the cage, but the battle continued. Horiguchi finally separated with a right hand. Johnson got in a kick to the body. He had a head kick blocked. He landed a nice combination and then scored a takedown on the cage. Johnson got in some short strikes as he tried to drag Horiguchi all the way down. He added in some shoulder strikes. Johnson tried to step over to mount but Horiguchi popped up to his feet as his back was on the cage. Horiguchi landed a hard inside leg kick. Horiguchi landed a knee as Johnson ducked down. Johnson landed a kick to the body. Horiguchi got in a kick to the body before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Johnson. Horiguchi did well enough, but that’s just the first five minutes. Fighting Johnson is about a lot more than that.
ROUND TWO: Johnson came out pressing. He cut off Horiguchi and landed a couple of strikes. Horiguchi rushed in and landed a knee but got tied up. Johnson dropped down but Horiguchi turned him around and scored a trip takedown of his own. Johnson quickly got to his feet, and Horiguchi landed a strike to separate. Johnson missed a couple of kicks. Both missed a couple of strikes and Johnson shot in for a takedown. Horiguchi had his back to the cage, but Johnson tried to drag him down further. He got in a strike and kept Horiguchi down as he tried to stand. Horiguchi got up but at a knee and got dragged back down. He landed a knee to the body as Horiguchi got up again. He landed a strike, then a high kick, and scored another takedown. Relentless pressure, if not the most thrilling to watch. Some restlessness in from the crowd. Horiguchi got up and ate another knee. Johnson gave him no space and scored another takedown, this time pressing further, but again Horiguchi got up. Johnson got in a body kick. Horiguchi landed a strike, but Johnson returned fire. He pressed in with some strikes and scored another takedown. Boos from the crowd. Johnson got in a knee to the body. Horiguchi got up but ate a knee to the body. Johnson got in a hard right hand after they separated. Horiguchi rushed with a right. Johnson landed a couple of hard strikes and dragged Horiguchi down again late.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Johnson. He’s taking his time and wearing Horiguchi down systematically here. Not the prettiest, but still good work from the Champ.
ROUND THREE: Johnson opened with a few kicks as he moved around the cage. Johnson timed a shot nicely but Horiguchi scrambled out. Johnson shot in again. Horiguchi held off the single leg attempt and separated. Johnson took Horiguchi’s back standing and dragged him down. Horiguchi scrambled and got his back to the cage. Horiguchi managed to work back to his feet and they traded knees in the clinch. Johnson barely missed a right hand. Horiguchi landed a left as they swung wildly. Johnson got in a solid kick. Johnson got in a kick. Johnson landed another hard body kick. He got stuffed on a takedown attempt. Johnson nicely timed a takedown and planted Horiguchi this time. Johnson nicely passed to half guard. Horiguchi got him briefly back to guard, then Johnson passed to side control. Johnson looked to trap an arm. There was some booing from the crowd. Johnson was looking for an opening, but Horiguchi defended very well. Lots of movement from Horiguchi on the bottom. Johnson trapped an arm and landed some strikes. He didn’t do a ton of damage before the horn, though.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Johnson. Horiguchi’s defense is quite solid, but he’s getting worn down the longer this fight goes on.
ROUND FOUR: jJohnson landed a couple of kicks. Horiguchi got one in. Johnson shot in, got stuffed, then landed a right hand. Horiguchi tried to press in, but Johnson took his back standing and got in some strikes at the cage. They battled in the clinch.They separated. Johnson shot in, but got pushed aside. He shot in again to the boos of some and this time got Horiguchi to a knee. Horiguchi got back to his feet. Horiguchi tried to hold him off, but Johnson dragged him back down. He got a knee in and Horiguchi got back to his feet. Horiguchi got separation. Johnson landed a solid kick. Horiguchi tried to press forward. Johnson landed a hard body kick. He got in a knee to the body. He shot in again but got stuffed. Horiguchi battled back in the clinch. Johnson got in a knee. He landed a right hand and another knee as Horiguchi tried to escape. Back to the clinch. Horiguchi tried to grab a headlock, then separated. Johnson got in a kick to the body. Horiguchi got in a right hand, but then got tied up. He tried to take Johnson’s back standing, but couldn’t quite get there. Johnson got in a body kick. Horiguchi tried for a trip takedown but got stuffed. Johnson got in another kick to the body before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Johnson. From a technical standpoint Johnson’s fighting a very good fight, but I can’t blame anyone for not finding this to be a thrilling affair. Lots of movement and technique, not a ton of damage, and no moments where the fight’s seemed close to ending.
ROUND FIVE: Johnson scored a quick takedown. Horiguchi tried to attack from the bottom and Johnson passed over to side control. Horiguchi tried to escape, and got to his knees. Johnson grabbed a headlock and tried to spin behind him. Horiguchi tried to sit up as Johnson tried to get behind him. Horiguchi got out and they both threw out a couple of strikes. Johnson shot in and scored another takedown, quickly getting to side control. Horiguchi scrambled and regained half guard. Johnson tried to trap for a kimura. Horiguchi got out. Johnson tried for a choke but Horiguchi got briefly to his feet. Johnson immediately took him back down. Johnson tried to force a mount, but Horiguchi was on the cage. Horiguchi got to his feet but got dragged right back down. Johnson back to side control. Johnson quickly transitioned to his back, but Horiguchi turned back into him. Johnson got in a hard knee to the body. Horiguchi got to his feet. Johnson got in a knee and separated. Johnson landed a kick to the body. He shot in again and scored a quick takedown. He got a mounted crucifix and landed a bunch of strike. Johnson then transitioned to an armbar out of nowhere and forced the tap with a second left! That’s the most ridiculous thing ever. Wow. He’s so damned good.
WINNER: Johnson via submission (armbar) at 4:59 of the fifth round
STAR RATING: (****) All for the stoppage. It wasn’t the most thrilling fight for 24 and a half minutes, but Johnson pulling off a record setting fifth round submission that will not be beaten ever makes up for anything else. Johnson is so good that he wore Horiguchi down start to finish, and he fought his fight. That finish was just absolutely beautiful.
-That’s the end of a busy month of April in MMA, but we’re not really slowing down. Stick with us for reactions from this card throughout the week as we gear up to another packed month of action in May!