The main event of UFC on Versus 6 tonight (Oct. 1) in Washington D.C. featured a championship fight on free TV for the first time since 2007 with bantamweight kingpin Dominick Cruz putting his belt on the line against Demetrious Johnson.
They may have been forgotten by the promotion in terms of marketing and lacked any clear and present hype but the fight was almost guaranteed to deliver excitement.
And that's exactly what it did.
Cruz and Johnson battled back-and-forth for five long rounds, gutting their way through an absolute war of attrition that ultimately saw Cruz retain his title.
Speed was the name of the game in this one and that was clear from the outset. Johnson, quite possibly the fastest man on the UFC roster, looked to utilize his best attribute early but Cruz, a spry chicken himself, nullified it with quickness and superior technique ... at first.
By the time the horn sounded to signify the end of the opening frame, Johnson was getting the better of the striking game, his speed creating problems for the champion.
Cruz got cerebral in the second, bringing a heavy clinch game to slow his opponent down and lean on him as much as possible. It worked, to an extent, but he couldn't hold Johnson down the entire round and the "Mighty Mouse" continued to create problems.
The third round saw most of the same but this time Cruz utilized a jiu-jitsu game we rarely see from the 135-pound champion. He threatened constantly with a rear-naked choke but Johnson survived and kept the pressure, his aggression and pacing nearly impossible to keep up with.
Still, Cruz was doing just enough to keep himself ahead on the scorecards.
The tale of the rest of the fight remained the same. Brief bursts of brilliance from Johnson were quickly followed by moments of steely resolve from Cruz, who just refused to give up the title he's worked so hard to defend.
One more title defense in the books for the bantamweight king. Was there every any doubt?
For complete results of UFC on Versus 6 and to follow along with live blow-by-blow of all the night's action click here.