Welterweight Charlie Brenneman was the Cinderella man in his last fight against Rick Story, stepping in on extremely late notice and taking out the top 10 ranked fighter in front of rampant support from his home state of Pennsylvania.
Brenneman had previously been able to dominate his opponents with his perfectly timed takedowns, strong top control and light ground and pound, so how was Johnson able to completely neutralize his game?
We'll take a closer look as well as figure out what's next for each combatant after the jump.
From the early onset of the fight, it was obvious that Brenneman was extremely concerned about standing with Johnson. He kept his distance and almost desperately attempted to catch two of Johnson's kicks in an attempt to take the fight to the canvas.
Despite not catching a kick, "The Spaniard" dove in for a takedown anyways and immediately got stuffed by Johnson. "Rumble" sprawled very deeply, put his right hand on top of the back of Brenneman's head to control him and proceeded to pummel him with short strikes on the ground.
Johnson turned to Brenneman's side and began blasting him with some sharp knees to the body and this caused Brenneman to finally roll over into guard. After some posturing, the AMA Fight Club member pushed with his legs to create some space and tried to get to his feet but got clipped with a grazing head kick which sent him back to the ground.
Brenneman tried to get to his feet one last time and was on wobbly legs. He leaned against the fence to regain his balance and this left him wide open to a huge left head kick from Johnson while his hands were at his sides.
Brenneman briefly went limp and dropped to his butt as the ref stepped in to save him from further punishment.
Notice from the angle of the referee's vision, he sees Brenneman in trouble and then absolutely blasted by the head kick from Johnson.
There was a huge cry from fans and even some media that it was an early stoppage because Brenneman fell on his back in a defensive position but from looking at the end of the fight multiple times, the fact that "The Spaniard" was on wobbly legs before the kick and the fact that he couldn't even bring his hands up to defend himself from the kick is reason enough for that fight to be stopped once he was dropped.
I'd rather see a fight like that stopped early than see Brenneman pummeled to the point of unconsciousness. I doubt he was protesting the stoppage with the way he was getting manhandled in there anyways.
For Charlie Brenneman, this bout was a bit of a reality check. He burst into many top 10 lists after his upset over Rick Story, but he still has a long ways to go to be a fully well-rounded fighter. His wrestling is fantastic, but he was devoid of some serious defense from ground strikes after his shot got stuffed. He's also going to have to improve his striking because that's what he uses primarily to set up takedowns and if his opponents aren't going to take his striking seriously, they aren't going to be taken down as easily.
For Anthony Johnson, that was a stellar performance. He dominated from start to finish and was perfectly prepared for what Brenneman brought to the table. It's high time he got another top level opponent to see just how good he is. There are currently no top fights for him as the rest of the division is locked up. A bout with the winner of Jake Ellenberger vs. Diego Sanchez would make a ton of sense, as would the winner of Jon Fitch vs. Johny Hendricks or Rory MacDonald vs. Brian Ebersole.
So what do you think Maniacs?
After several long layoffs due to injury, is now finally the time to shine for Anthony Johnson? Was this simply too much too fast for Charlie Brenneman?
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All gifs by Zombie Prophet via IronForgesIron.com.