UFC on Versus 6: "Cruz vs. Johnson" took place last night (Sat., Oct. 1, 2011) from the Verizon Center in Washington D.C.
In the main event of the evening, UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz successfully defended his 135-pound belt against Demetrious Johnson. But it wasn't easy, not in the early rounds of the fight, anyway, with "Mighty Mouse" pushing the pace, closing the distance and daring "The Dominator" to a duel.
Cruz, who typically never stops moving forward, actually seemed to be a bit flustered with Johnson's aggression. And it wasn't until about the third round where he finally figured out the key to victory: Wrestling. From the point on, Cruz coasted for the remaining 15 minutes, putting Johnson on his back -- even with several highlight-reel suplexes -- and keeping him there until the final bell.
Johnson only won one round on the judges scorecards when all was said and done, but he definitely turned in a very solid performance against one of the best fighters in the sport today. Once again, Cruz failed to finish a fight early (he hasn't truly done that in more than three years), but he looked as sharp as ever. And his ability to switch gameplans mid-fight speaks volumes for his intelligence.
He also happened to break his hand on Johnson's face, which also could have contributed toward the final outcome. Regardless, Cruz remains undefeated at 135 pounds. And the amount of notable competition to challenge him is already running thin. Former champions Urijah Faber and Brian Bowles are on the short list, but Cruz has already bested them both.
He might just have to try to do it again.
In the co-featured fight of the night, Stefan Struve stopped the one-dimensional former K-1 kickboxer Pat Barry with a second round submission (triangle choke). However, not before Barry strafed the legs of the lanky Dutchman with lashing leg kicks.
"HD" was starting to find his range toward the tail end of the first and to start the second, but he made a fatal error and let Struve wrap his long limbs around his neck. It started with a guillotine and then Struve transitioned to a slick triangle that appeared to be a fight ender.
Sensing the end was near, a desperate Barry channeled Quinton Jackson, scooping up his 260-pound counterpart and slamming him to the canvas in an attempt to break free. It looked awesome, but it didn't work. In fact, it allowed Struve to tighten his grip and even hasten the tap with a dual armbar.
That's now two straight losses for Barry, who continues to struggle with anything other than striking. Struve, meanwhile, has won three of his last four fights and is quickly emerging as one of the more exciting heavyweights on the promotion's roster win, lose or draw.
And he's just 23 years young.
Charlie Brenneman was out to prove that his most recent win over Rick Story on just one day's notice was no fluke when he locked horns with Anthony Johnson in a welterweight fight.
Early on Brenneman made it clear that he wanted nothing to do with Johnson's powerful stand up, diving for takedowns and not looking to get to his feet even though "Rumble" was punishing him on the ground. When the "Spaniard" finally did make it to his feet, Johnson demonstrated the reason Brenneman was so reluctant to stand and trade.
Did he ever.
Johnson connected with a vicious kick to the face of Brenneman while he was trying to recover and collect himself from a healthy helping of ground and pound. But, Johnson didn't give him anytime, putting his foot literally in Brenneman's mouth and sending him crashing to the canvas.
It was so brutal that the referee intervened immediately, fearing that Brenneman was a goner. He wasn't, but he was clearly stunned -- it's remarkable that he didn't go to sleep. Brenneman protested the stoppage, but at that point there was nothing he could do.
The fight was over. And so, too, is his fast rise up the welterweight ranks ... at least for now.
Last but certainly not least, lightweights Matt Wiman and Mac Danzig collided in a rematch that was more than one year in the making. Their first encounter ended in controversy, with Wiman getting the submission win thanks to referee error (Danzig never tapped nor was he put to sleep).
Wiman would once again walk away the winner, but not after a three-round, blood-soaked battle to earn a unanimous decision. The pair set a furious pace in the first two rounds, splitting them and heading into the third and final frame with the fight on the line.
It was Wiman who dug a little deeper, connecting with punches and several skin-splitting short elbows along the fence that had Danzig bleeding badly. He'd continue to literally lump him up and bust him open with powerful ground and pound that likely contributed to the final result significantly.
Danzig attempted a guillotine choke as the fight ended, and it appeared to be tight, but it was too little to late. It was a great fight. One that overwhelmingly proved that sequels can indeed outshine their predecessors.
(To read Matt Wiman vs. Mac Danzig UFC on Versus 6 immediate post-fight recap click here. To check out a Matt Wiman vs. Mac Danzig fight review and analysis go here.)
That's enough from us. Now it's your turn to discuss "Cruz vs. Johnson" in the comments section below. Sound off, Maniacs!
For complete UFC on Versus 6 results and detailed blow-by-blow commentary of the televised main card fights click here.