Two tough light heavyweights stepped into the cage last night (Nov. 3, 2012) as former UFC prospect Anthony Johnson took on D.J. Linderman in the co-main event of World Series of Fighting 1 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Linderman has spent the majority of his career at heavyweight while Johnson spent all but the past year at welterweight, but it didn't look like size was even the slightest factor in this bout.
Linderman had never been finished in his entire career, but that streak was ended in emphatic fashion.
Early on, Linderman tried to make Johnson work by stepping inside and feinting at clinch and takedown attempts, but Johnson reacted well.
Unfortunately, a horrific kick to the groin from Johnson put a brief halt to the proceedings but once they reset, Johnson didn't miss a beat with his aggression on the feet, landing a head kick that just missed the sweet spot.
As Johnson tried to utilize his jab, Linderman got inside and scored with some solid punches in combination, but a heavy right hand from Johnson backed him off. A ferocious leg kick took "Da Portege's" legs out from under him briefly but he didn't capitalize.
For a change of pace, Johnson changed levels and grabbed one of Linderman's legs, scoring a takedown but he couldn't do much with it as Linderman turtled and avoided damage, eventually wall-walking against hte cage and popping back to his feet, although Johnson landed some knees to the body in the process.
Just as Linderman got back to his feet, Johnson scored with heavy punches but an inadvertent poke from Linderman caught "Rumble" in the eye. As he backed away and grabbed his eye, looking at the referee, Herb Dean told him to "fight on."
Linderman, thinking he could potentially seize upon the opportunity, rushed forwards and ate a right hook directly on the button, faceplanting on the canvas completely out cold.
For D.J. Linderman, he simply didn't get in any of the offense he was hoping for. He was aggressive which was fine, but his takedown attempts failed and he only briefly landed any significant strikes during exchanges once he got inside. He repeatedly gave Johnson too much space which opened himself up to head kicks, leg kicks and jabs. When he finally got an opportunity to capitalize on an eye poke, he rushed in haphazardly and paid for it dearly with that knockout blow.
For Anthony Johnson, that was a thunderous knockout. It was incredibly impressive considering D.J. Linderman has fought some very tough light heavyweights and heavyweights in his career and had never previously been stopped. Johnson did a good job of creating space and taking advantage of openings. His takedown on Linderman was nice, but he didn't do much with the top position. The finish was a thing of beauty, however as he held Linderman's head in place with his left hand and then blasted him with the killshot via the right hand. That was solid work.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Where do you think this knockout will score on the year end awards? Can Johnson have a successful career if he stays at 205 pounds?