With a future fight against Light Heavyweight champion, Jon Jones, guaranteed to the winner, the stakes couldn't be higher for Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Johnson, who headlined UFC on FOX 14 tonight (Sat., Jan. 24, 2015) at Tele2 Arena in Stockholm, Sweden.
Despite some troubles outside the Octagon, of which he was ultimately absolved, Johnson had not lost in almost three years, compiling an eight-fight win streak that spanned four different mixed martial arts (MMA) promotions. It was quite the circuitous route to the top.
One that will continue to its unlikely final destination, a championship opportunity against Jones, after Johnson completely beat the brakes of Gustafsson en route to a crushing first round technical knockout.
Gustafsson entered the Octagon to a Hero's Welcome, the crowd was clearly behind its biggest MMA star. Johnson wanted to turn the emotional tide in his favor, coming out to start the first round looking to close the gap and land a huge fight-ending punch. He got a nice hook in early, along with a high kick, but Gustafsson was able to weather the early onslaught.
One minute in, after a break in the acttion because of an inadvertent eye poke, Johnson landed a huge shot that dropped the Swede. Gustafsson countered, but he wasn't right, and Johnson continued with the furious blitz. And the wheels fell off for Gustafsson seconds after, as Johnson poured on the power.
Gustafsson hit the canvas again, looking to avoid the assault, but Johnson kept coming. The referee gave Gustafsson just about every opportunity to fight back and get to his feet, but it was clear as Johnson drilled him with countless unanswered shots as he was turtled on the canvas, that Gustafsson was cooked.
Wow ... what a powerful performance. Gustafsson was left in tears, his championship rematch against Jones gone in less than three minutes.
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