Top-ranked Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight standouts, Edson Barboza (No. 6) and Michael Johnson (No. 12), collided in the UFC Fight Night 61 co-main event tonight (Sun. Feb. 22, 2015) on FOX Sports 1 from Gigantinho Gymnasium in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
And it was Johnson who advanced up the competitive 155-pound ladder thanks to a very impressive, and aggressive, unanimous decision win.
Johnson comes out pumping the jab as Barboza circled away and unleashed two huge kicks to the body. Johnson was throwing with terrible intentions, but it was Barboza who found a nice home for a short right uppercut. More big kicks from Barboza follow, then a left hook, but Johnson connected with a looping right hand.
Barboza attempted to shoot for a takedown, but Johnson stepped back and tagged his head with a crisp combination. Both guys exchanged hard shots, Barboza landed a spinning back kick, and the pair retreated to the center of the cage. Johnson tried to line up his left hand and this time it got through, but the punch skidded off Barboza's chin.
Both fighters just loading up, and when the first round expired, Barboza headed back to his corner with a nice mouse under his eye.
Barboza begins the second with another body kick. Johnson, though, was undeterred, stalking the Brazilian and looking to unload. Johnson finally caught a kick and made him pay with a straight right, but Barboza countered with a left hook that landed flush.
Midway through the match, both fighters exchanged another furious flurry and Johnson stumbled out of it. Johnson, however, followed up with a shot that appeared to stun Barboza, who then attempted to wrestle Johnson to the ground. Johnson, though, reversed and scored one of his own before letting up the Brazilian.
Barboza landed a nice right hand on the restart and Johnson returned fire with one of his own haymakers as the round came to a close.
Third and final frame started with Johnson continuing to push the pace. Barboza responded with a left hook, then a straight right that appeared to take some steam out of the Blackzilian. Barboza ripped another kick to the body before getting drilled with a left hook.
Johnson barreled in for another exchange three minutes in and did a little damage. He did it again 30 seconds later. Barboza appeared to be fading right when he needed to turn it up a notch. Barboza was fighting off his back foot with one minute remaining, and it ultimately wasn't enough, as Johnson scored a takedown with 20 seconds remaining to seal a very hard-fought, gritty unanimous decision win.
Overall, very impressive performance from Johnson, who simply would not let Barboza do what he does best.
For complete UFC Fight Night 61: "Mir vs. Bigfoot" results, including play-by-play updates, click here.