Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight hitters Jared Rosholt and Timothy Johnson threw down last night (Aug. 8, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 73 inside Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
One of the division's top prospects, Rosholt was looking to make a statement. By taking out Johnson in dominating fashion, the excellent wrestler would prove himself worthy of a step up in competition.
Meanwhile, Johnson entered this bout as a relative unknown. This provided him with a major opportunity, as defeating Rosholt could potentially allow him to break into the rankings.
As expected, the fight quickly moved into the clinch. The two massive wrestlers traded positions along the fence, and Johnson's size advantage allowed him to score a very brief takedown. Nonetheless, Rosholt quickly returned to his feet and attacked with a front head lock.
With about two minutes remaining, the referee separated the heavywweights, and Rosholt quickly landed a takedown. From top position, Rosholt threatened with a tight Von Flue choke before giving up on it and pounding on his opponent for the rest of the round.
Not a bad start for the former All-American wrestler.
Johnson landed some nice right hands to start the round, but Rosholt closed the distance and forced his foe into the fence. Both men got a bit more active with their dirty boxing, doing decent damage.
Johnson scored his second takedown of the fight with about two minutes remaining, but he got a bit too aggressive in his attempt to take the back. Rosholt reversed and moved into half guard, where he landed some hard elbows and later threatened with an americana.
With just five minutes remaining, Johnson likely needed a finish.
After absorbing some punches, Rosholt shot in and landed a takedown. This time, Johnson managed to work back up to his feet, but a couple of minutes had been wasted.
When the fight moved back to the center of the Octagon, Johnson landed some nice shots before forcing his own clinch. The combatants remained pinned to the fence until about 30 seconds were left in the round, at which point Johnson created some space and rocked Rosholt with heavy punches. After hurting his opponent, Johnson shot in and finished a takedown.
Thus sealing the round but costing himself the fight.
This seemed like something of a step back for Rosholt. His striking and ground and pound had both looked much better in his last couple fights, but he looked sloppy and slow in this match up. He gassed out pretty hard, and cardio has long been one of his strengths.
A heavyweight without finishing power that gasses out? That doesn't sound like a contender to me.
Nonetheless, Heavyweight isn't a division that always requires excellence, and Rosholt did get the victory. While the lackluster nature of his win means that he won't get a serious step up, a match up with a veteran like Gabriel Gonzaga could make sense.
Tim Johnson fought well. He did not, unfortunately, fight smart. Despite having a clear edge in agility and hand speed -- a fairly unexpected turn of events for the 265 lbs. man -- Johnson repeatedly worked into the clinch and remained there. Although he wasn't necessarily losing every wrestling exchange, his opponent did more with top position and earned two rounds.
That probably wouldn't have happened if Johnson had focused on breaking away from the clinch and simply dirty boxing while in there. He legitimately hurt his opponent while pretty tired and landed plenty of strikes across the fight, so he would've been far more effective if he had focused on actually landing punches rather than takedowns.
Still, Johnson came away from this bout looking decent. He's still only 30 years old -- a newborn compared to most of the division's Top 10 -- and proved that he has heart and at least decent conditioning. For a big man, that's often enough.
Last night, Jared Rosholt survived a third round rally to earn a unanimous decision. How high can the talented wrestler climb in the heavyweight division?
For complete UFC Fight Night 73: "Teixeira vs St. Preux" results and play-by-play, click HERE!