Dominick Cruz snagged a unanimous decision to retain his bantamweight championship at UFC on Versus 6 Saturday, but Demetrious Johnson gave him a hell of a fight.
Johnson came out hard, pushing the pace in the striking exchanges to take Cruz out his comfort zone. It was clear Cruz was having trouble with Johnson’s speed in the early going, but managed to adjust and utilize his size advantage to keep much of the fight on the mat.
From there, Cruz was able to secure full-mount on more than one occasion, but was unable to secure a submission. After five gruelling rounds the judges awarded the bout to Cruz, who said he’s finally starting to earn the respect he deserves.
“Man, that’s what I’ve been waiting for for a long time,” Cruz said to Joe Rogan. “It was a tough fight. He put on a tough pace, so I had to out-wrestle him.
“He didn’t surprise me. I expected a wicked pace and knew I had to slow him down with my size.
“You have to switch it up; you can’t fight everyone the same.”
Johnson said the game plan was to take the fight to Cruz, but was caught off guard by the champions power.
“I take my hat of to Dominick,” Johnson said. “He’s a great champion. He’s real strong, I was surprised how strong he is.
“On the feet I felt comfortable. I felt like I got to him a couple times. I tried to take his head off with that high kick.”
Stefan Struve submitted Pat Barry with a triangle choke in the co-main event.
Though the submission was slick, people will be talking more about the sequence that set it up.
Struve attempted to lock in a guillotine choke, but Barry was able to pass to side control to avoid it. The 6-foot-11 Struve immediately transitioned to the choke, only for the 5-foot-11 Barry to dead-lift him straight into the air and deliver a massive powerbomb.
However, the slam failed to disrupt the submission and Barry was forced to tap out.
“As you saw, I’ve been working hard on my kickboxing and my reach, but Pat is one of the best in the world,” Struve said. “Give it up for Pat; he’s one of the coolest dudes in MMA.”
Anthony Johnson scored a vicious head-kick TKO victory over Charlie Brenneman.
But the bout wasn’t without its controversy.
After getting dropped by the kick, Brenneman fell backwards but landed on his elbows and was completely conscious. However, his body fell in a way that he appeared to have gone limp. Either way, referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the fight. If the bout had continued, Johnson would have likely put him away with ground-and-pound anyways.
“I’m very happy,” Johnson said. “I mean everyone was taking crap about my last fight with Dan Hardy, so I figured I had to come out and make a statement.
“I told Charlie he was the first guy to have me nervous because his wrestling is so good.”
It took almost 16 months, but Matt Wiman finally proved he’s better than Mac Danzig.
The two slug it out for 15 minutes in a wild contest that will go down as one of the year’s best. Though it was a close fight, Wiman managed to cut Danzig with multiple elbows and land the heavier punches to earn the unanimous decision.
After getting burned by the judges in his bout against Dennis Siver at UFC 132 in July, Wiman said he wasn’t sure he’d walk away with the decision against Danzig.
“Boy, you’ve got to (be worried about the judges) – especially when you’re dominating and they see it another way,” Wiman said.” I always just go out there and fight my heart out.
“You’ve got to give Mac a lot of respect.”
At UFC 115 in Vancouver June 12, 2010, Danzig suffered a controversial submission loss to Wiman.
As Wiman cranked a guillotine choke, he managed to persuade referee Yves Lavigne that Danzig was unconscious. Danzig immediately popped to his feet to protest the call, stating that he was defending against the hold.
Nova Scotia native T.J. Grant’s lightweight debut saw him earn a controversial submission victory over Shane Roller.
In the third round, Grant dropped to the mat for a guillotine choke. In order to pop his head out, Roller used his arms to pushed off Grant’s body, leaving himself open for a quick transition to the armbar. Roller looked to be defending the hold, but referee Fernando Yamasaki stopped the bout, claiming the former NCAA Division I wrestler verbally submitted. Roller immediately protested the call.
“He was in there and he yelled out in pain,” Grant said following the bout. “You’re told before the fight you can’t do that. I could have broken his arm — what is the referee supposed to do?
A disappointed Roller said he never yelled out, but may have grunted while defending the submission.
“I don’t know; we were getting in a scramble and I got caught in the armbar.” Roller began. “When I tried to defend it, it got locked in and the ref stopped it.
“I didn’t yell. I might have (grunted). I was trying to get out.”