UFC flyweight champion Demetrius Johnson proved once again that he has become the closest thing to an unbeatable fighter on Saturday night. It took him a bit longer than some expected against challenger Chris Cariaso, but the result was all the same: another victory.
Johnson took his time with the huge underdog, but eventually had the Fight and Fitness representative tapping out to a textbook kimura after a straight arm lock missed. “Mighty Mouse” nearly finished his opponent at the end of the first after he staggered Cariaso with an overhand right, followed by a knee to the face. But Cariaso, badly wobbled and nearly removed from consciousness, was saved by the bell and lived to see another round.
Cariaso was able to clear his head going into the second, but it was just a matter of time before the champion was wrenching his arm, forcing a tap. Cariaso grimaced in pain as he escaped the arm lock, but Johnson quickly scooted across the San Francisco-based fighter’s chest and secured the kimura. Cariaso tried in vain to wiggle out, but the agony in his face painted the picture of truth: there was no way out of this fight unless he either tapped out or had his shoulder devastated by the submission. Just seconds after the kimura was locked in, the tussel officially ended at the 2:29 mark of the second frame.
The win marked the seventh in a row and fifth straight title defense for the AMC Pankration standout, who appears to have no equal at flyweight.
Judging by the amount of hype surrounding Irishman Conor McGregor leading up to UFC 178, one would think that the polarizing featherweight was in the main event. McGregor is as confident as any other fighter in recent history and talks as much trash as the best of ‘em. Dustin Poirier never bought into the hype and vowed to knock McGregor off his perch and “teach him a lesson.”
That lesson never came.
McGregor used a variety of kicks to keep Poirier guessing and then cracked him with a left hook across the top of the head and behind the ear. The punch instantly dropped the Louisiana fighter onto all fours. Once he tried getting back to his feet and defend himself, McGregor was all over him with follow-up punches until referee Herb Dean stopped it. The official time of the stoppage came just 1:46 into the fight, giving “Notorious” the biggest win of his career and 12th straight overall.
After the fight, McGregor called out the rest of the featherweights, specifically champion Jose Aldo and #1 contender Chad Mendes, stating that he’ll pick them both apart rather easily.
Popular lightweight brawler Donald Cerrone spoiled former Bellator champion Eddie Alvarez’ UFC debut by toppling him via unanimous decision. “Cowboy” was rocked badly in the first from a series of uppercuts in the opening frame, but once he regrouped, he systematically broke down Alvarez with a plethora of nasty leg kicks and counters upstairs.
Alvarez tried his damnedest to come from behind to win, but once the umpteenth vicious kick exploded on his thigh, Alvarez crumbled in a heap in agony. Cerrone couldn’t put him away and had to settle for the decision, which he won via tallies of 29-28 on all three judges’ scorecards.
Cat Zingano scored without question the most emotional win of her career; a third round TKO of the tough Amanda Nunes with a series of strikes from the mount. Zingano, who endured a torn ACL last year and the tragic suicide of her husband in January, was able to remain unbeaten after surviving a first round scare.
Zingano poured on her attacks in the third, opened a nasty gash on Nunes’ face and pounded away until the mauling was stopped 1:21 into the third. The win placed her next in line for champion Ronda Rousey’s belt, who will likely battle it out in early 2015.
Yoel Romero scored a thrilling third round TKO over Tim Kennedy in their middleweight encounter, but it wasn’t without controversy. Kennedy had rocked the Cuban badly with seconds remaining in the seconds round, but Romero’s corner kept him on his stool – the error of both the cornermen and referee John McCarthy – for a whopping 28 additional seconds. By the time the final round began, Romero’s head was clear and he caught Kennedy coming in and finished him with a series of strikes just 58 seconds into the frame.
After nearly three years out of action, former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz finally made his Octagon return and it was sensational. Cruz needed a mere 61 seconds to dismantle the always durable Takeya Mizugaki with punches, signaling a triumph beginning to the second phase of Cruz’ UFC career.
Also on the card:
Jorge Masvidal scored a unanimous decision over James Krause; Stephen Thompson unanimously toppled veteran Patrick Cote; Brian Ebersole was just pinch better than John Howard in his split-decision victory; Kevin Lee won every round against Jon Tuck; and Manny Gamburyan submitted Cody Gibson via guillotine choke at the 4:56 mark of the second.