By Niall Clarke
- Anthony Johnson knocked out Ryan Bader to earn a UFC Light Heavyweight title shot
- Ben Rothwell submitted Josh Barnett in the co main event
- Sage Northcutt suffers first career loss
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY- Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson earned a shot at the UFC Light-Heavyweight title with a first round knockout of Ryan Bader.
Johnson successfully defended Bader’s takedown attempts before getting into full mount and reigning punches for the finish. ‘Rumble’ will face the winner of the upcoming rematch between Champion Daniel Cormier and Jon ‘Bones’ Jones.
The transformation of Johnson since moving up to the Light-Heavyweight division has been scary. He has brutalised and knocked out all comers except the Champion since returning to the UFC. Bader was coming in on a hot streak and was looking to secure a well deserved title shot after years of crying out for a chance.
‘Darth’ made his game plan clear from the out-set as she made a quick single leg takedown attempt. However the force was not with Bader as Johnson managed to sprawl successfully. ‘Rumble’ managed to spin around successfully, but Bader attempted a Kimura from the bottom and tried roll with it only for Johnson to maintain control and move into a better position.
Despite being in a disadvantageous position, Bader held on to the Kimura and that allowed Johnson to move into the full mount. From there it was academic as Johnson pounded away to finish the fight in just 86 seconds.
Johnson will now move on to a title fight whilst Bader falls back into the pack. Bader will likely be fed a lower ranked fighter to get his momentum back on track.
In the co main event of the evening, Ben Rothwell shocked Josh Barnett with a submission victory in the second round.
Pre-fight if you said there would be a submission victory, you would have thought it would be for ‘The War-master’. However, Rothwell had other ideas.
The first round was largely an even affair with both me contempt to keep the fight on the feet. The second started much the same but Barnett decided to try change things up and attempt a single leg takedown to take the fight into his element. What the former UFC Champion did not expect, was for Rothwell to grab the neck and lock in a guillotine choke for a shock finish.
It was Barnett’s first career loss by submission and surely Rothwell’s best career victory. The Heavyweight division is the most unpredictable of all the weight classes and this is yet another shining example of why that is. ‘Big’ Ben is now in line for a Heavyweight title shot whilst Barnett’s career hangs in the balance Will he hang up the gloves or continue fighting?
Highly touted 19-year-old Sage Northcutt suffered his first career loss aafter being submitted with an arm triangle by Bryan Barberena.
‘Super sage’ came into the fight with a ton of hype and pressure to perform in a new weight-class at 170lbs. His opponent Barberena however was relatively unknown with a 10-3 MMA record and was a huge under-dog heading into the fight.
Northcutt got off to a good start but as the fight wore on, Barnberena started to expose the holes in the 19-year-old’s game. In the second round the fight went to the mat and the under-dog earned top control before locking in an arm triangle to finish the fight and wipe the smile off Northcutt’s face.
It was a gamble to put Northcutt in a fight outside of his natural weight class, but the UFC were likely trying to add more steam to the Northcutt hype train. What they didn’t expect was that hype to be cooled by Barnberena.
Northcutt is still very young and has talent, but there’s a lot of improving to be done before he can move into the elite of his division. Like Paige Van-Zaant and Ronda Rousey before him, the latest UFC hype train has been derailed for the time being.
Anthony Johnson def. Ryan Bader via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 1:26
Ben Rothwell def. Josh Barnett via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 2, 3:48
Jimmie Rivera def. Iuri Alcantara via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Bryan Barberena def. Sage Northcutt via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 2, 3:06
Tarec Saffiedine def. Jake Ellenberger via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Diego Ferreira def. Olivier Aubin-Mercier via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Rafael Natal def. Kevin Casey via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 3:37
Wilson Reis def. Dustin Ortiz via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Alexander Yakovlev def. George Sullivan via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 3:59
Alex Caceres def. Masio Fullen via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Randy Brown def. Matt Dwyer via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Damon Jackson vs. Levan Makashvili majority draw (29-27, 28-28, 28-28)
Tony Martin def. Filipe Olivieri via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 3, 3:02
The UFC Returns for UFC Fight Night: Hendricks vs Thompson on February 6th.
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