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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
UFC ON VERSUS 6: CRUZ VS. JOHNSON
OCTOBER 1, 2011
LIVE FROM WASHINGTON, D.C.
-After an exciting slate of preliminary card fights on Facebook, Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan open the main card broadcast discussing the fights still to come tonight. They run down the main event and the other fights in brief before going to an early commercial.
FIGHT ONE: MATT WIMAN VS. MAC DANZIG (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Wiman took the center and landed a couple of early leg kicks before engaging and landing an overhand right. He grabbed a clinch in the center. Danzig landed a couple of uppercuts in the clinch and a couple of knees as well. Wiman got in a knee to the body and Danzig pressed him to the cage. Wiman landed a knee. Danzig threw a high kick but his leg got caught up high and Wiman took him down. Danzig got to his feet when Wiman gave him an opening and landed a couple of strikes as he defended a single leg. He landed a nice flurry of punches as Wiman tried to grab a clinch. Danzig covered up as Wiman came in. Danzig grabbed a Thai clinch and landed a knee, Wiman broke him off with a short elbow. Danzig landed another short combo in the clinch. Wiman rushed in with a few punches but they were blocked. He landed a right as he separated. They got into the clinch again and traded hard forearms and elbows. Danzig got in a couple of nice shots as he separated. Wiman landed a hard right as he pressed back in and they clinched again. Wiman landed a knee, Danzig turned him around and landed a few body kicks. Wiman landed a hard knee to the body that hurt Danzig and he backed off. Wiman charged in with a few body shots and kicks. Danzig landed a hard combination. They traded strikes. Each landed some hard shots with Wiman landing a right. Wiman got in a couple more good knees in the clinch. More punches and elbows traded. Danzig stuffed another shot as time ran out in the round and Wiman landed a couple knees to finish the round.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-10. Danzig had a higher output overall, but Wiman likely did a little more damage. The ground action was a wash, but a very good start to this fight.
ROUND TWO: Wiman came straight ahead and ate a right hand early. He landed a body punch but Danzig landed a right. They clinched again and Danzig pressed Wiman to the cage. Wiman landed an elbow and a knee. Danzig got in an uppercut. Danzig backed off after another short elbow. Wiman engaged with a nice body punch and got the clinch. Danzig got in a nice short combo after Wiman threw a few. Danzig grabbed a body lock and tripped Wiman up to earn the takedown. Danzig tried to pass but Wiman pulled him back to guard. Wiman went for a triangle choke and then went for the armbar. Danzig got free and landed a short flurry in the guard. Danzig passed to half guard. Wiman moved to the kimura attempt but Danzig defended well and held position. He landed a couple of strikes and Wiman got his back to the cage and got up. Danzig landed a short flurry of strikes and kept the clinch. He backed off with another flurry and landed a couple of uppercuts. Wiman landed an overhand right. They traded strikes again and got into the clinch yet again. Wiman missed a shot and Danzig landed a few big strikes. Danzig landed another short flurry. Wiman got in a short elbow. They traded strikes again to end the round.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Danzig. Wiman one close sub attempt and threatened with another, but Danzig got the better of the exchanges on the feet and landed some ground and pound along with making a few passes on the ground. Very close round again though, could go either way.
ROUND THREE: Wiman came in swinging wildly and Danzig blocked them. He ducked under a punch and landed a few punches. Wiman got Danzig to the cage and landed a nice right hand. Danzig landed a few short strikes and Wiman pressed him back again for a couple more elbows. Danzig turned him around. They jockeyed for position and Wiman landed a couple of elbows. Danzig returned fire. They exchanged strikes again. Danzig almost got a trip but couldn't complete it. He landed a hard right counter and pressed Danzig to the cage. Wiman landed a short elbow and a knee but ate a few punches in combination from Danzig. They stood and traded strikes with one another again at the cage. Wiman went for a takedown but Danzig got on top and got into half guard. Wiman went to his knees and Danzig tried to take hid back. Danzig got his back standing and Wiman attired to buck him off. Wiman shook him off and got into half guard. Wiman landed an elbow. He postured up with a few more and Danzig got to guard. Wiman landed a few more big elbows, and Danzig's got a couple of hematoma's on his forehead. Danzig tried to get up and Wiman held him down. Danzig got back to his feet with 30 seconds left. They traded strikes on the cage. Wiman shot in again and Danzig stuffed him and went for a guillotine that was tight but the horn sounded. That was a hell of a fight.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Danzig. Wiman did some damage there when he got on top, but Danzig again had the more effective striking and ended with a tight submission in as the round ended. Very close, very good fight, and really it could go either way.
Penick's Final Score: 30-28 Danzig
WINNER: Wiman via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
POST FIGHT: The crowd booed the decision, but it was really close. Wiman said it feels good to be on the other end of a close decision after the loss to Siver. He said you never know what the judges are going to do.
STAR RATING: (***+) That was just a great kick off to this show and a really fun back and forth fight. Both fighters left everything in the cage, and each came close to finishing the fight at different times. It was a razor thin fight, and while I think Danzig should have gotten the nod, it's hard to argue too much against Wiman taking two of the rounds.
RAMIFICATIONS: It's a really unfortunate loss for Danzig after the knockout win over Joe Stevenson, and he stays firmly in the middle of a very big pack of lightweights. Wiman lost his last fight, but it was to a fighter in Dennis Siver that's in the upper end of that middle group. He keeps himself at about the same spot, and will make a slightly vertical move in the division for his next fight.
-Joe Rogan talks to Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard via satellite ahead of their third fight at UFC 136 next weekend.
FIGHT TWO: ANTHONY JOHNSON VS. CHARLIE BRENNEMAN (WELTERWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Johnson immediately took the center and Brenneman circled around the outside. Johnson landed an early kick and shrugged off a takedown attempt. He almost landed a straight kick to the face and then sprawled nicely. He landed an uppercut underneath Brenneman's armpit. He continued landing strikes as he put his weight on Brenneman's head. Johnson added in knees to the body as well, delivering a lot of punishment in the sprawl. Johnson scrambled and took Brenneman's back briefly. He turned into Johnson and got to half guard. He tried to grab Johnson's head for a guillotine choke, but Johnson defended well. He grazed Brenneman with a head kick. He went after Johnson's leg, got back up and was dropped by another head kick that landed flush. He looked to be out for a flash but dropped to his elbows as the referee stopped the fight and he wasn't happy with the stoppage. It was early, but the kick turned the lights off for a second and the referee was trying to save him from further damage.
WINNER: Johnson via TKO at 2:49 of the first round
POST FIGHT: Johnson said he figured he needed to come make a statement after the grief he took for the Dan Hardy fight. Johnson said Brenneman was the first fighter to really have him nervous because of his wrestling credentials.
STAR RATING: (**+) Johnson looked very good in that fight. His problem has always been with his weight because he's so big for this division, but when he makes it down without any issues he's one of the most dangerous fighters in the division. This was another very good fight for him, and another highlight kick to add to the reel.
RAMIFICATIONS: Brenneman will get settled into a more realistic spot in the welterweight rankings after shooting up following the upset of Rick Story, but he can absolutely come back from this. Johnson is a very good welterweight with a very good wrestling game of his own, and his experience in striking along with his height and reach advantage made this a very difficult task for Brenneman. A few more wins like this for Johnson will get him some mention in the title picture at 170 lbs., but he's got to stay on track, avoid injuries and hopefully continue making weight without any issue.
FIGHT THREE: PAT BARRY VS. STEFAN STRUVE (HEAVYWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Both fighters come to the center of the cage and tentatively walk each other down. Struve landed a kick to the body early and Barry walked him down. Barry landed a hard inside leg kick. He got in with another and kept Struve's back against the cage. The crowd got a little restless with the tentative start. Barry landed another couple of leg kicks and a short left. He blocked a head kick from Struve and kept walking in. Struve landed a right and Barry landed a couple more kicks. Struve tried to shoot in and Barry stopped that. Barry landed another leg kick. He barely missed a counter right. The crowd started booing. Struve landed a body kick. Barry landed a hard punch to the body. Barry went high with a kick and it got to Struve's shoulder. Struve landed a knee but Barry pushed him off. Struve landed a straight kick to Barry's lead leg. He landed an inside leg kick. Barry missed a counter left. Struve landed a couple of kicks, Barry returned the favor. Struve kept Barry back with a couple more kicks. Barry landed a left. They traded kicks again. Struve tried to rush in with a knee and Barry jumped up for a knee as the round ended. Slow start.
Penick's Analysis: 10-9 Barry. He was pressing the action and landed an equal amount of strikes to Struve, but there wasn't much to that round at all.
ROUND TWO: They traded kicks again early. Barry continued to walk Struve down. He missed an uppercut but landed on the follow up left. Struve threw the head kick but Barry blocked it. Struve landed another straight kick. Barry got a head kick up to Struve's head but it was blocked. Barry landed a hard leg kick. He went with an overhand right and followed with a kick. Struve landed a hard kick. Barry checked a couple of kicks and landed a hard leg kick of his own. He landed another hard one. Struve continued to back up. They briefly clinched but Barry got separation. He went back to stalking. Struve landed a short right. Barry landed a hard left hook as Struve threw a knee. Struve tried to set up a standing choke and then took Barry down. Barry circled on top but Struve got him into a triangle choke. Barry picked him up all the way and slammed him hard, but Struve got an arm down to lessen the impact and held onto the choke, forcing Barry to tap. Good finish.
WINNER: Struve via submission (triangle choke) at 3:22 of the second round
POST FIGHT: Struve said he was working hard on his reach and his kickboxing. He said he's thrilled with the result, and called Barry "one of the coolest dudes in MMA."
STAR RATING: (**) The rating is pretty much for the finishing sequence. The fight just wasn't as good as fans were hoping it would be. Barry just wasn't able to get close enough to Struve's chin because of that height difference, and his ground game is nowhere near the striking portion of his game. Still, big win for Struve; very nice set up for the triangle choke and then he smartly braced for the impact of the slam and kept himself conscious.
RAMIFICATIONS: It's a rough loss for Barry. He's now lost three of four fights, and is just 3-4 in his UFC career with three submission losses. Because he's immensely entertaining and is still a lot of fun to watch in the cage I hope the UFC gives him another fight, but that's no guarantee. As for Struve, he avoided consecutive losses and is now 6-3 overall in the UFC. He's still just in the middle of the pack, but he's still young and if he can continue to improve upon some of the gaps in his striking defense he could still win a lot of fights in the UFC.
MAIN EVENT FIGHT FOUR: DOMINICK CRUZ VS. DEMETRIOUS "MIGHTY MOUSE" JOHNSON (BANTAMWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
ROUND ONE: Cruz engaged first and landed a right before popping out. He got in with a kick. Johnson closed the distance and landed a few strikes. Cruz landed a kick to the body. Johnson pressed in quickly with a strike. He shot in for a takedown and Cruz stuffed him. Cruz threw Johnson but Johnson defended. Cruz stayed on him and passed to side control. Cruz landed a couple of knees to the body. Johnson got back to butterfly guard and got his back to the cage. Cruz landed a strike and tried to drag him back down. Johnson got back to his feet and Cruz backed off. Johnson landed a few strikes and got Cruz to the cage. He threw a head kick but it got stuck and Cruz took him down. Johnson went for a leg lock but Cruz got out. Johnson scrambled to his feet again and landed a left hook. He shot in and completed a takedown but Cruz got back up. Johnson landed a couple of knees and punches in the clinch. Cruz landed a couple of knees. Cruz ducked under and got out. Johnson landed a right. Cruz got in an uppercut as Johnson shot in again. He stuffed it on the cage and Johnson landed a knee to the body as he broke away. Cruz landed a body kick. Cruz landed a jab. Johnson swung wildly and missed as the round came to an end.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Cruz. The Champ had top position a couple of times and avoided much of Johnson's attack, but the challenger did connect on a few strikes and has the speed to keep Cruz in check here. This could get interesting.
ROUND TWO: Johnson landed a hard right early on Cruz and connected on a head kick but Cruz clinched and secured a takedown on the cage. Johnson got his back to the cage and didn't let Cruz do anything. Cruz landed a knee to the body but Johnson stood up. Johnson almost tripped Cruz up and then pressed him to the cage. Cruz landed a knee to the body and Johnson responded in kind. Johnson kept Cruz's back on the cage but missed a big punch. He shot in for a single leg but Cruz stuffed it. They jockeyed for position on the cage. They traded knees to the body in the clinch again. Johnson landed a knee up high and a knee to the head. Johnson nearly tripped Cruz up but Cruz stayed up and they continued in the clinch. Johnson dropped for a double leg but Cruz again held it off. Cruz got separation with an attempted knee to the head. Johnson jumped in and connected with a right. He landed two more as Cruz came in. Johnson landed a leg kick. He landed a right and attempted a flying knee but it missed. Cruz landed a jab from the outside. Both swung an demised on a couple. Cruz landed a knee and Johnson shot in. Cruz stopped it again and then took Johnson down again against the cage. Cruz finished the round on top, though he didn't really land anything there.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Cruz. Johnson had the better striking exchanges there, but it wasn't quite enough with Cruz scoring two takedowns and working well in the clinch.
ROUND THREE: They traded kicks to the body early. Johnson missed on an attempted combination. He caught a kick from Cruz but was unable to land on the counter. Johnson landed a jab as Cruz came in. Johnson connected on a left and a follow up as well. Cruz started walking Johnson down and landed a short jab. Johnson shook off a takedown attempt from Cruz, but Cruz then took his back standing. Cruz pulled off a suplex and flattened out Johnson with a hook in. Cruz tried to set up the rear naked choke. Johnson spun out but Cruz went right back to the choke. Cruz got out again and got to his feet. Great defense from the challenger. He pressed Cruz to the cage in a clinch and landed a couple of strikes. Johnson landed a couple of strikes against the cage, but Cruz took him down again against the cage. Johnson's back was on the cage, but Cruz tried to drag him down further. Cruz simply pressed Johnson into the cage and didn't do anything with the takedown. Johnson tried to kick him off. Johnson finally got back to his feet again. He landed an uppercut in the clinch and Cruz landed a knee to the body. They traded strikes in the clinch to end the round.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Cruz. The suplex and two near submissions give the Champ the round, and the challenger will need to find a way to finish if he's going to take the belt. He's in the fight, but he's just not done enough through three rounds to let it go to the scorecards.
ROUND FOUR: Johnson landed an early leg kick. They traded leg kicks after walking each other down. Neither fighter landed much of anything in the first minute of the round. Cruz slipped on a leg kick, but landed a jab to keep Johnson off him. Johnson landed a right in close. He got in another right, but couldn't follow up. Cruz got another takedown against the cage. Cruz moved to half guard. He passed to full mount with over two minutes left. Cruz landed a couple of strikes, but Johnson got back to butterfly guard and got his back to the cage. Johnson again got to his feet. He came straight forward but missed and got clinched again. Johnson landed a left. He connected on a right. He ate an uppercut and Cruz clinched again. Cruz landed a knee and dragged Johnson to the mat again. Johnson got back to his feet and rushed in with a flurry but Cruz again got the clinch as the round ended.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Cruz. He's simply avoiding anything Johnson is doing offensively and effectively controlling where the fight takes place right now.
ROUND FIVE: Johnson landed a couple of early strikes and threw a head kick over Cruz's head. Cruz clinched, got Johnson's back standing and suplexed him again and moved immediately to side control. Johnson got him into full guard and there the clock worked against him. Cruz simply kept busy enough not to be stood up as Johnson dragged himself back to the cage. Cruz dragged him down again. He finally got to his feet with half the round left. Cruz held him in the clinch and Johnson finally got loose, landing a couple strikes on his way out. Johnson landed a hard right but Cruz clinched, almost landed a throw and then hit it again. Johnson got loose and Johnson came after him again. Cruz avoided another striking rush from Johnson, took him down and moved to full mount. Johnson turned over and gave up his back but got back up. Cruz landed a hard knee as Johnson came after him. Johnson backed up and Cruz came in, scoring one more takedown to end the round on top.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Cruz. Once again, Johnson simply wasn't able to mount any effective or sustainable offense, and Cruz controlled him in the grappling department. Johnson had a good showing and a lot of heart throughout, but he just wasn't able to sustain any success throughout the fight. He had his moments, but it wasn't anywhere near enough.
Penick's Final Score: 50-45 Cruz.
WINNER: Cruz via unanimous decision (50-45, 49-46, 50-45)
POST FIGHT: Cruz said he's been putting in a lot of work. He gave Johnson credit for a "sick pace" and said he had to out-wrestle him. Cruz said he was expecting that pace and needed to show his strength and grappling game. Johnson was interviewed and said he didn't realize how strong Cruz was. He said he felt comfortable on the feet, but gave Cruz credit for his game. His face was extremely swollen on the left side.
STAR RATING: (**+) This was a solid title fight, though there didn't seem to be any sense, outside of one stretch in the third round, that either fighter was in danger of being stopped. This was not a typical Cruz fight, as Johnson didn't allow him to play his stick and move game, and actually out-grappled Johnson throughout with a superior clinch game and effective throws, suplexes and simple takedowns as well.
RAMIFICATIONS: Johnson needs the flyweight division to come to the UFC as soon as possible, because he absolutely can be a force there. Unfortunately at 135 lbs., he wasn't strong enough to deal with Cruz's improved grappling game, and so he found himself stifled any time he got close to going. As for Cruz, his next title defense is very likely to be a rematch against the man he took the belt from, Brian Bowles, or the only man to defeat him - a loss he's since avenged - in Urijah Faber.
Thanks for joining us for a third straight Saturday night. We're not done with this stretch yet, though, so make sure to stick with us throughout the week as we follow up on tonight's event and look ahead to next Saturday's UFC 136 event.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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