UFC Live 6: Cruz retains title
The UFC held its first live event in the nation’s capital at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., and a bantamweight title fight was the headliner for its UFC Live 6 card on Versus.
In the main event, champion Dominick Cruz (19-1) and challenger Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson (14-2) squared off. Cruz had a huge reach and height advantage, but what the speedy Johnson lacked in size, he more than made up in heart and determination. But tonight, Cruz was not to be denied, he used his boxing and several belly-to-back suplexes to retain his bantamweight title and win a unanimous decision.
“I’m really excited about this win,” Cruz said. “But tonight I proved why I’m the best in the world in my weight class. I’m willing to take on anyone the UFC puts in front of me and continue to show why I am the best.”
The UFC is planning to start a 125-pound flyweight division, but until they do Johnson is looking to remain one of the top bantamweights in the world.
"I’m not worried about the 125-pound weight class right now,” Johnson said. “I’m focused on getting better as a 135 [pounder] and everyone will continue to see how much I improve when I come back.”
In the co-main event, heavyweights Pat Barry (6-4) and Stefan Struve (22-5) went the first two minutes of the opening round before punches were exchanged. The huge size difference (Barry at 5-foot-11 and Struve at 6-11) had both guys puzzled.
Barry said, “He was trying to bait me in and I just wasn’t going to go in and give him what he wanted.”
A head kick by Barry on the taller Struve fell short and the tall Dutchman just smiled at his opponent. The round ended with Barry trying a flying knee on Struve. Barry won the opening round on two of the judge’s scorecards 10-9, 9-10 and 9-10.
In the second round, Barry tried to chop down Struve with leg kicks. Struve attempted a guillotine and Barry picked him up and slammed him into the canvas – reminding many of the Quinton “Rampage” Jackson slam of Ricardo Arona in Pride – but Barry found himself in a triangle choke. Struve won by submission at 3:22 of the second round.
"I was eventually able to get him in the guillotine and once I locked it in I wasn’t letting it go,” Struve said. “When he slammed me, I was able to put my arm down to catch myself and sink the submission in deeper.”
As welterweight Charlie Brenneman (14-3) made his way to the octagon, he could hear the large cheering section of fans that made there way to the nation’s capital to support him.
His opponent Anthony Johnson (10-3) looked strong from the start. Brennenman tried to shoot on Johnson after the opening bell. But Johnson met him with a sprawl and stayed on top. Johnson began delivering knees to the side of Brennenman. Johnson ended the fight with a highlight-reel kick to the head of Brenneman while he had his hand down. Referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the fight at 2:49 of the second round.
“I hit him hard quite a few times in a row and he didn’t look like he was all there," Johnson said. “I landed that head kick and put him on the canvas. He looked done to me, but if that kick hadn’t done it, the punches that would have come afterwards would have.”
The most-anticipated fight of the night was between Byron Bloodworth (6-2) and DC’s own Mike “The Hulk” Easton (11-1). Bloodworth started out landing some leg kicks in the first round, but overall the round was a slow start for both fighters.
In the second round, Easton came out on fire, walking his opponent down and landing devastating leg kicks. The bout was momentarily stopped after an accidental kick to the groin by Easton. After the fight was resumed, Bloodworth had Easton against the cage and Easton landed a couple of high knees. He followed with two knees to the body and Bloodworth fell to the ground and Easton connected with two jabs before referee Kevin Mulhall stopped the bout at 4:52 of the second round.
"It feels absolutely unbelievable to finally be in the UFC…to debut here and get my first win here,” Easton said. “I’ve been dreaming about this since I was 17 and it finally happened. This is absolutely a dream come true and the fans are in store for fights like that as long as I’m here.”
Below are the full undercard results:
Walel Watson won by TKO (punches) over Joseph Sandoval at 1:17 of the first round.
Josh Neer won by doctor stoppage over Keith Wisnieski after the second round.
T.J. Grant won by submission over Shane Roller at 2:12 of the third round.
Easton won by TKO (punches) over Bloodworth at 4:52 of the second round.
Paul Sass won by submission over Michael Johnson at 3:00 of the first round.
Yves Edwards won by TKO (punches) over Rafaello Oliveira at 2:44 of the second round.
Matt Wiman won by unanimous decision over Mac Danzig.
Anthony Johnson won by TKO (head kick) over Charlie Brenneman at 2:49 of the first round.
Struve won by submission over Barry at 3:22 of the second round.
Cruz won by unanimous decision over Johnson.