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Johnson adds to fanbase with supreme display

ESPN staff
July 28, 2013
Demetrious Johnson kept up his winning ways © Getty Images

It's hard to describe a Demetrious Johnson fight - so much goes on.

The depth of Johnson's skills as a mixed martial artist was on full display inside KeyArena on Saturday, as he recorded the second defence of his UFC flyweight title.

Facing a confident challenger in John Moraga, Johnson (18-2-1) did a little bit of everything en route to a fifth-round submission victory via armbar. Referee Herb Dean broke up the fight at the 3:43 mark of the final round. It was the latest stoppage win ever recorded in the UFC.

"[Stopping the fight] wasn't important to me at all. I'm here to fight," Johnson said. "If the finish comes to me, I'm going to take it. I feel great."

Moraga (13-2) referred to Johnson as "boring" prior to the five-round title fight, but the Seattle crowd tended to disagree. It cheered for Johnson's submission attempts in the first and third rounds, and of course the finish with less than 90 seconds left.

The stoppage broke a streak of seven consecutive appearances in which Johnson, ranked the No. 8 pound-for-pound fighter in the world by ESPN.com, had gone the distance with an opponent.

He felt Moraga out in the first minutes of the fight, eventually landing a hard counter-overhand right that led to a takedown along the Octagon. He wrapped up Moraga's neck with a standing guillotine as time expired in the first frame.

The second round saw Johnson score an early double-leg - a repeat sequence in the following rounds. Despite a collegiate wrestling background at Arizona State University, Moraga was mostly outclassed on the floor.

After he nearly submitted Moraga in the third with a kimura, UFC president Dana White tweeted from his cageside seat, "[Johnson] is so talented it's insane."

Known for his punching power, Moraga landed a stiff right in the fourth round that had Johnson visibly hurt. The Washington-native retreated to the fence, then shot a takedown as Moraga looked to swarm.

The win came just eight days after Johnson celebrated the birth of his first child.

The 26-year-old is 4-0-1 at 125 pounds, since dropping from the bantamweight division in 2012. He vied for the 135-pound title in 2011, dropping a unanimous decision to still-champ Dominick Cruz.

Cautious MacDonald wins decision over Ellenberger

Rory MacDonald wasn't entertaining, but he was still impressive.

MacDonald (15-1) extended his win streak to five with a unanimous decision of Jake Ellenberger that brought a rain of boos from the Seattle crowd.

Typically a punishing welterweight, MacDonald was ultra conservative in facing the knockout threat of Ellenberger. He relied heavily on the jab and front kicks to dictate range. Two judges gave the Canadian all three rounds.

MacDonald's strategy was apparent early. He got Ellenberger to react on heavy feints and tagged him with an accurate jab. Known for his ability to cover distance with punches, Ellenberger was helpless in getting past the jab of his taller opponent.

The crowd let Macdonald know what they thought of the game plan but he never waned from it. Ellenberger (29-7) did his best to mix things up - letting his hands go and trying to level change - to no avail. A visible mouse formed under his left eye in the second round.

Rory Macdonald edged a tight contest © Getty Images

His best shot of the fight came in the third, when he faked to the body with the right and went high with the left hook. MacDonald shrugged it off. A very late takedown by Ellenberger ignited the crowd but wasn't enough to steal the fight.

It is MacDonald's sixth win in the UFC. The 24-year-old holds notable wins over opponents Nate Diaz, Mike Pyle and BJ Penn. His lone loss came to Carlos Condit at UFC 115 in June 2010.

Ellenberger had a two-fight win streak snapped.

Vintage Lawler destroys Voelker for second straight KO victory

After three years of up-and-down performances as a Strikeforce middleweight, Robbie Lawler (21-9) has posted back-to-back knockout wins since returning to the UFC as a welterweight earlier this year.

The latest came via an outstanding headkick landed on Bobby Voelker 24 seconds into the second round. Lawler moved to follow up the kick, but referee Dan Miragliotta was quick to break the action and hand Lawler his 18th knockout win.

"I'm excited. Camp went really well and I felt really good with the weight cut," Lawler said. "They really woke me up at American Top Team. I'm happy, but I want to go home and see my family. I'm healthy so I want to get back in there and train, but I just want to spend some time with my family right now."

Known for his durability, Voelker (24-10) managed to survive an onslaught of offense in the first round but was visibly on weak legs early.

He started to bleed heavily from the bridge of his nose after a Lawler knee and became an easy target for Lawler's lethal left hook. With every shot he landed, Lawler's confidence built. His footwork was extremely fluid and twice he landed beautifully timed flying knees to Voelker's chin.

"I'm obviously not happy with my performance. It was a tough fight and Robbie is very quick and explosive," said Voelker. "I got hit in the eye in the first round and it was hard to see for about twenty seconds. Not sure if it was a glove or a finger, but my vision came back after that. Hats off to Robbie."

An early takedown by Lawler appeared to surprise Voelker, who took the bout on short notice. He worked to his feet, but ended up eating that hard knee to the nose along the fence. It was pretty much downhill from there.

Lawler adds to the momentum he earned from a first-round knockout victory over Josh Koscheck at UFC 157 in February. The 31-year-old has not officially won consecutive fights since a four-fight run in 2006-07.

Voelker falls to 0-2 in the UFC.

Carmouche dominates second round, KOs Andrade

Liz Carmouche couldn't solve the Ronda Rousey puzzle in the first UFC female fight, but she made a statement of her own in her second Octagon appearance.

A former No. 1 contender in February, Carmouche (8-3) was thoroughly dominant in a second-round TKO victory over Jessica Andrade. Grappling was a major key in the fight, as Carmouche advanced position seemingly at will during the 135-pound contest.

Referee Herb Dean was forced to step in at 3:57 of the second round after a full two minutes of unanswered elbows and short punches from Carmouche on the ground.

"I knew no matter what, even if she had it sunk in all the way, I was not going to tap. It's not in my nature," Carmouche said after the fight. "The problem was, she had it so tight, and she has short arms, so it was difficult for me to try and pry her hands apart. But, it was just a matter of me trying to pop my head out and get free."

Andrade struggled to stay off her back in the fight. Even when she was upright, Carmouche neutralized any attempts at offense by pinning her against the fence.

"I really thought I had her in the first round," said Andrade. "In the second round, my plan was to go in with my striking and try to hold her down. It just didn't happen."

Carmouche scored her first takedown about 30 seconds in. She lost position midway through the round as she transitioned to Andrade's back and ended up in a guillotine attempt, but never appeared close to tapping.

Andrade looked to come forward in the following frame, but Carmouche expertly backed up, slipped punches and shot on a double leg. From there it was easy work for the former U.S. Marine on the floor. She passed into full mount, then nearly sank in a rear-naked choke when Andrade forfeited her back. It marks the sixth knockout victory of Carmouche's pro career.

Andrade (9-3) suffers her first loss of the year, after collecting two submission wins earlier in 2013.

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