Michael Johnson continued to show his evolution as a fighter tonight at UFC Fight Night 61 with a high-tempo unanimous decision victory over Edson Barboza.
Johnson with a right hand to start and Barboza responds with a body kick.
Johnson pushing the pace with punches and Barboza throws a kick upstairs. Johnson in again and Barboza works to the body as his opponent targets his head.
Lots of pressure from Johnson. He moves in, but gets caught with an uppercut as he tries to clinch up.
They break apart and Johnson misses with a hook. Body kick for Barboza. Johnson into range with a few punches. Knee to the body for Barboza.
Head kick for Barboza, but it doesn’t land hard. Barboza surprisingly in with a takedown, but it’s telegraphed and Johnson drills his head with a couple of punches on the way in.
Johnson with punches and a nice one in return from Barboza who then connects with a spinning body kick.
Barboza sporting a little blodd around his left eye. Johnson with a some more punches, doubling up on the right hand. Now connects with the left. He’s giving the Brazilian very little room to operate here.
The two trade punches in close with Barboza seeming to get slightly the better of it. They move away but soon have another exchange in the phone booth and this time it’s Johnson who lands the better shots upstairs and to the body.
Johnson back to pressuring in the second round, but Barboza lands a nice body kick.
Johnson with a short flurry of punches, though not much on them. Barboza circling a lot trying to find room to operate under pressure. Johnson picking his moments to flurry. Barboza starting to counter effectively though.
Johnson with a hook as Barboza circles away. He lands to the body. Misses with a body kick.
Now a leg kick for Johnson. He tries to let his hands go again but gets caught by a punch from Barboza that staggers him backwards for a momoent.
Dangerous exchange in close with both men landing. Barboza tries a takedown, but it’s stuffed and instead it’s Johnson who gets him down with less than two minutes of the round remaining.
It’s not long before the Brazilian is back upright though and he lands another kick to the body. Johnson still pushing forward and lands a two-piece combo. Barboza lands a good right hand.
left hook scores for Johnson. Barboza with a spinning attack – looks good but doesn’t come close to landing.
A few more punches from Johnson and that’s the end of the round.
Early punches from Johnson wing past Barboza’s head. Johnson with the body kick. They exchanges and a punch lands for Barboza that gives Johnson pause for though for a moment.
That nice body kick again from Barboza. Left hand lands for Johnson and Barboza backs away. Johnson still pushing the action here. Another brief flurry for him.
Left hand from Johnson as Barboza throws a body kick. Johnson coming in and eats a counter.
Johnson with a combo that connects nicely. Spinning head kick from Barboza misses. A body kick does land though.
Johnson with a punch to the body. He tries a leg kick but misses. Right then a left hand for him. Johnson still looks the fresher fighter. Barboza tries a flying knee, but it doesn’t connect.
Body kick for Barboza that doesn’t land with the same impact as some of his earlier ones.
Johnson in on a takedown and secures it with seconds of the fight remaining.
Johnson’s relentless forward pressure and aggression proved to be an effective strategy tonight against Barboza and he gets the win by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 x2).