Demetrious Johnson looked every inch the champion against John Moraga at UFC On FOX 8 tonight as he controlled the action for the best part of five rounds before finding a late submission finish.
The main event title fight is underway and Moraga moves forward aggressively from the opening bell. Quick exchanges here as you’d expect from the flyweights.
Johnson lands a kick to the body and another to the leg of his opponent. Another kick lands and Moraga counters with the jab. Moraga lands a short flurry of punches, but nothing much behind them. He finds a home for a kick too.
Moraga clinches up with Johnson and moves him back towards the cage. He isn’t able to keep him there though as Johnson reverses the position and then secures a takedown.
Johnson moves into side control with less than two minutes of the round remaining. Johnson attempts to trap Moraga’s arm and look for the mounted crucifix, but it doesn’t quite pay off. Back into half guard now and Johnson looks to posture up and lands a few strikes. Johnson stands up then drops back down taking ahold of Moraga’s neck. With just a few seconds of the round he really cranks on it, but the bell sounds before he can find a finish.
Onto round two of a potential five. Moraga starts off with a punch followed up by a kick, but doesn’t land. 30 seconds in and Johnson lands a big double leg takedown.
He passes smoothly into side control and again looks for the mounted crucifix. He gets it briefly and lands some rapid-fire punches before Moraga gets his arm free. Johnson still in control from side control though and looking for more offensive strikes.
There’s a scramble and Moraga looks for a submission, but it doesn’t pay off and Johnson’s back in side control and landing some body shots as he tries to set up a kimura. Moraga gets to his knees, but Johnson’s still on him and as they stand Johnson simply dumps him back down to the mat.
Not for long though and they break apart after getting upright this time. Moraga looks to get busy with strikes, but before he can really get loose with them Johnson bursts forward with another solid takedown. 10 seconds of the round remaining and the champion unleashes some solid ground and pound on the challenger.
Third round underway with Johnson looking for leg kicks and faking a takedown attempt. Moraga steps forward with a big, winging punch that just misses. Johnson goes upstairs with a head kick, but there’s no real power behind it.
More punches from Moraga that don’t quite find the mark and then Johnson swoops in for his latest takedown. Two minutes of the round done and Johnson’s back to side control. Moraga rolls to his knees and Johnson gets on his back. He loses it though and the challenger is back up to his feet.
Moraga moves forward aggressively and clinches Johnson up against the cage. He looks for the takedown, but Johnson reverses it slickly and lands on top. Good stuff from the champion here and he’s threatening with a kimura attempt.
Johnson drops to his back as he continues to crank on the kimura, but it’s a move that doesn’t pay off and Moraga escapes and gets on top against the cage. Johnson uses the cage to get back to his feet though.
Moraga lands a knee then finally secures his first takedown. It’s short-lived as Johnson quickly moves back up. Moraga attempts an eye-catching kick, but gets it wrong and slips as the round comes to an end.
We’re onto the championship rounds. A body kick from Johnson lands and Moraga returns fire with one of his own. Again 30 seconds into the round Johnson lands a takedown. initially working from half guard, Moraga gets to his knees and Johnson’s able to take his back. Moraga’s able to move back to his feet from the position, though he eats a kick on the way up.
Johnson attempts a head kick that’s blocked. He looks to clinch up and lands a solid knee, then scores with yet another takedown. He postures up and looks to land a few strikes, but Moraga uses his legs to push him away and get back upright.
They clinch against the cage. Moraga drops down to his knees, perhaps attempting a takedown, but it doesn’t work out and Johnson fires off some strikes before he stands again.
In the final minute and they are looking to exchange. Moraga connects with a solid shot to the nose that knocks Johnson backwards, but he recovers quickly and almost instantly gets a takedown. The punch has left Johnson’s nose bleeding as the round ends with the champion on top.
The final round is upon us. Moraga wades in and lands an uppercut as Johnson moves out of danger. Johnson lands a leg kick. Another lightning quick takedown follows from the champion who still looks as fresh as he did in the first round.
As he’s done all fight Johnson slickly moves to side control. Moraga to his knees and looks to get back up, but Johnson takes him straight back down. Moraga on his knees again with Johnson landing some knee strikes to his arms.
It’s becoming something of a rollercoaster ride for Moraga as he stands again only to be quickly taken back down to the canvas. Short elbow strikes land for the champion from side control. Johnson attempts a kimura and then transitions to an armbar and after a brief struggle he forces Moraga to tap!
Great stuff from Johnson to find the finish this late in the fight and he celebrates by doing a series of acrobatic spinning kicks. He barely put a foot wrong tonight and in this kind of form he’s going to be very difficult to shift from the summit of the flyweight division.