Anthony “Rumble” Johnson has won seven in a row. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Anthony Johnson flipped the figurative middle finger at the oddsmakers.
Johnson -- a +200 underdog, according to BetDSI -- returned to the Ultimate Fighting Championship for the first time in more than two years and proceeded to wear out Phil Davis (-240) for three rounds en route to a surprisingly one-sided unanimous decision in the UFC 172 co-main event on Saturday at the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore.
“Rumble” neutralized the considerable wrestling skills of Davis, a four-time NCAA All-American and 2008 national champion at Penn State University. “Mr. Wonderful” whiffed on all eight of his takedown attempts, and on the feet, Johnson was on another level. He outstruck Davis by better than a 2-to-1 margin in terms of significant strikes. Johnson, a former welterweight, has rattled off seven straight wins and appears to have found a home at 205 pounds.
Meanwhile, Andre Fili (-142) walked into his bout against Max Holloway (+122) with considerable hype, which stemmed from his nine-fight winning streak and ties to Team Alpha Male. The Californian had his moments, particularly in the first round, where he showcased crisp striking combinations and takedowns. Holloway responded with some sharp kicks and knees of his own before ending the bout with a guillotine choke in round three.
Finally, Bethe Correia (+110) had more fights under her belt than Jessamyn Duke (-130), but many expected “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 18 alum to power through the unbeaten Brazilian by utilizing her significant advantages in height and reach. However, Duke had trouble employing her length, and Correia kept her perfect record intact behind stout leg kicks and tight punching combinations. Duke tried to counter with a stiff jab and also worked in a few judo throws, but Correia was superior in the scrambles and managed to outpoint her American counterpart to a decision.