Grown men go to sleep when Anthony Johnson hits them. Ryan Bader now knows this truth all too well.
Johnson knocked out “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 8 winner with hellacious first-round ground-and-pound in the UFC on Fox 18 headliner on Saturday at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The end came 1:26 into round one, with a splattered Bader (20-5, 13-5 UFC) face down and unconscious.
Bader shot for a single-leg from too far away inside the first minute, only to be met by a quick sprawl. Johnson wheeled to his back, forcing the Power MMA Team mainstay to defend with a desperate kimura attempt. Bader’s situation only deteriorated from there. Johnson (21-5, 12-5 UFC) climbed to mount and freed his arm, as Bader yielded his back. The unrestrained “Rumble” then let loose with a series of daisy-cutter punches that turned out the lights.
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Resurgent Rothwell Taps Barnett
In the heavyweight co-main event, Ben Rothwell became the first man to legitimately submit Josh Barnett, as he tapped the former Ultimate Fighting Championship champion with a second-round guillotine choke. Barnett (34-8, 6-3 UFC) asked out of the match 3:48 into round two.
Rothwell (36-9, 6-3 UFC) walked down the CSW cornerstone with punches and trapped him on the feet. Barnett could not get his clinch game or his takedowns in gear, and though he bloodied Rothwell’s nose with a series of stiff jabs in the first round, it was clear the action was not developing as he had hoped. In the second round, he dove on a single-leg and wandered into a 10-finger guillotine -- Rothwell called it a “gogo choke” -- from which there was no escape. Rothwell pancaked Barnett along the fence and applied crushing pressure until the tapout came. Barnett’s two previous submission losses -- one to punches, the other to a shoulder injury -- came to Mirko Filipovic in Pride Fighting Championships.
The resurgent Rothwell has won his last four fights, all of them finishes.
Rivera Wins 18th Straight
Strong punching combinations, relentless pressure and timely takedowns carried Team Tiger Schulmann’s Jimmie Rivera to a unanimous decision over former Jungle Fight champion Iuri Alcantara in a three-round bantamweight showcase. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 29-28 for Rivera (19-1, 3-0 UFC), who now finds himself on an 18-fight winning streak.
Alcantara (32-7, 7-4 UFC) landed a handful of thudding kicks to the body but was far too reliant on his counters, allowing his adversary to dictate the pace and the exchanges. He sat down an off-balance Rivera with straight left hands in the second and third rounds. However, he could not react quickly enough to follow-up, and those failures prove costly for the Brazilian.
The 35-year-old Alcantara has lost twice in his last three appearances.
Barberena Choke Submits Northcutt
MMA Lab rep Bryan Barberena submitted the previously unbeaten Sage Northcutt with a second-round arm-triangle choke in a featured welterweight attraction. Northcutt (7-1, 2-1 UFC) conceded defeat 3:06 into round two, as he experienced defeat for the first time as a professional.
Barberena (11-3, 2-1 UFC) weathered the early storm and pushed the 19-year-old prospect beyond his bounds. Northcutt wound up on his back in the second round after an ill-conceived cartwheel kick. Barberena slid to half guard, battered the Tristar Gym export with elbows and slipped in the choke. Panic seemed to set in on Northcutt, leading to a surprising tapout.
A short-notice fill-in for the injured Andrew Holbrook, the 26-year-old Barberena has won eight of his past nine bouts.