Strikeforce veteran Daniel Cormier submitted Tony Johnson Jr. with a first-round rear-naked choke to capture the King of the Cage heavyweight championship at KOTC “Imminent Danger” on Friday at the Inn of the Mountain Gods Casino in Mescalero, N.M. The end came 2:27 into round one.
Cormier ate a few glancing blows at the start, initiated the clinch and backed Johnson into the cage. Johnson dove for a single-leg takedown, but Cormier ended up in top position during the scramble. Cormier took the champion’s back and ultimately moved to side mount, where he tightened his grip on the match. In a second scramble, Cormier again attached himself to his opponent’s back, cinched the choke, set his hooks and waited for the tapout, bending Johnson backward like a bow.
Unbeaten as a professional, Cormier has finished all four of his opponents, three of them inside one round. A five-time U.S. Nationals champion, the 31-year-old wrestled collegiately at Oklahoma State University and competed in the 2004 Olympics. Johnson outweighed him by some 16 pounds.
Meanwhile, KOTC welterweight champion Quinn Mulhern retained his title, as he coaxed a tapout from Levi Stout with a rear-naked choke 2:52 into the first round. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt based in Santa Fe, N.M., Mulhern has rattled off five consecutive victories since his technical knockout loss to Michael Guymon in October.
Other winners at KOTC “Imminent Danger” included Affliction veteran Bobby Green (second-round guillotine choke submission against Daron Cruickshank), the once-beaten Frank Baca (first-round triangle choke submission over Michael Chupa) and Bellator Fighting Championships veteran Tyler East (first-round technical knockout against Estevez Jones).
Neer Hands Finney First Loss
Jettisoned UFC lightweight Josh Neer submitted the previously unbeaten Jesse Finney with a first-round guillotine choke in their catchweight main event at Fight Me MMA 1 “The Battle Begins” on Saturday at the Family Arena in St. Charles, Mo.
Neer bounced back nicely from his technical submission loss to Bellator Fighting Championships lightweight titleholder Eddie Alvarez in May, as he won for the third time in his last three appearances. The 27-year-old Pat Miletich protégé was pruned from the UFC roster following his decision defeat to American Top Team’s Gleison Tibau at UFC 104 in October.
Meanwhile, Strikeforce veteran Francisco France submitted “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 7 quarter-finalist Cale Yarbrough with a second-round arm-triangle choke in another featured matchup. The defeat snapped a seven-fight winning streak for Yarbrough, a product of the American Top Team-affiliated Hardcore Gym in Athens, Ga.
World Extreme Cagefighting veteran Luis Santos submitted Pedro Irie with an arm-triangle choke at Amazon Fight 4 on Friday in Belem, Brazil. Santos remains unbeaten (7-0-1) in his last eight appearances … Joaquim Ferreira, still the only man to defeat world-ranked UFC heavyweight Junior dos Santos, put an end to his troubling four-fight losing streak with a second-round North-South choke submission against Marcelo de Oliveira at Brazil Fight 2 on Saturday at Chevrolet Hall in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Ferreira submitted dos Santos with an armbar in 73 seconds in November 2007 … Dream veteran Junya Kudo posted his second victory in three fights, as he outpointed Kentaro Watanabe en route to a unanimous decision at Shooto “Border 5: Rhythm” on Sunday at Hirano Ward Community Hall in Osaka, Japan … UFC veteran Brian Cobb submitted Jonny Carson with a standing rear-naked choke in a little more than a minute at Fight for Wrestling 2 on Saturday at the Icardo Center in Bakersfield, Calif. The victory snapped a two-fight losing streak for Cobb, who was trimmed from the active UFC roster following his technical knockout loss to Terry Etim at UFC 95 in February 2009.