Michael Johnson evidently took offense to Dustin Poirier being installed as a favorite.
A +148 underdog according to BetDSI.com, Johnson felled the American Top Team standout with a vicious two-punch burst and mopped up what was left of him with ground-and-pound in the first round of their UFC Fight Night 94 main event on Saturday at State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, Texas. Poirier required assistance from referee Dan Miragliotta 1:35 into round one, his four-fight winning streak having run its course.
Johnson gave the Lafayette, Louisiana, native no chance to settle in. He cut down Poirier with a right hook-straight left combination that scrambled his senses. Johnson then trailed “The Diamond” to the canvas and cut loose with lefts and rights until the job was done. With that, the Blackzilians rep had snapped a two-fight losing streak and reminded everyone that he was still a player in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s cutthroat lightweight division.
Three other underdogs joined Johnson in the winner’s circle: Gabriel Benitez, Jose Alberto Quinonez and Roan Carneiro.
Benitez (+100) spent the first five minutes chewing up the inside of Sam Sicilia’s leg with kicks before choking him unconscious with a guillotine in the second round. Sicilia, who had been on the receiving end of a 93-second Doo Ho Choi knockout in his most recent appearance, entered the cage as a modest -122 favorite.
Quinonez, a +105 underdog, was no less impressive in earning a unanimous verdict against Joey Gomez (-125) on the undercard. He overcame significant adversity -- Gomez floored him with a straight left in the second round -- to rip the body with repeated kicks and twist the fight to his liking. Quinonez dropped Gomez with a crushing knee strike to the face in the third round, climbed to full mount and unleashed some ground-and-pound before advancing towards the back. Though a finish did not materialize, the message had been sent and the fight won.
Finally, Carneiro (-102) eked out a contentious split decision over Kenny Robertson in their three-round welterweight showcase. The 38-year-old Brazilian swept into mount late in the second round and buzzed Robertson (-118) with a right uppercut-left hook combination in the third. Judges Hector Maldonado and Marcos Rosales scored it for Carneiro, 30-27 and 29-28, while Guadalupe Chapa cast a 29-28 nod for Robertson.