UFC on Fox 8 Results: The Real Winners and Losers from Johnson vs. Moraga
Demetrious Johnson never stopped moving. He never does. John Moraga, the challenger, thought he was ready for it. He wasn't. They never are.
Johnson controlled almost every one of the fight's 23-plus minutes with his diverse striking and superlative takedowns. It looked like the flyweight champion was on his way to yet another decision victory, which would have been his fourth in a row. Johnson exploded for an armbar submission in the final minutes of the fight, though, bending Moraga's elbow with a brutal joint lock.
Once again, he defied expectations.
The genius of Johnson is in the variety of his techniques. He utilized punches, knees, kicks and lightning-fast wrestling moves. "Mighty Mouse" always seemed to choose the ideal weapon at the right time. He was able to switch gears on a dime. It was as dominant a title defense as we've seen in recent memory.
Johnson, of course, wasn't the only big winner on the night, although sometimes it felt like it. It was a night full of dull fights, production mistakes and fans dressed as empty chairs. But it wasn't all bad news. There were winners and losers up and down the card. Let's explore them together.
Winner: The Little Guy
I had some fun at Demetrious Johnson's expense earlier this week. Shame on me. Sure, he's a tiny man. He's also a heck of a fighter.
For 23 minutes, the UFC's flyweight champion bamboozled challenger John Moraga, flitting around the cage like a sparrow and changing stances, levels and strategies seemingly on a whim. When Moraga expected him to zig, he consistently zagged, moving so quickly that his speed defied modern technology and the human eye.
You never saw him go from point A to point B. He just appeared there, as if by magic, always perfectly positioned for a takedown. No fighter is a better tactician than Johnson. Not coincidentally, his coach Matt Hume is also a master at adjusting strategies on the fly—and Johnson almost always seems able to address the mistakes his coach notices in the early rounds.
Loser: The Fans
Rory MacDonald and Jake Ellenberger sure talked a good game. Before the fight, both promised to send the other back to obscurity—and the back of the line at 170 pounds.
But when they stepped into the cage, all that supposed bad blood went away. In the place of two loud and proud warriors were two cautious contenders—two timid men with everything to lose.
MacDonald won the bout on the strength of his crisp jab. The story of the fight, however, was both men's refusal to engage the other. MacDonald didn't win the fight on the strength of his techniques. He won because Ellenberger wouldn't fight.
MacDonald won by default.
As the final round ended, both raised their hands in victory. The crowd responded with boos.
And you know what?
That was the appropriate reaction to such tremendous hubris in the face of such small performances.
Winner: Robbie Lawler
Robbie Lawler's career has always felt a bit disappointing. Maybe that's bound to happen when Dana White calls you the "White Tyson" before you're even 21.
Lawler ended up flaming out of the UFC but did well for himself elsewhere, especially in Elite XC where he became middleweight champion. But at 19-9 before his return to the UFC in February, it sure felt like he hadn't lived up to his potential.
But a return to welterweight coincided with his return to the Octagon. And at 170 pounds, he has looked spectacular, winning his second consecutive fight with a brutal head-kick knockout over Bobby Voelker.
Still just 31 years old, he seems less like the washed up has-been he appeared to be in his final Strikeforce fight and more like a potential contender to Georges St-Pierre. He has a few fights to go before earning a title shot, but, suddenly, it doesn't seem like a ridiculous notion.
Winner: Liz Carmouche
Liz Carmouche is an impressive woman. It's more than just her immense musculature and classy manner. Her courage is a wonder. Not only did she serve in the Marine Corps, but she made the choice to live her life openly and come out as a proud gay athlete.
As indisputably great as she is as a person, I still had a lot of questions about her as a fighter coming into her bout with Jessica Andrade. Carmouche has been heavily promoted by the UFC thanks to her title bout with Ronda Rousey—but before UFC on Fox 8 she had never beaten an opponent with a winning career record.
Against Andrade, she finally proved she is more than a can crusher. She ended up winning with a combination of science and impressive physical dominance. That's a potent combination.
Winner: Street Fighting
Jorge Masvidal is just like Kimbo Slice. I mean, just like him except for the part where he stars in a YouTube series where all the guys in your office gather around a 19-inch monitor to watch him beat up people.
But imagine if Slice had become a competent professional instead of an immediate has-been.
Or if Slice weighed 155 pounds. His beard weighs 155 pounds alone.
In retrospect, Masvidal is not like Kimbo at all. Let's move on.
Masvidal is tough as nails and has developed a solid grappling game to go along with his street-certified stand-up. He survived a hard left hand from Michael Chiesa and managed to submit him with a D'Arce choke in the final seconds of the second round.
Winner: Melvin Guillard
Matt Serra was a big proponent of the hammerfist when he was coaching on The Ultimate Fighter. In his mind, it was a light punch, one that kept you busy and your opponent occupied and one that racked up points.
I don't think Serra ever imagined hammerfists quite like Melvin Guillard's terrifying, fight-ending blows. When Guillard unleashed them on Mac Danzig, you could actually pinpoint to the second when Danzig's brain gave in to the inevitable, telling his body, "Nope, I'm not going to play anymore."
What followed was a stark reminder of what a fight can do to a man, mentally and physically. Danzig was bloodied, his brain was battered, and his were emotions high. He fought his own equilibrium and tears as he tried to get to his feet—and failed on both counts.
Guillard remains one of the sport's most frustrating fighters. On nights like this, he looks like a contender. On other nights, he seems to leap intentionally into an opponent's submission hold so he can get to the casino buffet a little sooner.
Physically, he's a wonder. If he can he put it all together mentally, Guillard still has an outside chance to make a final run toward championship glory.
Winners: Ed Herman and Trevor Smith
Ed Herman and Trevor Smith were well on their way to something special. For two rounds, they traded heavy, heavy leather with no desire to protect their own brains and bodies.
Horrible for them but awesome for us.
Eventually, that part of the fight came to an end. The two men both lost steam in the third round, and the action petered to a near halt. That eliminated the bout from consideration as Fight of the Year. But it didn't stop it from being a fun way to spend 10 minutes.
Verdict? Winners all around.
Loser: The Hype Machine
There was a lot of big talk before the Julie Kedzie and Germaine de Randamie fight opened the broadcast on FX. Kedzie, who only started fighting in 2004, was inexplicably referred to as a pioneer of women's MMA. De Randamie, despite a 3-2 record, was compared, with a straight face, to Anderson Silva.
Unfortunately, neither could live up to the hype. De Randamie controlled the first round against the fence, but her occasional knee to the body wasn't nearly as dynamic as announcer Joe Rogan clearly wanted it to be. In the second round, Kedzie scored a takedown and cruised. In the final round, no one did much of anything.
Kedzie lost a split decision, but the real loser was Rogan. He called the bout "great" and an example of "high level women's MMA." Neither is true. Here's hoping any new fan tuning in for the first time didn't take him at his word.
Demetrious Johnson defeats John Moraga via submission in Round 5
Rory MacDonald defeats Jake Ellenberger via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
Robbie Lawler defeats Bobby Voelker via knockout at 0:24 of Round 2
Liz Carmouche defeats Jessica Andrade via TKO at 3:57 of Round 2
Jorge Masvidal defeats Michael Chiesa via submission at 4:59 of Round 2
Danny Castillo defeats Tim Means via unanimous decision (29-28 x 3)
Melvin Guillard defeats Mac Danzig via knockout at 2:47 of Round 2
Daron Cruickshank defeats Yves Edwards via split decision (30-27, 27-30, 30-27)
Ed Herman defeats Trevor Smith via split decision (30-27, 27-30, 29-28)
Germaine de Randamie defeats Julie Kedzie via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
Justin Salas defeats Aaron Riley via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Yaotzin Meza defeats John Albert via submission at 2:49 of Round 2