UFC on Fox 8: 8 Memorable Moments from Johnson vs. Moraga Fight Card
"Mighty Mouse" had a dominant showing against a strong contender in John Moraga. Johnson was elusive and fast on the feet and took Moraga down at will. He was able to nab the submission victory in the final round for the latest finish in company history.
The co-main event wasn't as impressive.
Rory MacDonald defeated Jake Ellenberger by utilizing his jab to create distance. He kept the powerful puncher at range and was able to control the action. Ellenberger got a takedown, but it was far too late to make an impact.
All-in-all, the fight card delivered. The UFC continued its good year with another card filled with excellent talent.
These are eight memorable moments from Saturday night's event.
Herman vs. Smith's First Round
No one is going to confuse Ed Herman or Trevor Smith for middleweight contenders, but make no mistake, they can still entertain.
Herman and Smith threw down in their fight. The first round was very exciting.
The two 185-pound warriors threw full-powered shots at one another. They didn't back down. They were both hurt in the first frame. It was the first fight of the night that truly elicited excitement from the crowd. It wasn't a technical affair, but it was fun.
Herman would go on to win a split decision, but fans will remember the haymaker first round.
Hammerfist of the Gods
Melvin Guillard may have changed training camps numerous times, but, perhaps, Grudge is the right fit for him. It he produces like he did against Mac Danzig, it most certainly is the right move.
Guillard has been wildly inconsistent throughout his UFC tenure, but he was patient and deadly on Saturday.
A jab floored Danzig, and he pounced. Guillard followed up with multiple shots, and finally, a hammerfist got through cleanly. Danzig was out cold. What followed was eerie. Danzig made some frightening noises as he came to, and then, he was seen on the verge of tears. It was a heartbreaking moment.
Guillard's vicious power and speed were, once again, on display. The finish was beautiful; the aftermath was saddening.
Masvidal Ruins the Homecoming
Michael Chiesa lives in Washington, and he was taking a step up in competition in front of friendly faces.
The first round went well for him.
Jorge Masvidal got it going in the second, and he ruined the locals' fun. Masvidal got the tap with just a second remaining in the second round.
Masvidal is a veteran who has largely gone under the radar. Now, under the bright lights of the UFC, he is able to put his skills on display to make a run up the lightweight ladder. Defeating Chiesa was a step in the right direction.
Once the fight was over, Masvidal was met with boos. He smiled and called for more. He is comfortable playing the heel, and he had no qualms with crushing their hopes.
Thankfully, there were no robberies at UFC on Fox 8. However, there were several questionable scorecards that put a scare in everyone watching.
There were four straight split decisions that had an odd scorecard or two.
Justin Salas defeated Aaron Riley fairly convincingly. I could see giving a round to Riley, but the fight? Judge Lamont Nelson was the dissenting scorecard.
Germaine de Randamie defeated Julie Kedzie, but she got a 30-27 card from Terry Boehlke in spite of clearly losing the second round. Trevor Smith got a 30-27 card in his split-decision loss from Sal D'Amato. That may have been the most mind-numbing of the night.
Daron Cruickshank defeated Yves Edwards by a split decision, 27-30, 30-27, 30-27. While a bit strange, at least that fight was close in all three rounds. It could have went either way. No one was robbed of a win, and that's the important thing. But it would be nice to get consistency from the judges.
Carmouche's Dominant Top Game
I don't believe there is a bantamweight out there who wants Liz Carmouche in top control. She has a great ability to control her opponents from that position.
She is one of the most physically strong in the division, and it showed on Saturday.
Jessica Andrade was taken down in the second, unable to shake Carmouche from her perch. She ate a lot of punishment in the process of being stuck beneath her. To the UFC crowd, Carmouche showcased why she is the "Girl-Rilla."
Carmouche can generate a lot of power in short distances, and she is able to posture up and rain down shots. She has good elbows to complement the punches. It was a good showing for the former title challenger, which could lead to seeing her in a contender's bout soon.
Lawler Makes Himself a Contender
Bobby Voelker came in on short notice, and he got taken out by Robbie Lawler.
This was Lawler's second fight since returning to the Octagon, and it was his second big finish. Voelker isn't as big of a name as Josh Koscheck, but the manner in which Lawler dominated made a big statement in the division anyway.
The knockout will see Lawler become a credible contender in the division. He will earn a top-10 fighter soon enough.
Already ranked inside the top 10, a dominant showing like this will make him more appealing in the crowd's eyes. That makes him more marketable and a better candidate to climb the ladder toward a title shot. If this continues, Lawler could stun a lot of people by becoming a top contender.
After the sleeper of a co-main event, the Twittersphere was reeling.
Then John Moraga's music hit.
"Thuggish Ruggish Bone" by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony set the crowd and social media on fire. The hip-hop classic was a good way to garner good feelings from nostalgic fans.
He wouldn't be able to win the title, but the entrance at least perked up the crowd prior to the fight.
Johnson Stops Moraga
Demetrious Johnson has been (unfairly) criticized by fans and pundits for not finishing fights. That ignores the incredible level of competition he has faced in his UFC career: Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto, Miguel Torres, Ian McCall (twice), Joseph Benavidez and John Dodson.
He got the finish against John Moraga.
Johnson worked for the Kimura again and again, but Moraga was able to defend.
In between rounds, Matt Hume told Johnson to switch to the armbar when he defended. The advice was golden.
Johnson switched to the armbar, got the finish and some bonus money to boot. The critics can go away. Johnson put together a masterful complete performance against a high-caliber opponent.