As far as free mixed martial arts goes, it's hard to be disappointed with UFC on Versus 6: Cruz vs. Johnson. With a title fight and some exciting matchups leading up to it, fans were treated to another excellent card to hold them over until UFC 136: Edgar vs. Maynard III.
To start off the main card, Matt Wiman and Mac Danzig put on an excellent back-and-forth battle that earned them Fight of the Night. Wiman controlled more positioning however, and all three judges gave him the nod, 29-28.
Danzig certainly got the better of his opponent on the feet, but Wiman showed that incredible chin of his, just walking through punches and pushing the pace. Danzig's face also likely influenced the judge's scorecards, as it looked like he got hit with a sledgehammer or two.
This is the kind of fight that makes MMA fans, and hopefully, the fact that it was a free card helped that.
Next up, Anthony Johnson took on Charlie Brenneman. This jump in competition seemed to occur much to soon for Brenneman, who couldn't muster any offense whatsoever. "Rumble" Johnson easily stuffed his takedown and pounded on "The Spaniard," showing a clear size and strength advantage.
Brenneman probably didn't deserve to be in this situation. He beat a Rick Story that wasn't prepared for a wrestler. That doesn't make him a top-10 welterweight like many are claiming he is. Do people forget he was finished by Johny Hendricks just last year?
Johnson showed that he has the potential to go far in the sport. My biggest concern for him is that weight cut, which is rather severe and not very good in terms of career longevity. "Rumble" earned his second Knockout of the Night, despite the poor stoppage by Mario Yamasaki.
In the co-main event, it was Pat Barry versus Stefan Struve. Both fighters have quality striking technique, but Struve has had problems using his reach to keep opponents at bay. Even with a foot height and reach advantage, Barry was still getting the better of Struve on the feet.
Barry recently made the move to train with the wrestler-heavy Team DeathClutch, but you wouldn't know it based on last night's performance. Struve submitted Barry with what may have been the most telegraphed triangle in the history of the sport. Barry now has a lackluster 6-4 record with three of those losses coming via submission and one by knockout.
Struve, on the other hand, showed that he is very well-rounded, especially for such a young fighter at 23 years old. Still, he needs to do a better job of using his reach to avoid taking shots.
In the main event, fans were treated to a free title fight in which Dominick "The Dominator" Cruz took on Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson. Cruz looked to be in trouble early on. Johnson was clearly getting the better of him on the feet and showing a distinct edge in both speed and conditioning.
"The Dominator," however, held the clear size, strength, and wrestling advantage, and was able to complete takedowns throughout the fight. He mixed up his takedowns well, completing double legs, Germans suplexes and Judo throws. Cruz was able to advance position several times and nearly finished the fight with a rear-naked choke when he took Johnson's back.
It was an exciting fight and one of the more competitive title bouts in recent memory. "Mighty Mouse" had a great showing for someone who belongs at 125 pounds. When the flyweight division opens up, him and Joseph Benavidez will have a hell of a fight for the title.
Putting Cruz on a free card may have helped his exposure, but I doubt he'll be much of a draw on a pay-per-view event. It's a shame because his last couple of fights have been great. He's now 19-1 and undefeated at 135 pounds, which warrants more respect than he gets.