Anthony “Rumble” Johnson scored his third straight one-sided victory tonight, at his new home at light heavyweight — taking one more step to a eventual showdown with champion Jon Jones.
This time, Johnson made short work of top contender Alexander Gustafsson in his own hometown at the UFC on FOX event in Stockholm, Sweden. After a brief standup exchange (including a stoppage due to an accidental poke to the eye from Gustafsson), “Rumble” rocked the Swede with a right hand, before following his opponent to the mat. As a shaken Gustafsson struggled to defend, Johnson rained down punches until the referee stopped the bout.
The finish came at 2:15 of the first round. With the victory, Johnson moves to 19-4 in his career. Gustafsson, who had taken Jon Jones to the limit back in 2013 (eventually losing a decision), drops to 16-3 with the loss.
Earlier in the night, old legend Dan Henderson suffered his second straight loss, and fifth in his last six UFC appearances, in a bout with Gegard Mousasi (seen above).
Henderson, fighting at middleweight for the first time in was cracked by a right hand early in the bout, and dropped hard to the canvas. With the former Strikeforce champion (momentarily) motionless, and Mousasi standing over him ready to unload, the referee stepped in to prevent further punishment. But it seemed just a fraction of a second later that Henderson was up, and looking for a takedown.
The Stockholm crowd boo’ed the finish, which came at 1:10 of the first stanza. But observers such as UFC on FOX commentator Brian Stann expressed that the referee’s decision was reasonable. Stann also remarked that there was nothing further for Henderson to prove, and that he had no desire to see him fight again.
Mousasi improves his MMA record to 36-5-2 with the win. Henderson drops to 30-13.
The event also included a split decision victory for Ryan Bader over Phil Davis in a pairing of two more top-ten ranked light heavyweights. The two, both better known for their wrestling prowess, exchanged sporadic blows in standup throughout three rounds, with little to separate them. A more consistent jab from Bader seemed to make the difference with the judges. Davis falls to 14-3 with one no-contest with the loss, while Bader improves to 19-4.
The main card opened with a lightweight contest between Akira Corassani and Sam Sicilia. As in the main event, the American served as spoiler to the hometown favorite in the bout, as Sicilia leveled Corassani with a right hand for a first round knockout. This marked Corassani’s third consecutive loss in the UFC, and it would appear he may soon be released from the promotion. The win improves Sicilia’s record to 14-5, while Corassani drops to 12-6 with one no-contest.
Full results, see the play-by-play at http://www.cagedinsider.com/ufc/ufc-fox-gustafsson-vs-johnson-results-play-play/