MONTREAL - Demetrious Johnson retained his UFC flyweight champion title fashion Saturday night, controlling Kyoji Horiguchi for nearly the entire five-round bout before scoring the latest submission win in UFC history — tapping out his opponent with a second left.
"I didn't want to be stupid and get knocked out," Johnson said. "I had 25 minutes. I just took my time, and with 1 second left, I figured I better finish him."
Horiguchi was dangerous in the opening round, as his blend of unorthodox, karate-based movements and impressive speed gave the champ some pause in the early going. But the Japanese contender was unable to truly capitalize on the opportunities, and it would cost him.
Johnson (22-2-1) simply took over in the second round, showing the wide range of skills that have earned him recognition as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters. Constant pressure from the champ left Horiguchi (15-2) struggling to find any opportunity to attack.
Instead, the challenger was constantly forced to try and prevent Johnson from taking his back, as they battled routinely against the fence and in the clinch.
It was one-way traffic until the final round, and the 23-year-old challenger was simply overwhelmed by the more experienced champ. Horiguchi tried to attack until the end, briefly threatening with a fifth-round triangle choke, but he was simply overwhelmed. While he was clearly ahead on the scorecards in the final seconds, Johnson turned up the volume, transitioned to an armbar and scored the submission win.
Johnson successfully defended the title for the sixth time.
In the co-main event, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (36-11) earned his first UFC win since 2011, scoring a unanimous decision over Brazilian slugger Fabio Maldonado (22-8).