Two straight first-round knockouts derailed heavyweight Brendan Schaub's promising start to his UFC career.
With Lavar Johnson -- a man with 15 of his 17 wins coming by KO/TKO -- standing in front of him at UFC 157 on Saturday in Anaheim, Calif., Schaub understand the basic math. Getting Johnson off his feet reduces the opportunity of one of those meat hooks connecting with Schaub's face to end the fight.
Schaub, a former football player at Colorado, maintained top control throughout the fight, worked for several submission attempts and ate his fair share of punches to earn the unanimous decision. All three judges scored it 30-27.
“I had to win tonight," Schaub said. "The last two fights I lost, I fought with my guts rather than my brains but tonight I needed to win this - so I used my brain. I know people were expecting a slugfest - but I’ve been working hard on my BJJ and thought I could sub him."
Schaub (10-3, 5-3 UFC) immediately looked to play to his strength on the ground, taking down Johnson 20 seconds in the fight.
Schaub worked for a guillotine choke attempt off that takedown and had it locked in fairly deep, but Johnson (17-7, 2-2) punched his way out. Johnson got back to his feet, then tripped Schaub to get him down. Schaub managed a sweept and got back into half guard 30 seconds later.
The remainder of the fight played out much the same way. Schaub hit takedown after takedown. Johnson connected with punches from his back. Schaub took the hits, but continued to go for the takedowns after each stand-up by the referee.
:At one point he was talking to me on the ground saying 'Come on, dog, let’s stand and give the fans a show," Schaub said. "And I said 'Sorry, bro, I gotta win this fight' and he said 'I hear ya.'”