Anthony Johnson punches through Phil Davis


BALTIMORE -- It appears as though Anthony Johnson will indeed hold his own in the UFC's light heavyweight division. Hold his own and then some.

Johnson (17-4) made a successful UFC light heavyweight debut on Saturday, as he dominated the highly ranked Phil Davis in the UFC 172 co-main event at Baltimore Arena. All three judges scored the 205-pound contest for Johnson, 30-27.

It was Johnson's first UFC appearance since January 2012, when he was released for missing weight multiple times as a welterweight and middleweight. Johnson made a permanent move to the light heavyweight division later that year.

A former NCAA Division-I national champion wrestler, Davis (12-2) was never able to get Johnson on the floor -- which played a key role in the fight. He attempted eight total takedowns and was unsuccessful in every one of them.

Johnson, who improved to 5-1 as a light heavyweight, hurt Davis in the first round with a short right uppercut. The strike put Davis on roller skates and opened a cut over his left eye. He did survive an ensuing flurry from Johnson after the shot.

The second round played out similar to the first, as Johnson patiently stalked Davis while defending takedowns. He blocked the majority of Davis' kicks as well, usually countering with combinations any time Davis threw one.

Johnson outstruck Davis at a near 2-to-1 clip, landing 60 strikes while absorbing just 32, according to FightMetric. He nearly took Davis' head off with a kick in the final round, after Davis whiffed on a head kick.

A member of the Blackzilians, Johnson extends his win streak to seven. He is now 8-4 overall in the UFC. Davis suffers his first loss January 2012.

Rockhold works over Boetsch for submission win

Chalk up a few style points to Luke Rockhold on this one.

Rockhold (12-2) took home another stoppage in the UFC middleweight division, as he tapped Tim Boetsch with a kimura at 2:08 of the first round.

The finish comes three months after Rockhold starched Costas Philippou with a liver kick knockout less than three minutes into the fight.

"The reverse triangle that I got him in, that's my bread and butter," Rockhold said. "Everyone thinks I'm just a striker but don't sleep on my submission game.

"I knew I had the sub but {Boetsch] such a tough guy, he fought [the submission attempts] for awhile.

After the win, the former Strikeforce champion wasted no time calling out Vitor Belfort, who knocked him out in his UFC debut last year.

Boetsch (17-7), a heavy underdog, found himself in trouble immediately. He shot on a single leg takedown early -- which would prove to be his only move of the fight.

Rockhold scrambled on the attempt and moved seamlessly into an inverted triangle. The choke never appeared close to tapping Boetsch, but it rendered him helpless the rest of the fight. The choke left Rockhold free to work on Boetsch's right arm.

The only setback for Rockhold was a broken second toe on his right foot.

"I felt my toe pop out early," Rockhold said. "It's not quite Jon Jones' [toe injury against Chael Sonnen in 2012], but its still pretty messed up."

Rockhold improves to 2-1 in the UFC with the win. It is the seventh submission win of his career.

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