showed once again on Saturday night that he's the best 135-pound fighter in mixed martial arts, beating Demetrious Johnson
by unanimous decision to retain the UFC
It was an exciting, action-packed fight, and a bout that demonstrated just how ruthlessly effective Cruz's fighting style is. The win improved Cruz's professional MMA
record to 19-1, and there's no question that he's one of the best fighters in the world, in any weight class.
"It was a tough fight -- the kid's got a sick pace," Cruz said of Johnson. "He didn't surprise me. I was ready for a wicked pace. I knew I had to slow him down by using my strength and my size."
The judges scored it 50-45, 50-45 and 49-46 for Cruz.
Most of the first round was fought on the ground, starting when Johnson clinched Cruz against the cage and Cruz responded by throwing him to the ground, then got on top and transitioned into side control. Johnson was able to land a couple of punches standing, and Johnson did get one takedown of his own, but overall the first round was Cruz's: He controlled the action on the feet and the position on the ground.
Johnson charged in quickly at the start of the second round and hit Cruz with a punch and a kick, but it was soon Cruz who secured the takedown and got on top against the fence. For most of the rest of the round it remained Cruz who was in control, largely controlling the fight standing but also finishing the round on top of Johnson against the fence.
After a couple minutes of battling in the third round, Cruz used a great belly-to-back suplex to get Johnson down and get on top of him, then attempted to sink in a rear naked choke. It appeared that Cruz was close to finishing the fight, but Johnson managed to break free and get back to his feet.
In the fourth round Cruz got his best position on the ground of the fight, taking Johnson down and transitioning into full mount. Cruz wasn't able to do much with that dominant position, but the positional control alone was enough to win him the fourth round and ensure that he'd keep his title as long as he could survive the fifth.
Within the first 30 seconds of the third round, Cruz had another belly-to-back suplex and another dominant position. Johnson got up and kept attacking on his feet, but he had no answer for Cruz in the clinch, and in the final minute of the fight Cruz took Johnson down and got into full mount on the ground. Johnson did manage to get back up for a last flurry of strikes, but Cruz finished the fight on top -- right where he belongs, as the top bantamweight in the sport.