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Anthony Johnson Stops Charlie Brenneman With a Head Kick

In a welterweight battle on Saturday night's UFC live card, Anthony Johnson defeated Charlie Brenneman in the first round thanks to a big head kick -- and a questionable stoppage from the referee.

Johnson is a devastating striker who executed the kick perfectly, landing his foot square on Brenneman's face, and knocking Brenneman flat on his back. But Brenneman appeared to be conscious, alert and ready to defend himself on the ground when referee Mario Yamasaki jumped in to stop the fight. The whole contest lasted just 2 minutes, 49 seconds.

"I'm very happy -- everybody was talking crap about my last performance with Dan Hardy so I figured I had to come in here and make a statement," Johnson said afterward. "I told Charlie he was the first guy to ever really have me nervous because his wrestling is so good."

But while Brenneman's wrestling is good, Johnson's striking is better. The victory improves Johnson's record to 10-3 and likely sets him up for some very big fights in the welterweight division in 2012: He could be a future welterweight title contender. The loss drops Brenneman to 14-3, but there's no shame in losing to Johnson -- especially when the referee didn't do Brenneman any favors.

"He had my number tonight," Brenneman said. "I didn't execute my gameplan and that guy is a beast in the Octagon. I would have kept going if the ref allowed it, but at that point it wasn't up to me."