Demetrious Johnson stands alone in UFC history.
Johnson ragdolled Borg for the better part of five rounds before a spectacular finish Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas: Johnson went to suplex Borg, then transitioned mid-air to an armbar for a submission victory. The time of the finish was 3:15 the fifth round.
That marked the 11th successful title defense for the Washington state native, surpassing former middleweight champion Anderson Silva’s previous mark of 10.
“Ray Borg was running his mouth saying my grappling game was garbage,” Johnson said. “I was just playing around, playing, looking at [announcer Daniel Cormier], and all that stuff, and I’ve hit that suplex to armbar so many times in the gym. And I knew I was going to get it.”
Johnson came out flying in the opening round, demonstrating the speed and dexterity which has marked his exemplary reign. With the crowd chanting “Mighty Mouse,” Johnson took Borg to the mat, worked Borg over, and kept working for a submission opening which never quite got there.
Borg came out stronger in the second round, finding success in the clinch and on the mat. He briefly got a standing Johnson’s back. But Johnson threw him to the mat and resumed control of the fight.
“I’m not in the business to get hit and take concussions,” Johnson said. “Sh*t’s way overrated. I’m in the business of getting in here, making a fool of you, getting you in the air like a bag of potatoes.”
In the third round, Johnson continued to frustrated Borg, never giving up an inch. He also showed off his inventiveness by landing sharp knees to Borg’s torso while in half-guard position.
Borg certainly proved plenty tough, as he was vastly outstruck and outworked in the fight. But the final two rounds seemed academic. Whenever Borg did try to assert himself, it ended badly, such as one instance in the fourth in which Johnson slammed him to the ground and Borg’s head bounced off the mat.
Johnson is the only flyweight champion in UFC history, as he defeated Joseph Benavidez at UFC 152 on Sept. 22, 2012 to crown the first champion. He’s won 13 consecutive bouts, which is second to Silva’s UFC record of 16, and has finished in seven of his 11 title defenses.
The fight was originally scheduled to take place at UFC 215. But Borg was pulled from the bout on the UFC doctor’s advice 48 hours before the fight due to an illness.
Borg (11-3), of Albuquerque, N.M., had a two-fight win streak snapped.