For the opening five minutes, Michael Johnson’s featherweight debut looked like it was going to be a breeze.
But then, we all should know by now that you can never count out Darren Elkins.
Elkins, who has displayed a knack for comeback victories, effortlessly shook off his bad start Sunday night at UFC St. Louis and finished it in the second. Elkins submitted Johnson with a rear-naked choke at the 2:22 mark at Scottrade Center for his sixth consecutive victory.
“I want the number one contender, I think that’s realistic” Elkins (24-5) said. “I have six, the only person who has a longer streak than me is [champion] Max Holloway himself.”
Johnson looked sharp in the opening round. He showed a smart mix of pressure and strategic striking, landing big two-and-three-punch combos which rendered Elkins’s face a bloody mess.
But Elkins shook it off like it was no big thing in the second, scoring an early takedown and working over Johnson in side control. Elkins got Johnson’s back in a scramble, and from there it was a matter of time as he sunk in a body lock and then the choke.
“I knew when we got in the scramble I was going to go straight for his back right away,” Elkins said. “I got in that rear naked choke and I squeeze and squeeze.”
Johnson, who is originally from St. Louis, dropped to 17-13 with his fifth loss in his past six bouts.