The UFC on FOX 8 card from Seattle on Saturday night saw Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson defeat little known John Moraga with a submission in the fifth and final round to retain his title and pick up his first career stoppage in the UFC. Johnson had been a huge favorite, so much so that betting Moraga at (+400) or better was palatable to a lot of bettors. Johnson maintained a steady pace, and used a dozen takedowns to control where the fight took place from beginning to end. Moraga landed a solid punch to end the fourth round, bloodying Johnson, but at that point he was down 4-0 on the cards, and other than a lucky punch, had shown no ability to slow down Johnson heading into the final round. Johnson would finish his first UFC fight by submission in the fifth, setting a record for latest sub in UFC history and earning a $50,000 bonus in the process. Moraga was the final big underdog of the night, and none of the other dogs did better either.
In the opening bout of the Fox card, a women’s bantamweight bout, Liz Carmouche returned to earn a TKO victory over huge underdog Jessica Andrade. Carmouche has adjusted well to the octagon, as she seemed more focused than the wide eyed debutante that we saw in her last outing against Champion Ronda Rousey. Andrade had a moment or two in the opening round, however Carmouche was relentless in her attack. In the second, once she attained mount position with a lot of time left, she took Andrade out with a bararge of punches and elbows that led to a ref stoppage. Again the underdog in Andrade was tempting, though little was known about her until now given her all-Brazilian resume. Alas, this underdog was not to be, either. Veteran Robbie Lawler improved to 2-0 in his recent UFC run when he KO’d Bobby Voelker in the first half minute of the second round with a head kick and punches. Lawler was favored in this fight as well, and by KO’ing Voelker with a head kick he signalled to the rest of the UFC that he is ready to headhunt his way to the title. Voelker lost the opening round and was not able to threaten Lawler en route to dropping to 0-2 in his UFC career. Lawler should see a fast rise in competition level in his next outing.
The most hyped and anticipated match of the night was the welterweight bout between Jake Ellenberger and Rory MacDonald. MacDonald came in a solid 2 to 1 favorite, though Ellenberger was a tempting underdog as he has aggression and KO power that MacDonald had not seen yet in his octagon career. The match however, wouldn’t develop beyond a tepid pace, as MacDonald used his jab and his reach to stay safe of Ellenberger’s bursts. Ellenberger did attack more in the first round, and he let out a deep breath of frustration at the end of the opening act that signalled his frustration. Ellenberger kept it up and managed his gas well over the course f the fight, however it was not a high activity fight. MacDonald for his part, was content winning on points and did not try to finish the fight or pick up the pace at all, resulting in a boring stalemate of a fight. In the end, MacDonald had done enough to win, meaning Ellenberger would be added to the list of intriguing underdogs at UFC on FOX 8 that did not pay off. Here is one match to make out of all of this: Ellenberger coming off a loss and trying to avoid a dive in the rankings, against Robbie Lawler, who would gladly take Ellenberger’s spot in the rankings if he could. It would be highly unlikely this potential fight would suffer from the same lack of action that Ellenberger-MacDonald was plagued with.