Anthony Johnson’s weight advantage made little difference on Saturday night, as Vitor Belfort forced Johnson to tap to a rear naked choke submission with 11 seconds left in the opening round of the UFC 142 co-main event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
After trading strikes early, Johnson looked to control Belfort, but was quickly restarted twice by referee Dan Miragliotta. Belfort took advantage as he connected with several punches on his feet before taking Johnson’s back in a scramble and eventually forcing him to tap to a rear naked choke late in the opening round.
MMAFrenzy.com’s play-by-play of Belfort vs. Johnson is below:
Round 1 – Johnson attempts a poor front kick and throws several wild shots. He looks massive. Belfort fires a kick but Johnson catches it and inside trips Belfort down to the mat. Belfort recovers and pulls guard after a hard shot from AJ. Another front kick to a takedown attempt by AJ. Belfort sprawls and uses the cage to stay up. Referee Dan Miragliotta separates them. AJ ducks for a takedown but eats a hard a knee from Belfort. AJ finally gets him down and is just looking to smother Belfort without posturing up. Miraglotta stands them up quickly again. Hard but wild knee from AJ and he looks for another takedown. Belfort defends and lands some punches before taking AJ’s back off a spin. Belfort throws the hooks in and is pounding AJ from top. AJ just covering up but doesn’t look hurt. Belfort locks up a rear naked choke and transitions to a Gable grip to choke AJ out cold. AJ’s dehydration clearly showed as the fight wore on.
Vitor Belfort def. Anthony Johnson via sub (rear-naked choke) at 4:49 of Round 1
Pictured: Vitor Belfort