The judges saw the fight in the champion’s favor and scored it unanimously for Cruz.
The championship bout started out with the champion doing his routine and unique dance routine on the feet. Johnson kept a fast pace and attempted to get the fight down to the ground. As Johnson attempted takedowns, Cruz punished him with short punches. Johnson finally got the fight to the ground and the two scrambled there for an extended period of time. The round ended with the two on the feet and Johnson attempting another takedown.
Round two began intense, as expected. Cruz was able to put Johnson on the canvas for a moment, but the fighter out of Washington State was tenacious and the fight returned to the feet. The pace wasn’t close slowing down halfway through. With every step that he took with his unique style, Cruz was matched step for step by Johnson due to the challenger’s quickness. When the fight went to the ground, the champion stayed in top position until the round ended.
The third round started with just as much intensity and quickness as the previous two. The two traded off shots until the champion got a bodylock from behind and suplexed the challenger. From there, Cruz got his opponent’s back and attempted a rear naked choke, but Johnson persevered and returned the fight to the feet. A short while later, Cruz brought Johnson down to the canvas and stayed in top position, hammering away until the fight was back on the feet with about 17 seconds to go. The round ended with the two against the fence.
The championship rounds began and the two weren’t anywhere close to slowing down. Cruz ducked and threw punches, but Johnson was quick enough to move out of the way. Johnson threw strikes of his own and the champ did well to avoid those shots. Cruz brought his opponent down to the ground again and worked from top position to control the fight. Both continued to stand and throw strikes, but didn’t land anything significant enough to cause major damage.
The final round began with “Mighty Mouse” pressing the action, but he gave up his back and was suplexed, once again. Cruz stayed on top of his opponent and worked to control the fight for the first half of the final round. The fight returned to a standing battle and Johnson tried to find the strikes that would score the fight in his favor, but Cruz kept control and took him down a couple more times before the fight went the distance.
The official scores of the bout were 50-45, 49-46, and 50-45.
“It was a tough fight,” Cruz told Joe Rogan after his successful title defense. “The kid [has] a sick pace, so I had to outwrestle him.”
Cruz successfully defends his title for the second consecutive time and improves his record to 19-1. Johnson loses only his second fight in eleven professional outings.