Michael Johnson, one of the longest tenured fighters in the UFC, looked to bounce back from a thrilling split decision loss to Jamie Mullarkey against fellow veteran Marc Diakiese on Saturday’s UFC Orlando card.
Diakiese, widely known as an exciting striker, had surprised fans in his last two outings with low-output wrestling performances. Still, the results cannot be denied as he picked up two straight wins with that tactic after a two-fight losing streak. The crowd in Orlando was heavily behind the local, Johnson, and against the man from England, Diakiese.
Diakiese came out with a running, flying knee, seemingly looking to have an electric fight. Thirty seconds into the fight Diakiese shot a double leg but Johnson elevated his hips and escaped, getting back to striking. Diakiese looked to land leg kicks early while Johnson was looking to utilize his patented boxing from southpaw. The orthodox Diakiese stayed kick oriented and began to target the body as well, even using a spinning back kick at two points. With eighty seconds left in the first round Marc shot another takedown but Johnson defended it with ease. The striking was close although the kicks of Diakiese allowed him to attack and land from further out. At one point Diakiese fell to his back and Johnson jumped on top. Diakiese tried to lock up a triangle choke but Johnson escaped and Diakiese scrambled to his feet. A close first round came to a close with no clear winner.
Another spinning kick from Marc Diakiese opened the second round and Johnson tried to counter with punches in combination, but few landed. Johnson and Diakiese at several points were laughing and talking to each other in the cage. Johnson generally controlled the center of the cage and stalked his foe while Diakiese circled, looking for his shots. A clean left hand from MJ landed with two minutes left in the round. In the final minute Johnson began to target the body and that allowed him to also land upstairs as he stunned Diakiese briefly in multiple instances. When the bell sang it was clear that Michael Johnson had won at least the second round, if not also the first.
Diakiese looked to sit down on his punches more in round three and he refused to back up early on. He clinched up and landed a big knee to the stomach at one point after Johnson threw a flurry to the body. Diakiese shot another takedown but he was having trouble setting them up as he got denied easily. He was telegraphing his shots and thus was unable to get deep on the hips of Johnson. Both guys traded and landed big hooks in the center of the cage halfway through the extremely close round. Diakiese then shot another takedown but did not even get ahold of Johnson’s legs at all.
Diakiese seemed to have forgotten about his kicking attacks and was just trading punches with the boxing specialist in Johnson. A flying knee from Marc put him off balance and allowed him to be stumbled, though not necessarily hurt, by a combination of Johnson with a minute left. A nice, sharp jab from Johnson snapped Diakiese’s head back late in the round before the Brit threw a rolling thunder attack put him on his back. He threw another wild kick which allowed MJ to grab a rear body lock, hoist, and throw Diakiese to the mat right as the bell rang.
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) December 4, 2022
When Bruce Buffer read the scorecards, it was Michael Johnson who got the nod, winning a close fight after being unhappy with the judges’ decision in his last fight, against Jamie Mullarkey.
Official Result: Michael Johnson def. Marc Diakiese by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)