Bantamweights Chad Anheliger and Jose Johnson faced off at UFC Vegas 82 on Saturday — a fight that, given it’s close proximity to UFC 297 in just two month’s time, would probably keep Canada’s Anheliger from fighting at home in Toronto.
Instead, he had to content with a tall, long Johnson, who fired a head kick early and used his length well. When Johnson landed an early takedown it felt like Anheliger was in for a long night. But he was able to take control and by the midway mark of round one had Johnson pressed up against the fence.
Johnson reversed, only to be reversed again himself. The duo traded knees, but eventually broke and moved back to center, where Johnson again showed off his reach advantage. Bad news for Anheliger, he’d wind up taken to the mat and wailed on at the end of the round.
Between frames, Anheliger’s corner told him that he was way better than what he’d shown so far. In the second, he looked to show that, and battled it out in the clinch some more along the fence. Mid-frame, Anheliger put his opponent on the defensive, but it didn’t last. Later in the round, Anheliger grabbed a guillotine, but he didn’t have it, and wound up with Johnson on top. Johnson transitioned to the back inside of the final minute, looking to slip an arm under the neck. The submission wasn’t there, but Jose Johnson finished the round strong.
Chad Anheliger found himself on top in guard early in the third, with Johnson firing elbows off his back. Johnson was very active on bottom, looking to draw his leg up the back, perhaps thinking triangle. That didn’t work out, and Anheliger worked to pass, at least keeping the fight from being stood up. Anheliger slowly, steadily moved into side control, but Johnson almost immediately regained guard.
With time winding down, Jose Johnson looked to be in a good spot. Still, he opted to leave the judges out of the equation. Taking Anheliger’s back, hooks in, Johnson sunk in a rear-naked choke, flattening Chad Anheliger out and forcing the tap!
Official Result: Jose Johnson def. Chad Anheliger by submission (rear-naked choke), Round 3, 4:49