Photo by Tracy Lee for Yahoo! Sports
Anthony Johnson utterly dominated Dan Hardy to take a unanimous 30-27 decision at UFC Fight Night 24.
The card, taking place in Seattle, is headlined by Phil Davis vs Antonio Rogerio Nogeira.
Johnson looked like a fighter from a larger weight division as he used his explosive wrestling to put Hardy down early and often. He also battered Hardy standing in the few moments he allowed the fight to stay on the feet.
Johnson towered over Dan Hardy and dropped him with a left high kick early. Then Johnson used his wrestling to put Hardy down and keep him down. From top position Johnson battered away with punches and elbows. Hardy defended himself ably on the ground and threatened with a triangle and then a kimura from half guard. Hardy did well to survive the first round.
Johnson took center cage early and backed Hardy nearly into the cage before shooting for a take down that put Hardy on his back. Johnson fought from inside Hardy's guard. Hardy again attacked Johnson's left arm with a kimura. Johnson powered free only for Hardy to grab the wrist again. Johnson passed to half guard. Hardy got full guard again but Johnson was able to rise up and drop down hard left hands and elbows. Hardy hooked Johnson's left leg and tried for a sweep. He got nowhere but the ref gave him a restart with 30 seconds left. Johnson immediately shot for a single leg that dropped Hardy after 20 seconds of tussling on the feet. The buzzer rang with Hardy in Johnson's guard.
Hardy went for the take down to open the third round but lost the fight for the take down. Once again he was on his back. Johnson punched from Hardy's guard. Hardy went for another kimura but had nothing. Johnson took Hardy's back Hardy stood up. Johnson landed knees to the thigh then released and landed a high kick. Hardy countered with one punch before Johnson shot again and tackled Hardy like a middle linebacker taking down a running back. Johnson took Hardy's back then applied a figure four body triangle with his legs. Johnson then got an arm triangle and gave up mount to go for the submission but Hardy fought free. Johnson then went for a neck crank but Hardy was too tough to tap. Johnson ended the fight with a school yard side mount headlock on Hardy and was landing hard lefts to Hardy's head.
Brit Dan Hardy came in after two straight losses. The first in a title fight against Georges St Pierre where Hardy's most notable accomplishment was surviving some mean submission attempts from the champ. Then he lost by KO to Carlos Condit in a dramatic dueling left hook battle that Condit won.
Johnson hadn't fought since a loss to Josh Koscheck in November 2009.
SBN coverage of UFC Fight Night 24: Phil Davis vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira