Demetrious Johnson breaks record with 11th title defense
FILE - In this Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 file photo, Demetrious Johnson reacts after defeating Tim Elliott during a mixed martial arts flyweight bout in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Demetrious Johnson successfully defended his flyweight title for a record-breaking 11th time, stopping Ray Borg by armor submission at 3:15 of fifth round Saturday night at UFC 216.
The card was the first major sporting event in Las Vegas since the mass shooting that killed 58 people this week. A moment of silence kicked off the pay-per-view portion of the event, then a handful of survivors and first responders were brought into the octagon and recognized as Everlast performed "America the Beautiful". The UFC has pledged to donate $1 million to help victims and their families.
The 31-year-old Johnson (27-2-1) broke the defense record he shared with longtime middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
"Shout out to Las Vegas," Johnson said. "Thank you so much to all the first responders."
Borg dropped to 11-3.
"Ray Borg was running his mouth," Johnson said. "I got the suplex and the armor, I knew I got it."
Also, Tony Ferguson defeated Kevin Lee to win the UFC's interim lightweight title. Ferguson survived a slam and another takedown, secured a triangle choke, and forced Lee to tap out at 4:02 of the third round.
"Whewwww!" Ferguson shouted after the fight. "Feels good. This is exactly the way I wanted it to be."
Ferguson improved to 23-3, and Lee dropped to 16-3.
Johnson landed a heavy body kick in the first round and was able to gain top control, working from half-guard for most of the round while neutralizing any offense from Borg.
In the second round, Borg was able to press forward and secure a short takedown before briefly taking Johnson's back. Johnson offered a quick reversal and was once again on top of Borg in dominant position.
The third round found Borg looking to secure another single-leg takedown early, only to be reversed once again with Johnson on top. Johnson's ever-active smothering grappling rendered Borg ineffective for most of the first three rounds.
Most of Borg's energy was spent simply trying to escape his disadvantaged position, while fighting off submission attempts. Johnson was able to mount Borg shortly toward the end of a dominating round.
Borg pressed early in the fourth and took Johnson down with an impressive takedown. Johnson, true to form, wasted little time in scrambling back to top position and controlled from there for much of the remainder of the round. The final round was much of the same, with Johnson securing multiple takedowns while keeping Borg on the defense. Late in the round, Johnson secured Borg's back, executed a slam and transitioned to an armbar. Johnson locked in the submission and forced Borg to tap.
Lee was able to takedown and mount Ferguson in a dominant first round.
The two stood toe-to-toe for much of the second round, with neither fighter gaining a distinct advantage. Lee looked to be in control in the third round with a slam and top control. Ferguson, however, was able to stay focused from bottom position, working potential submissions until he was able to secure a triangle around Lee's neck.
"I knew I had to weather the storm and he was going to waste his energy," Ferguson said. "Then I knew I'd get the submission."
Ferguson has won 10 straight fights. He called out lightweight champion Connor McGregor in an expletive laden post-fight rant.
Lee was humble in defeat.
"I have nothing but respect for this man, I'll be back," he said.