STOCKHOLM – Reza Madadi had his back against the wall, literally.
And when he took his hand off the floor, he had his back on the canvas. Madadi (13-3 MMA, 2-1 UFC) ate a massive Michael Johnson kick to the head late in the first round of their fight at UFC on FUEL TV 9. Madadi should have been out.
That he survived the round was kind of a big deal. That he went on to win the fight against Johnson (12-8 MMA, 4-4 UFC) with a third-round submission and take home a $60,000 bonus? That was just the kind of big deal the Swede was looking for.
Madadi got back in the win column after an October split-decision loss to Cristiano Marcello in Marcello’s native Brazil. It was a loss that didn’t sit well with Madadi, but picking up a comeback submission with his third-round arm-triangle choke was just what the doctor ordered.
“UFC 153 in Brazil is just the past for me,” Madadi said at the post-event news conference at Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm. “(Now I have to) just keep going and go out and train harder. I did my job tonight. What can I say? I’m just happy.”
Madadi nearly was a 3-to-1 underdog in the fight against Johnson, who now has lost two straight fights after a three-fight win streak in 2012.
Along with picking up the $60,000 “Submission of the Night” award for his first bonus win in the UFC, Madadi got something that ultimately may be worth more than the 60-large. He got his boss’s attention.
“He looked amazing tonight, too,” UFC President Dana White said. “Seriously – Michael Johnson is a tough, amazing athlete. He looked like one of those things that you buy and you punch it would fall down and go back (to standing). When he got hit with that kick, he went this way and this way, and comes back after that round and ends up winning ‘Submission of the Night.’ Tough guy and a great fight.”
Madadi said the first-round head kick from Johnson was indeed on the button – so much so that he doesn’t really remember it.
But he said for his next test, he’ll take whatever the UFC and matchmaker Joe Silva wants to give him.
“I don’t remember that head kick,” he said. “(But) whatever Mr. Joe Silva offers me, I’m ready to fight.”
And until then, there’s the little matter of $60,000 suddenly burning a hole in his pocket.
“I ordered my Ferrari in Germany,” Madadi joked. “I’m going to bring it next week. I’m going to put ‘Dana White’ on it.”
For more on UFC on FUEL TV 9, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.