In his first fight since being cut from the UFC roster for repeatedly missing weight, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson won a three-round unanimous decision against David Branch in the main event at Titan Fighting Championships 22 live on HDNet on Friday night.
The fight wasn’t without its weigh-in dramas. Reports began to surface early Thursday that Johnson missed the weight cut-off for his fight with Branch.
The fight was originally billed as a middleweight main event, but then it was agreed to change it to a 195-pound catchweight affair after Johnson couldn’t lose the required weight.
Branch frustrated Johnson throughout the fight, but in the end, the judges scored it 30-27 for Johnson.
Branch circled in round one with Johnson following, but he was unable to cut off the cage. Neither fighter was able to make the most of the encounters on the inside. After a slow start to round two, Johnson landed the first takedown of the fight midway through the round and followed up with some ground and pound. Branch locked in a tight triangle choke in the final seconds, but ran out of time to secure the submission.
With many seeing the fight locked at one round apiece heading into the final frame, Johnson came out aggressive and was able to land with his leg strikes. Branch, who was happy to fight on the inside in a clinch, was again taken down. After Johnson was ineffective on the mat, the referee stood the fighters back up for the final minute, but neither fighter was able to excite the crowd and Johnson held on for the victory.
“It was frustrating, but you find people like that in training, too,” Johnson said. “This is a fight, it’s what we get paid for. I wasn’t too excited with the circling around.”
HDNet commentator Michael Schiavello confirmed that Johnson’s next fight will be at 205 pounds.
“Overall, I was in good shape,” Johnson said. ” I was 10 pounds away (from making 185), but my body shut down.”
Johnson, who now improves his record to 11-4, had no hesitation in saying that he will be able to match up with the guys at light heavyweight, who cut down from 230 pounds.
Titan Fighting Championships 22 Full Results:
-Anthony Johnson def David Branch via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
-L.C. Davis def Bill Kamery via TKO (Punches) at 2:59, R2
-Andrew Whitney def Jose Vega via KO (Punches) at 2:55, R1
-Fabio Mello def Angelo Duarte via Submission (Arm Triangle) at 4:34, R1
-Rudy Bears def Nick Nolte via Submission (Punches) at 3:57, R1
-Mirsad Bektic def Willie Mack via TKO (Punches) at 0:27, R2
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