Johnson tops Gustafsson with dominant 1st-round KO

Published on Monday, 1/26/15, at 1:03 a.m. Eastern.

In the biggest fight of his career, Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson delivered the greatest performance of his career with a first-round knockout of Alexander ‘The Mauler’ Gustafsson in the main event at UFC on Fox 14 in Stockholm, Sweden.

Johnson hooked up his betting supporters as an underdog in the +230 range. The ‘under’ (2.5 rounds) was a winner for a +125 return (risk $100 to win $125).

With the win, Johnson earned the next shot at Jon Jones’s light heavyweight title. He clipped Gustafsson early with a right hand to the ear hole, staggering the Swede who lost a controversial decision to Jones in 2013. Gustafsson never fully recovered, as Johnson swarmed him.

‘Rumble’ sent Gustafsson to the canvas with a head kick and the fight could’ve been stopped in the next few seconds. Instead, referee Marc Goddard gave ‘The Mauler’ too much time to recover. Johnson landed a violent series of strikes before Goddard belatedly intervened at the 2:15 mark. Fortunately, Gustafsson appeared to be ok physically, though he openly wept in the Octagon and was clearly devastated by the defeat.

“I got caught today,” Gustafsson told Joe Rogan. “That’s what happened.”

Johnson collected his 10th career UFC win and his seventh by first-round KO. He hasn’t tasted defeat since losing to Vitor Belfort at UFC 142.

BetOnline opened Jones as a -400 favorite with Johnson made a +330 underdog. The number has moved to -350, while Johnson is +285 on the comeback.

In the co-main event, Gegard Mousasi beat Dan Henderson by first-round KO as an enormous favorite in the -500 range. The loss made ‘Hendo’ 1-5 in his last six fights, though the 44-year-old didn’t sound like he was going to retire anytime soon. Henderson felt like the fight was stopped too early and replays seemed to indicate that he had a point.

In a crucial light-heavyweight showdown, Ryan Bader won a split decision over Phil Davis as a +160 underdog. The victory was Bader’s fourth in a row, while Davis lost for the second time in his last three fights. The ‘over’ was a winner at a ‘chalky’ -275 price.

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