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Johnson, Cirkunov Shine On The UFC Moncton Main Card

 JOHNSON vs LOBOV

Late notice was no issue for Michael Johnson, who stepped in for Saturday’s UFC Moncton co-main event on less than two weeks’ notice and won a three-round unanimous decision over Artem Lobov to pick up his second win at 145 pounds.

Scores were 29-28 twice and 30-27 for Johnson, who replaced Zubaira Tukhugov.

Johnson entered the fight as the favorite, but the first round was a close one, with both fighters having their moments but not unleashing their full arsenals. Johnson began pulling away in the second, as his speed and movement allowed him to tag Lobov and get out of range before the Russian battler could score. Yet as Johnson slowed, the bloodied Lobov began to close the scoring gap again, with the steady pressure of “The Russian Hammer” paying off as he walked through the shots of Johnson, who was now bleeding from a cut over his left eye.

Johnson was able to muster up five more minutes of cardio for the short-notice assignment, though, and he pulled away in the third round, capping off his win with a late takedown just before the bout went to the scorecards.

With the win, Johnson, who came in at 147 pounds for the bout, improves to 20-13. Lobov falls to 14-15-1 with 1 NC.

CIRKUNOV vs CUMMINS

Light heavyweight contender Misha Cirkunov was on point from start to finish against Patrick Cummins, as he submitted his opponent in the first round.

A wild miss from Cummins was met by a hard counter from Cirkunov, leading Cummins to seek a takedown. Midway through the round, the did go to the mat, but it was Cirkunov doing the job, and as soon as they hit the deck, Cirkunov got into the mount and then transitioned into the arm triangle choke that forced a tap out at 2:40 of round one.

With the win, the No. 11-ranked Cirkunov improves to 14-4. The No. 14-ranked Cummins falls to 10-6.

SOUKHAMTHATH vs MARTINEZ

Bantamweight veteran Andre Soukhamthath earned his second UFC victory, defeating late replacement Jonathan Martinez via unanimous decision.

30-26 and 29-28 twice for Rhode Island’s Soukhamthath, now 13-6. Texas’ Martinez, who replaced the injured Gavin Tucker, falls to 9-2.

Soukhamthath got his offense in gear in the second minute of round one, drilling and dropping Martinez with a right hand. Martinez recovered quickly and was able to slow things down in the clinch. After a brief break following a low shot from Soukhamthath, “The Asian Sensation” went back to work, walking through Martinez’ punches as he scored another knockdown just before the end of the frame.

Soukhamthath continued to pour it on in the second round, but Martinez found some daylight when he took his opponent down with three minutes left and landed some hard elbows while on the mat. The fighters stood up in the final minute, but there was little significant scoring.

In the third, Martinez hung tough, but Soukhamthath’s offensive output ruled the day, putting the New England native back in the win column.

VILLANTE vs HERMAN

Long Island light heavyweight Gian Villante went to his fourth straight split decision against Ed Herman, and he evened up his tally in those close efforts, taking the decision from the Portland veteran.

Scores were 29-28 twice and 28-29 for Villante, now 17-10. Herman falls to 24-14 with 1 NC.

There was no secret to either fighter’s game plan in the opening round, as they both settled in and looked to land a fight-ending bomb. Villante looked to be close to a finish with under two minutes left when he briefly rocked Herman, but “Short Fuse” cleared his head and came back swinging.

Herman kept his volume high in the second stanza, bloodying Villante in the process. But as the round progressed, Villante’s power shots began landing with more frequency, setting the stage for a pivotal third round.

The third followed the same pattern as the previous two, with each fighter getting in his shots, making it a rough call for the judges when it was all said and done.

McGEE vs GARCIA

Former Ultimate Fighter winner Court McGee broke back into the win column in the main card opener, snapping a two-fight losing streak with a three-round unanimous decision over Alex Garcia.

Midway through the opening round of the welterweight matchup, Garcia was able to get McGee’s back, but “The Crusher” got free before any damage could be done. The rest of the frame was nip and tuck, but a takedown by McGee just before the horn was an important one.

Early in round two, a jab by McGee knocked Garcia off balance and “The Dominican Nightmare” fell to the canvas. McGee followed him there and fired off several strikes. After a stalemate on the mat, referee Jerin Valel restarted the action with 90 seconds left, but McGee put Garcia back on the deck in the closing seconds.

The two would trade moments of control on the canvas in the final round, but McGee took over in the final two minutes, securing his victory via scores of 29-28 twice and 30-28.

McGee moves to 20-7 with the win. Garcia falls to 15-6.

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