UFC 215's Kajan Johnson says UFC debuting new program to benefit fighters in October


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EDMONTON – UFC lightweight Kajan Johnson didn’t fear for his job stepping into the octagon against Adriano Martins.

Despite his very public confrontation with the UFC and Reebok, he didn’t think he was skating on thin ice.

“I was coming off two wins, so if I lost, I doubt I would have gotten cut,” Johnson (22-12-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) said backstage after stopping Martins (28-9 MMA, 4-3 UFC) in the UFC Fight Pass opener of UFC 215 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. “If I lost two in a row, I probably would have gotten cut – say I just kept picking and poking at this guy, and I never got the knockout and it went to decision and I lost, and then I had another fight and it was a similar situation.”

Johnson did, in fact, pick and poke at Martins, leading many in the arena to boo the fight. But then, he turned things around in a big way, stopping Martins with a punch behind a front kick in the third round.

“I think it’s my years of skateboarding, to tell you the truth, because of the way you kick in skateboarding,” Johnson explained of his finishing move.

All levity aside, it couldn’t have been a better return for the 33-year-old Johnson, who spent two years on the bench dealing with injuries. His confrontation, which spurred a private meeting with UFC and Reebok officials, came while he was on the disabled list.

It’s well known that many fighters who’ve spoken out about the promotion have found slimmer margins of competitive tolerance from their employer after going public. Johnson claimed before his fight the promotion was trying to put him in his place.

The good news, however, is that his protest appears to have motivated change. Johnson said the UFC is planning to roll out a new program in October that will “have some positive effect on our abilities to make revenue.” He said it’s not related to Reebok but will, in the end, improve fighters’ bottom lines. He also said the promotion will be “more one-on-one” with athletes and conduct more fighter retreats so they can voice concerns and brainstorm solutions.

Ultimately, Johnson said the best course of action will be when fighters organize. A member of Mixed Martial Arts Fighters Association (MMAFA), he supports the bill currently in Congress to add MMA to the Ali Act, which affords protections to boxers against onerous contracts. He said there are now 36 co-sponsors to the action, which is more than the number that sponsored the original bill.

“We’re moving in the right direction,” he said.

It just so happens Johnson’s career is now moving in the right direction, too. And funny enough, he likes the new Reebok gear unveiled this past week.

“Super dope,” he said.

To hear more from Johnson, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC 215, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Video: 2 sleepy rounds, then a sudden finish for Kajan Johnson in UFC 215's opener

If you missed the fight between Kajan Johnson and Adriano Martins to kick off today’s UFC 215 prelims, maybe do yourself a favor and skip to the third round on the replay.

That’s our polite way of saying that the first two rounds would serve as an effective sleep aid, but it wasn’t from a lack of effort on Martins’ (28-9 MMA, 4-3 UFC) part. The Brazilian did the majority of the work in the first two frames, chasing after Johnson (22-12-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) as he did a quick tour of the octagon’s perimeter.

In the first 10 minutes of action, Johnson threw just 29 strikes, according to FightMetric. By comparison, Martins threw 30 just in the second round alone.

But as we were reminded in the third, it’s not always how many you throw, but what you do with them (via Twitter):

Johnson proved that in the opening minute of the final round, as he caught a Martins kick and landed a right hand that seemed to glance off Martins’ ear. At first it looked more like a miss than a hit, but then Martins hit the mat and froze there in a full system shutdown.

Even Johnson seemed a tad bit confused after he followed up with two right hands to prompt the knockout stoppage, at which point he moved toward the center of the cage for the first time all night, seeming to mouth the words: “What happened?”

The answer is that Johnson got his first win in almost exactly two years. And if you only pay attention to the highlights, it’s a pretty good one.

For more on UFC 215, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 215 results: Kajan Johnson's right hand stuns Adriano Martins

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Following nearly two years away from the cage, Kajan Johnson (22-12-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) didn’t exactly impress for two rounds but eventually scored a highlight-reel finish of Adriano Martins (28-9 MMA, 4-3 UFC).

The lightweight bout kicked off today’s UFC 215 early prelims, which took place at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and aired on UFC Fight Pass

Johnson moved well to start, shifting laterally on the outside as he looked to get comfortable in the cage. Meanwhile, Martins was patient in the center, looking to cut off the cage and set up a striking opportunity. Johnson stayed true to the plan as the first round unfolded, but the lack of engagement proved less than thrilling for the fans for most of the frame. Kicks proved the best weapon for both men for most of the round, until Martins scored a pair of big left hands, the second of which sent Johnson to the floor.

Martins refused to leave the center of the cage to start the second, attempting to slow Johnson’s constant movement. However, he eventually waded forward and looked to push the pace with strikes as Johnson continued his lateral shifting. Johnson did land the occasional kick from the outside, but there was never any threat of a real sustained attack. In the final minute of the frame, Martins did again return to the center and motion for his opponent to do the same, but Johnson simply smiled and returned to the outside, landing his best punch of the frame with a right hand in the closing seconds.

With little offense between the two heading into the third, neither man could feel confident in the judges’ tallies. Martins looked to push inside early, but Johnson countered with a right hand that landed over the ear, sending his opponent crashing to the canvas, out cold 49 seconds into the final round.

With the win, Johnson now owns a three-fight winning streak. Martins has dropped back-to-back fights for the firs time in his UFC run.

Up-to-the-minute UFC 215 results include:

  • Kajan Johnson def. Adriano Martins via knockout (punch) – Round 3, 0:49

For more on UFC 215, visit the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 215 in Canada adds Kajan Johnson vs. Adriano Martins

The quickly filling UFC 215 lineup has a recent lightweight addition.

Officials recently announced a fight between Kajan Johnson (21-12-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) and Adriano Martins (28-8 MMA, 4-2 UFC).

UFC 215 takes place Sept. 9 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass, though the bout order and full lineup haven’t been finalized.

Johnson, a semifinalist on “The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia” in 2014, fights for the first time since 2015, when the 33-year-old Canadian scored a decision victory over Naoyuki Kotani. He’s 2-0 since a UFC-debut loss to Tae Hyun Bang in 2014 that earned “Fight of the Night” honors.

He now meets Martins, a 35-year-old Brazilian who was riding a three-fight winning streak that included knockout wins – both of which earned “Performance of the Night” bonuses – over Juan Puig and Islam Makhachev. However, in his most recent bout, the former Jungle Fight champion and onetime Strikeforce fighter suffered a narrow split-decision defeat to Leonardo Santos.

The latest UFC 215 card includes:

  • Champ Demetrious Johnson vs. Ray Borg – for flyweight title
  • Champ Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko – for women’s bantamweight title
  • Junior Dos Santos vs. Francis Ngannou
  • Gilbert Melendez vs. Jeremy Stephens
  • Henry Cejudo vs. Wilson Reis
  • Ilir Latifi vs. Tyson Pedro
  • Sara McMann vs. Ketlen Vieira
  • Rick Glenn vs. Gavin Tucker
  • Ashlee Evans-Smith vs. Sarah Moras
  • Arjan Bhullar vs. Luis Henrique
  • Kajan Johnson vs. Adriano Martins

For more on UFC 215, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie