Published Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010 | 3:18 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010 | 9:18 p.m.
Jonathan Brookins became the twelfth winner of "The Ultimate Fighter" reality series Saturday, defeating Michael Johnson by unanimous decision inside The Pearl at The Palms.
It was a gutsy performance from Brookins (12-3), who appeared in trouble during numerous exchanges in the first round.
Johnson (8-5) dropped him midway through the first round and nearly finished the fight with Brookins on his back and trapped against the cage.
After somehow surviving the rest of the round, Brookins went back to his corner and found what he needed to change momentum in his favor.
“I was thinking, ‘I can’t let my family down,’” Brookins said. “They’re all right there in the front row.”
Brookins bounced back and dominated much of the fight from then on.
After securing an early takedown in the second round, Brookins worked his ground game and controlled Johnson the rest of the way.
Johnson was able to catch him again in the third round with a right uppercut, but Brookins showed a good chin and found a way to get the fight back to the mat.
It was smooth sailing from there. Brookins finished on top according to all three judges for the unanimous decision.
Following the win, the popular Brookins admitted he has a lot to learn but is thankful for the chance to develop his skills under the spotlight.
“My game still has got a lot to improve,” Brookins said. “I want to invite everything to come along on the ride with me.”
Jonathan Brookins (12-3) vs. Michael Johnson (8-5)
Round One: Johnson strikes first, catching Brookins with a two-punch combination. Brookins shoots for a single leg and Johnson throws him off. Brookins wants the single leg again, Johnson keeps his balance and backs up to the fence. Brookins staying with it, latching onto Johnson’s right leg. Johnson using the fence to help him stay up and now he breaks away. Two more straight punches land for Johnson. Brookins standing right in front of Johnson, not a lot of lateral movement. Johnson catches him with a right hook and Brookins goes down. Johnson looking to finish, Brookins frantically works back to his feet and they break again. Straight left lands for Johnson and now a knee. Johnson shows his strength and throws him to the ground, Brookins able to work back up and they break gain. Big right uppercut lands for Johnson. He’s doing whatever he wants. Brookins clinches and Johnson pushes his back to the fence. Bookins catches a leg kick and tries to work it into a takedown but Johnson throws him off.
Round Two: Johnson lands another straight left right off the bat, but this time Brookins ducks in and gets a takedown. Brookins in Johnson’s half-guard and he lands a nice right hand. Brookins really looking to swing momentum his way here. Elbow lands for Brookins. Two more elbows from Brookins. Brookins now in side control and he traps Johnson’s left arm with his right knee. Johnson wide open for elbows here and Brookins lands a series of good ones. Johnson gets him into his guard again and is able to work back to his feet. Brookins wants to stay close and he hangs on to Johnson’s right leg. Johnson trying to rip that leg free and Brookins lifts him and dumps him down with a slam.
Round Three: Johnson lands a big right uppercut to start the round, Brookins answers with a single leg takedown attempt. Johnson backs up to the fence to keep his balance but Brookins continues to work and drags him to his butt. Brookins gets into a mount with Johnson still seated against the fence. Johnson slips underneath him though and now they break with half the round still to go. They clinch up and Brookins hip tosses Johnson to the mat. Johnson on his back and he looks exhausted. Brookins throwing elbows and punches from the top. Brookins finishes in a dominant position, with Johnson covering up for the last two minutes of the fight. Brookins wins via unanimous decision.
Stephan Bonnar (16-7) vs. Igor Pokrajac (22-8)
Round One: Bonnar runs out to the center of the octagon and Pokrajac makes him eat a hard jab. Bonnar clinches and puts him against the fence and now throws him down by the right leg. Bonnar immediately into side control. Pokrajac works back to his feet pretty quickly though and it’s back to a clinch against the fence briefly before the break. Nice straight right lands for Pokrajac and Bonnar clinches again. Pokrajac leaves his neck out and Bonnar throws on a guillotine. Pokrajac trying to roll forward out of it and now he’s able to break it. Bonnar winds up in Pokrajac’s half-guard and he looks to ground and pound. Pokrajac tries to scramble out but Bonnar moves to side control where he lands a few hard elbows to the body. Pokrajac rolls over into a crouched position where he takes some more damage to the side of the head and body from Bonnar.
Round Two: Pokrajac lets his hands go early and has a few punches graze off the side of Bonnar’s chin. Bonnar wants to clinch again and he puts Pokrajac’s back to the cage. Bonnar gets his hands around Pokrajac’s neck and delivers a few knees to the body before getting low and looking for the takedown. Pokrajac defends and they stay in the clinch. Bonnar gets his underhooks and trips Pokrajac to the mat. Bonnar in side control, looking to land elbows. Pokrajac manages to get to his feet and away from Bonnar. He comes back at him aggressively with punches and Bonnar sneaks a glimpse at the clock. Bonnar circles Pokrajac back against the fence and lands a nice elbow out of the clinch. They break and Pokrajac comes forward aggressively again and lands a few unanswered hooks. Bonnar a little shaky but he clinches up again and finishes the round with a few shots of his own.
Round Three: Spinning backkick opens the round for Bonnar. It doesn’t land clean but it backs Pokrajac up and Bonnar grabs a single leg and wrestles him to his back. Bonnar stands over him and looks for opportunities to land punches. Pokrajac catches him with an upkick but Bonnar moves through it and now passes into side control. Pokrajac rolls back into that crouched position with two minutes left. Bonnar tries to take his back and Pokrajac surprises him by sweeping and getting on top. It doesn’t last long though, as Bonnar rolls and ends up back on top. Pokrajac is latched onto his left arm but Bonnar’s right arm is free to throw punches so he does. Bonnar works into a crucifix at the very end of the round and Steve Mazzagatti is going to step in and stop the action to deduct a point from Bonnar for blows to the back of the head. The round ends just seconds after Mazagatti steps in. Bonnar wins via unanimous decision.
Kendall Grove (14-8) vs. Demian Maia (14-2)
Round One: Maia sticking the jab out, trying to find range against the lengthy Grove. Grove comes forward with a combination. Maia looking for the single leg takedown and he’s go tit. Grove on his back but he’s keeping Maia at a distance, shoving him off with his legs. Grove now back to his feet with Maia latched on to his waist. Now Maia tries to jump up and take his back but Grove works him down. Maia hangs on and gets another single leg takedown. Maia quickly passes guard and is in full mount. Grove gives up his back and then rolls over to try and throw Maia off. Maia is persistent though and works right back into mount. Few hard punches land for Maia and Grove gives up his back again. Grove survives the round.
Round Two: Maia showing a lot of patience here, no doubt looking for a chance to get this back to the ground. He shoots for the single leg and Grove backs him off with a well-timed kick. He shoots again and this time Grove falls to his back. Grove curling up into Maia’s midsection and Maia delivering shot after shot to his body. Grove rolls into a leglock attempt that forces Maia to scramble but Maia comes right back and clinches Grove up against the fence. Two minutes to go and Maia trips Grove back to the mat. Grove creates some space with his legs and throws a dangerous upkick at Maia’s chin. Maia dodges it though and transitions to Grove’s back.
Round Three: Grove came out of his corner jumping around and slapping his face. He needs to get something going here in the third. Maia avoids a straight punch and counters as he circles away. Grove fits in a straight right and his corner urges him to keep moving forward. Maia with a big left hook, and another. Maia shoots on a single leg, Grove keeps him away but doesn’t throw. Maai trying again for the single leg, Grove hopping around on one leg, he stays on his feet. Maia stays on that single leg and keeps Grove shoved up against the cage the rest of the fight. Maia wins via unanimous decision.
Johny Hendricks (9-1) vs. Rick Story (12-3)
Round One: Fighters touch gloves to start things off. Hendricks clinches Story up and walks him to the fence. Story lets his hands go and backs Hendricks off. Another flurry from Story as he attacks the body of Hendricks. Story really letting his hands go now as he’s got Hendricks back on the fence. They break and Story lands a hard inside leg kick at the center of the octagon. Hendricks catches a leg kick and looks for the takedown, Story stays on his feet. Another flurry by Story but seems like Hendricks dodged most of it. Hendricks catches another leg kick and this time he dumps Story on his back.
Round Two: Nice straight punch set up by a series of feints from Hendricks. Story goes on the attack, Hendricks covers up and then looks for a guillotine off a takedown attempt by Story. He has it for a second but Story breaks free. Hendricks works back to his feet but Story stays tight on him. Hendricks’s corner yelling that Story is gassed. Hendricks has him in the clinch with Story’s back against the fence. They break apart with two minutes to go in the round. Story throws the lead hook then shoots a beautiful takedown to put Hendricks on his back with a minute to go. Hendricks a good wrestler, he works back up pretty easy, but he hasn’t been able to generate any offense of his own.
Round Three: Hendricks fakes the overhand left and shoots for the takedown immediately. Story defends it at first but Hendricks gets him to his but and now looks for a guillotine. Story stays out of it though and then goes for a side choke of his own. Hendricks out of it and wrestling to get a better position. Story looking for a kimura from a standing position with Hendrick’s head buried in his stomach. Seems they’ve reached a stalemate here, as Hendricks can’t pull story away from the fence with Story locking up his right arm in that sub attempt. Story finally releases the hold and Hendricks scrambles for a guillotine. Can’t get it and they’re stuck again in a stalemate position against the fence. One minute left. Hendricks just attached to that single leg now but he can’t manage to get Story to the ground. Story wins via unanimous decision.
Nam Phan (16-9) vs. Leonard Garcia (19-6-1)
Round One: Phan with an early flurry, Garcia weathers it and fires back. Garcia lands a nice kick to Phan’s body. Two straight punches land for Phan. Garcia takes them well, he can take a punch. Garcia strings together three punches, catching Phan with the last one. Spinning backfist from Garcia, that’s blocked. Body shot lands for Phan, Garcia comes back with a straight right. Phan slips a punch and lands a counter uppercut, then a head kick. Now another head kick and Garcia shakes his head like he doesn’t feel it. Wild overhand right from Garcia blocked by Phan.
Round Two: Garcia with an early two-punch combination. He tries a flying knee but it’s blocked by Phan. Garcia pouring it on here at the start. Phan is game though, he’s avoiding shots and looking to counter. Garcia surprises Phan with a takedown. Phan goes to his back for a moment but he scoots back towards the fence and works back to his feet quickly. Now a straight right lands for Phan and Garcia is hurt. Phan coming forward aggressively, he puts Garcia down with a body kick. Garcia on his back covering up. Phan standing over him looking to finish. Garcia turns over and gives up his back. Phan takes it and starts looking for the choke. Garcia spends the final minute of the fight avoiding the rear-naked and somehow survives to the third round.
Round Three: Garcia throwing a lot of punches early. Phan keeping his hands up and weathering the storm. Garcia with another surprising takedown shot. Phan goes down for a second but then gets back to his feet. Two punch combination lands for Phan before he backs out of range to avoid a wild hook from Garcia. Garcia shoots, Phan sprawls and throws a few punches to the side of Garcia’s head. Garcia leaves his hands down and Phan fits in two unanswered jabs right to his chin. More looping hooks from Garcia, Phan ducks under them and connects on shorter, straight punches. Garcia with a nice left uppercut. Phan now with a left uppercut and Garcia shrugs it off. Garcia wins via split decision.
Cody McKenzie (12-0) vs. Aaron Wilkinson (6-4)
Round One: McKenzie comes out on a sprint and goes straight for the takedown. Wilkinson throws on a guillotine but has to give it up and now McKenzie looks to throw on his notorious version of the hold. Wilkinson pops out of it and gets to his feet. McKenzie jumps up, wraps his legs around him and throws on the hold again. Wilkinson defending it and he ends up on top of McKenzie near the fence. McKenzie really looking for that guillotine hold from every position he’s in. It looks like he’s got it in now finally. Wilkinson fighting it with everything he’s got but now he has to tap. McKenzie wins via submission at 2:03 of first round.
Tyler Toner (11-3) vs. Ian Loveland (14-7)
Round One: Loveland opens up with a huge right uppercut, right hook combination. It drops Toner and Loveland on him immediately looking to finish. Toner covering up best he can and he’s buying himself time and recovering but still in a bad position here with his head up against the fence and Loveland over him. Half the round to go and Toner in the same position against the fence but doing a nice job of avoiding damage. Toner mixing in an occasional armbar attempt but he han’st come close to locking anything in yet. Loveland staying busy in a standing position over him, but not doing a ton of damage.
Round Two: Loveland throws that right uppercut again but this time Toner deflects it. Aggressive right hook, uppercut combination from Loveland puts Toner on the retreat. Leg kick lands for Toner. The right uppercut lands again for Loveland as Toner comes forward with the left. Spinning backfist lands for Loveland and Toner wobbles and falls near the cage. Loveland swarms but Toner regains composure and actually catches Loveland in an armbar. Dangerous spot but Loveland slips out and looks to work his ground and pound again out of Toner’s guard.
Round Three: Body kick for Toner and he looks to build off it but Loveland comes firing back with a two-punch combination. Left hook lands flush for Loveland. Loveland’s pace has slowed from the first two rounds. He’s circling more and letting Toner come to him. Loveland tries the spinning backfist again but can’t connect this time. Loveland wins via unanimous decision.
Sako Chivitchian (5-1) vs. Kyle Watson (16-7-1)
Round One: Chivitchian closes the distance and ties up with Watson against the cage. They stay there for awhile, trading a few knees, before breaking with three minutes to go. They tie up again before Watson finally gets the first takedown of the fight. Chivitchian bounces right back to his feet though and they’re back where they started against the fence. Chivitchian creates some space and catches Watson with so hard hooks. Nice body kick lands for Watson and then he shoots in for the takedown. Chivitchian stays on his feet and tags Watson with another one of those hooks as they break.
Round Two: Chivitchian looking to dictate the pace on his feet again but Watson answers this time with a few good counters. Inside leg kick lands for Watson. Chivitchian lands the lead hook and there’s blood coming from the nose of Watson. Watson looks for a single leg but there’s not much behind it and Chivitchian throws him off.
Round Three: Chivitchian catches Watson early with a combination. Beatutiful head kick lands for Watson. Chivitchian leans in with a jab, Watson ducks under and looks for the takedown but somehow Chivitchian stays on his feet. With three minutes left, Watson finally takes him down but Chivitchian pops right back up. Outside leg kick for Watson. Another head kick lands for Watson. Watson ties up in the clinch and looks for the trip but Chivitchian stays on his feet again. One minute left. Crowd urging both guys on as the fight has been pretty close. Chivitchian lands a straight left near the end of the round. Watson wins via unanimous decision.
Will Campuzano (8-3) vs. Nick Pace (6-1)
Round One: Pace throwing a lot of kicks early at all levels. Campuzano slips a punch and lands a decent counter left but Pace weathers it and shoots in for a takedown. Pace gets him on his back and tries to pass guard but Campuzano prevents it, squirms to the fence and looks to get back to his feet. Campuzano gets back to his feet briefly but Pace wrestles him right back down. Pace really outwrestling Campuzano here and now looking to take his back. Campuzano turns inside and keeps him in front but still finishes the round on the ground.
Round Two: Leg kick lands for Pace but Campuzano pushes through it and lands a few straight punches. Campuzano lands the jab. Campuzano catches a body kick and looks to capitalize with his counters. Pace rips the leg free and they wind up in a clinch on the fence. Pace gets Campuzano to the ground with half the round to go. Last ten seconds of the round, Campuzano works to his feet and actually works a takedown of his own to finish on top.
Round Three: Campuzano comes forward aggressively off the bat. Throwing the lead hook and stringing together punches. Pace doesn’t like this and he shoots in with a strong takedown and puts Campuzano on his back with four minutes to go. Campuzano with a quick sweep though and now he’s the one on top. Campuzano lands a hard right from on top, followed by another. Now two elbows land for Campuzano. Pace kicks Campuzano off now for a moment, but Campuzano jumps right back into his guard and lands a straight punch in the process. Again Pace kicks him off into a standing position, again Campuzano crashes down with another left hand. Pace kicks him off again and this time catches him in some kind of modified triangle choke when he comes back down. Campuzano in a bad spot here with a minute left as he tries to fight the submission. And with 30 seconds left, Campuzano forced to tap. Pace wins via submission at 4:33 of third round.
Fredson Paixao (10-4) vs. Pablo Garza (11-1)
Round One: Garza just towers over Paixao in the cage, probably six inches taller. Paixao shoots in and Garza sticks out those arms, keeps him from even touching his waist and then tags him with a straight right. Paixao in for the takedown again, Garza throws the flying knee and that’s a bad result for Paixao. Instant knockout. Garza wins via knockout at 0:51 of first round.
Rich Attonito (9-4) vs. Dave Branch (8-1)
Round One: Branch goes for an early takedown, Attonito backs up to the fence. They break and it’s back to the center of the cage. Branch again with a takedwn shot, Attonito defends easily. Nice right hand lands for Attonito. He comes forward aggressively but Branch intelligently ducks under and gets the takedown he’s been wanting. Branch in Attonito’s half-guard where he lands a few good elbows. Branch lands a few strong punches, Attonito works to his feet but Branch wrestles him right back down and gets the full mount. Attonito gives up his back but slips out from underneath and gets back to his feet with 30 seconds left.
Round Two: Attonito fits in a left hook early. He’s been the better fighter standing so far. Branch ties him up in a clinch. Both guys cancelling each other out here for the most part. Branch able to pull Attonito to the ground for a moment but Attonito gets up immediately. Branch really working to get the fight to the ground. Attonito looks for a kimura attempt still standing but from this angle, there’s no way, and it results in a takedown for Branch. For the second time in the fight, Branch works to the mount but Attonito bucks him off quickly. Attonito finishes the round getting back to his feet.
Round Three: Branch scrambles to Attonito’s back in the first minute of the fight. Attonito tries to stay on his feet but Branch gets his arms around his waist and wrestles him to the ground. Good elbows land for Branch out of Attonito’s guard. Attonito trying to push up and get back on his feet but Branch transitions to his back and locks in the hooks. Attonito is successful in slipping out from under Branch again with just 20 seconds left. Branch ties him up again in a clinch until the end of the fight. Branch wins via unanimous decision.