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Persistence pays off for Demetrious Johnson at UFC on FX 3

Mike Pyle, Eddie Wineland knock out challengers in South Florida

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Sam Morris

Demetrious Johnson yells after defeating Miguel Torres at UFC 130 Saturday, May 28, 2011 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Case Keefer appears on MMA Oddsbreaker show

Note: Scroll to the bottom for full results from the UFC on FX 3 preliminary card.

Not even his own wedding date could stop Demetrious Johnson from insisting on an immediate rematch with Ian McCall after the two fought to a majority draw in a flyweight title eliminator bout earlier this year.

Johnson wouldn’t accept a tempting offer from the UFC that would have given him time off and a guaranteed title shot after Joseph Benavidez and McCall fought for the inaugural flyweight belt. He was willing to fight three weeks after getting married.

The plan worked without a hitch Friday night at UFC on FX 3 in Sunrise, Fla. Johnson won a unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) over McCall at the BankAtlantic Center to set up a championship rumble with Benavidez later this year.

“I trained twice a day in Hawaii so it wasn’t much of a honeymoon,” Johnson said. “Thankfully, my wife was very supportive.”

Johnson clearly improved more than McCall since they fought in March. After McCall outwrestled him in Sydney, Australia, Johnson returned to his roots and scored as many takedowns as his opponent in the second fight.

With the fight even after 10 minutes, Johnson clinched the final round by mixing a takedown with elusive in-and-out strikes. The inability to track Johnson down for much of the fight frustrated the man previously considered the best 125-pound fighter in the world, as McCall tugged his arm away from the referee before the decision was announced.

“I’m really disappointed in myself,” McCall said.

Though no consolation, McCall put up the best losing effort of anyone on the UFC on FX 3 main card. The other three fights featured imposing finishes.

Local product Mike Pyle knocked Josh Neer out cold in a welterweight bout with a right hand to the jaw. Neer’s aggressiveness worked against him, as he marched into a perfectly timed right hand from Pyle with four seconds left in the first round.

“You know his style — he wants to come and be in your face so he got me with a couple good ones over there,” Pyle said. “I had enough.”

Pyle probably stuck around to watch one of the 170-pound division’s top prospects take to the octagon in the co-main event. Erick Silva made it worth his while.

Silva choked out Charlie Brenneman at 4:33 of the first round to notch the most significant win of his career so far.

In the final main card fight, Eddie Wineland and Scott Jorgensen engaged in a bloody bantamweight slugfest. That favored Wineland stylistically and he delivered with a knockout at 4:10 of the second round.

“I’m a corn-bred hillbilly from Indiana,” Wineland said. “That’s how we get down.”

Check below for full results from the UFC on FX 3 preliminary card.

Click to enlarge photo

Mike Pierce looks up while standing on the scale during the weigh in for UFC 143 Friday, Feb. 3, 2012 at Mandalay Bay.

A split decision went Mike Pierce’s way in the featured preliminary bout of the evening against Carlos Eduardo Rocha. Although Pierce dominated the welterweight contest and won 30-27 on two scorecards, one judge inexplicably gave every round to Rocha.

Welterweight Seth Baczynski scored a split-decision win (30-27, 29-28, 28-29) over Lance Benoist. “The Polish Pistola” has now won three in a row since returning to the UFC.

Matt Grice beat Leonard Garcia by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) in a featherweight bout. The upset marked Grice’s first UFC win in five years and Garcia’s fourth loss in his last five bouts.

Dustin Pague submitted Jared Papazian with a rear-naked choke in the first round of their bantamweight bout. The stoppage came at 3:21 of the round.

Tim Means knocked out Justin Salas at 1:06 of the first round in their lightweight bout. Means knocked down Salas several times before the referee mercifully jumped in.

Buddy Roberts cruised to a unanimous-decision victory over Caio Magalhaes in a light heavyweight contest. Roberts took a combined 14 out of 15 possible rounds on the three judges’ scorecards.

Henry Martinez defeated Bernardo Magalhaes by split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29) in a lightweight bout. The decision was erroneously announced as a unanimous-decision win for Martinez in the octagon.

Sean Pierson defeated Jake Hecht by unanimous decision in a welterweight bout. All three judges scored the first two rounds for Pierson and the final for Hecht.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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