The co-main event featured the highly anticipated debut of two-time UFC light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Johnson (23-6), making his return to competition after a four-year layoff. “Rumble” looked like his old self, though late replacement Jose Augusto (stepping in for an injured Yoel Romero) proved to be a major challenge as he had Johnson badly rocked in the first round.
After a couple of hard punches to the top of Johnson’s head, Augusto (7-3, 1 NC) visibly winced in his pain and it appeared that he had a right hand injury. Smelling blood, Johnson amped up his aggression, but ended up getting caught by a left hand and then follow-up punches from Augusto that dropped him onto his hands and knees.
Johnson survived the attack, which included a rear-naked choke attempt, and came out strong in the next round. A right hand down the middle and a hammerfist put Augusto down for the count at the 1:30 mark of round two.
Johnson now advances to the semifinals of the Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix where he will face reigning 205-pound champion Vadim Nemkov.