Timothy Johnson was all business in a three-round decision win as part of Sunday's "UFC Fight Night" card in Zagreb, Croatia, but that doesn't mean the Minnesota National Guardsman headed home without a souvenir.
Johnson outlasted Polish heavyweight Marcin Tybura thanks to a fast start and a gutsy finish, chasing his opponent for most of the opening two rounds and scoring on several strikes to bloody the former heavyweight champion of M-1 Global, a Russia-based mixed martial arts promotion.
But Tybura survived the storm and fired back in the third, landing a head kick and some punches of his own that nearly swelled Johnson's left eye shut. The sergeant recorded the injury for posterity on social media:
That finish earned Johnson praise from UFC announcers and analysts for his conditioning and his grit, as he survived both the swollen eye and reportedly an injured forearm from blocking a kick. It also earned him his second UFC victory against one defeat (10-2 overall).
Timothy Johnson, left, misses a punch during his clash with Marcin Tybura on Sunday as part of a UFC card in Zagreb, Croatia.
Photo Credit: Per Haljestam/USA Today Sports
The loss was the second in Tybura's career (13-2, 0-1 UFC).
Johnson has one fight remaining on his UFC contract. He's also facing a separation date from the Guard this summer, but said before the fight that he's leaning toward re-enlistment.
He's been in uniform since 2006 and serves with the 134th Brigade Support Battalion.
Kevin Lilley is the features editor of Military Times.