One moment Anthony Johnson was in danger, the next he was celebrating victory. That's the kind of knockout power he has, and he used it to destroy D.J. Linderman in the World Series of Fighting co-main event.
The end came in a blink. During a flurry, Johnson covered his eye, suggesting he had suffered an illegal poke. He backed up, but referee Herb Dean said he did not see it and allowed the fight to continue. Linderman rushed in, hoping to take advantage of the situation. Instead, he threw one punch and missed, and Johnson countered with a short but thunderous right hand that had Linderman unconscious before he hit the floor.
Linderman fell face first to the mat for the spectacular knockout.
The finish came at 3:58 of the first round. It was the first time Linderman has ever been KO'd.
"He kept talking about power and all that because he came down from heavyweight, but I just showed him what a 170-pounder could do," said Johnson, whose left eye was reddened after the fight, suggesting he had indeed been poked there.
Johnson had relied on a kick-heavy offense in the opening two minutes of the fight, then switched tracks by taking Linderman down before finishing him with his hands.
It was the fourth straight win since being released from the UFC for the powerful striker, who improved to 14-4.
The win snapped a three-fight win streak for Linderman, who fell to 14-4.