Before the fight, Dana White admits that Johnson is the more complete fighter of the two, but that Phan has all the tools to beat Johnson and win the fight.
As the fight begins, Johnson immediately takes Phan to the ground and scores a takedown, but Phan is quick to get back on his feet. Phan continuously stalks Johnson and lands some big hits, but Johnson is quick to recover and lands another takedown on Phan. Once again, Phan doesn’t waste any time on the ground and is quickly back on his feet. The stand up goes back and forth, with each fighter landing some heavy strikes. However, Johnson clearly controls the fight, landing more punches and controlling Phan in the clinch, while also giving Phan a cut below his eye. Johnson wins the first round, doing more damage and scoring some big takedowns early on.
The second round is a different story, this time Phan assumes control of the fight, scoring some big shots on Johnson and tiring him out. Phan manages to hurt Johnson and it shows, as Johnson is having trouble keeping his hands up and blocking Phan’s shots. When it’s clear that Johnson is in trouble, he shoots for a takedown, but gets stuffed and Phan counters with a takedown of his own. Phan continues to rain down heavy hits on Johnson, but Johnson defends well and gets back to his feet. The round ends with both fighters standing and trading, but Phan wins the second round with ease.
The third round has both fighters clearly tired and gassed, but Phan seems to still have enough energy to carry on. However, Johnson has a lot of heart, refusing to give up and manages to score a quick takedown on Phan. Even though Phan is on the bottom he still throws heavy elbows and punches to Johnson’s head, Johnson defends the strikes but does not counter any of Phan’s attacks. Johnson is clearly tired and continues to eat the clock by holding Phan up against the fence in a clinch. Both continue to exchange, with Johnson getting the better shots in, but Phan refuses to give up and attempts to counter Johnson’s shots.
In Dana White’s words, this fight was an absolute war, with both fighters throwing everything at each other to get the win. In the end, Johnson won the fight by split decision, but Phan gave him a run for his money. Koscheck is obviously pissed but he vows to get the last word when he faces GSP at 124 on December 11th.
The TUF 12 finale takes place on Saturday December 4th, with Teams GSP teammates Michael Johnson and Jonathan Brookins squaring off to determine who will be The Ultimate Fighter.