Michael Johnson is one fighter not to look past in the lightweight division, giving fans what most call a new wave approach to exciting fights and finishes. The Johnson that fought on The Ultimate Fighter was a great grappler who used his wrestling and athleticism to carry him to victories and the final match of the season. Johnson, who originally had faulty striking, has grown massively in that department and it was showcased Friday night on the free UFC on FX 5 card.

Training with the likes of Melvin Guillard, Tyrone Spong, and Alistair Overeem has transformed the striking Michael Johnson into a more “Dutch” Muay Thai style with aggressive body kicks and fast technical shots fired right from the chamber. Even after a very troublesome first round where Johnson may have been a little over zealous with his striking abilities, the proper adjustments were made between rounds and Johnson came back when he needed it the most.

Henri Hooft is the main striking coach for the newly formed Blackzillian team out of Boca Raton, Florida and what has led Michael Johnson to such an impressive win. Hooft led the conversation with Johnson going into the second round explaining to him what caused him to nearly be knocked out, and how to avoid it happening again. Hooft also encouraged Johnson to come out and not try to counter, always firing first and being aggressive and in Castillo’s face. As soon as the second round opened Johnson fired every strike in his bag, eventually knocking Castillo out cold with a short jab and follow-up with ground and pound.

Johnson seems to be evolving quickly and his camp has done wonders for the one element he needed the most work with coming out of The Ultimate Fighter. Next time Michael Johnson steps back into the Octagon expect to see the further evolution of this young fighter with all the tools to wreck house in a stacked division.

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