Before the lightweight fighter took a late-notice booking against Maximo Blanco, he looked up his opponent's past bouts in Japan and noticed a disturbing trend: He often fought dirty.
Healy's bout with Blanco at Saturday's "Strikeforce World Grand Prix: Barnett vs. Kharitonov" event nearly ended early due to his opponent's illegal kicks. But Healy was determined to earn his victory the old-fashioned way.
Instead, Healy shook off the affects of nearly a dozen illegal kicks and stormed back for a second-round submission victory on the Showtime-televised main card at Cincinnati's U.S. Bank Arena.
During an early first-round ground scramble, Blanco found himself on top as the fighter went to the north-south position. That's when Blanco unloaded the illegal kicks to a downed opponent. The blows, which resulted in a one-point deduction, kept coming even after the referee tried to halt him.
"Right after they landed, I kind of rolled over and felt woozy," Healy told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I thought I was done right then.
"But it came back to me pretty quick, and I was able to regain composure. The thought was right there in my head that I could bow out and win, but I'd never be able to live with myself and lay my head on my pillow at night. Once I felt all right, I knew I could come back."
Besides, with Blanco (8-3-1 MMA, 0-1 SF) winging unorthodox strikes and wasting energy with big, lopping punches that proved largely ineffective, Healy (26-16 MMA, 4-1 SF) knew he had an opportunity if the fight continued.
"I could hear him already breathing hard," he said.
Healy expected Blanco, a King of Pancrase who rose to fame with the now-defunct World Victory Road Sengoku event series in Japan, to employ some dirty tactics.
"That's his thing," Healy said matter of factly. "I've seen him fight a couple of times in Japan, and he's got DQd over there. I don't want to say he's cheap, but he's had a few instances like that."
And with that, Healy's willing to put the illegal blows and his opponent in the past. Despite 42 pro fights, Healy is just 28 years old. And he's now an impressive 6-1 in his past seven fights, which included a Strikeforce Challengers 18 victory over Eric Wisely just four weeks ago.
"I'm just super happy I got a chance on this card," said Healy, who replaced injured Josh Thomson. "I stepped up on late notice and got my second win in a month. I think I put on a great performance out there and got people to start noticing me."
For complete coverage of "Strikeforce Grand Prix: Barnett vs. Kharitonov," check out the MMA Events section of the site.