Tim Johnson's first UFC fight since leaving the Minnesota National Guard saw the former sergeant suffer a split-decision loss to a former heavyweight champion.

Johnson moved to 2-2 in the UFC on Saturday in Belfast, Northern Ireland, after being edged on the scorecards by Russia's Alexander Volkov in the 6-foot-7 ex-Bellator titleholder's UFC debut. One judge gave the three-round fight to Johnson 30-27, but the other two gave Volkov a 29-28 edge.

Johnson won the first round on all three judges' cards after knocking Volkov down with a right hand and nearly finishing off the taller Russian, who withstood several hard shots while on his back. The next two rounds were closer, with many media scorecards showing Johnson ahead on points as the heavyweights traded the advantage throughout the fight.

It was the second overseas bout for Johnson, who

. It's also the last fight on his UFC contract -- Johnson told Military Times before that fight that he expected to sign a new deal regardless of the outcome. He also said he hoped to rejoin the National Guard at some point, though the timing would depend on his UFC commitments.