DALLAS (105.3 THE FAN) – Demetrious Johnson is the only flyweight champion in UFC history, and Saturday night he looks to keep it that way. The 125 pounder will take on Joe Benavidez in a rematch of their split decision contest at UFC 152 that saw Johnson crowned as the division’s inaugural champion.
Listen to Richard Hunter talk to Demetrious Johnson about what improvements he expects to see from Joe Benavidez in their rematch:
After losing to Johnson, Benavidez has gone undefeated, benefitting from the addition to his Team Alpha Male training camp of head coach Duane “Bang” Ludwig. The hiring of the UFC veteran fighter turned trainer has ignited a red hot winning streak for Team Alpha Male fighters, with a particularly noticeable improvement across the board in their striking skills.
UFC On FOX 9 (Saturday, 7 pm central) will be held in Team Alpha Male’s back yard of Sacramento, California, and Johnson is more than prepared to be on the wrong side of Benavidez’s home town fans.
The tale of Johnson’s first victory over Benavidez was largely attributed to speed. He repeatedly made Benavidez miss with footwork, and hand speed allowed him to rack up points on the score cards. Takedowns were also a factor, with Johnson winning that battle by a margin of 5-0.
Still, one judge gave the fight to Benavidez and another had Johnson winning by only one round. In the third round of that fight, Benavidez had Johnson locked into one of his signature guillotines that looked to be a legitimate threat to end the fight. It’s certainly easy to see why, despite the loss, oddsmakers are only making Johnson a slight favorite in the rematch.
Taking into consideration that in the 43 combined fights between them neither Johnson or Benavidez has ever been knocked out or submitted, logic would dictate that we could easily see another closely contested five round decision. That is, except for the fact that Johnson recently recorded the latest submission in UFC history, when he put John Moraga away at 3:43 into the fifth round.
A multitude of factors make this a difficult outcome to predict, and the contest has wisely been selected as the main event to headline Saturday night’s stacked UFC card.
Follow Richard Hunter on Twitter @RichardHunter
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