UFC on FOX 9 Play: Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson (-135) vs Joseph Benavidez (+115)

ufc-156UFC on FOX 9 Date: December 14, 2013 Arena: Sleep Train Arena City: Sacramento, C.A. Flyweight title bout: Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson (-135) vs Joseph Benavidez (+115) Fight Breakdown: The main event for UFC on FOX 9 will be a rematch that sees Team Alpha Male product Joseph Benavidez challenge UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson for his title. “Mighty Mouse” is currently the slight favorite in this match-up at -135 ($135 to win $100), with Benavidez being a slight underdog at +115 ($100 to win $115) at Several Bookmakerss. DEMETRIOUS “MIGHTY MOUSE” JOHNSON (18-2-1 MMA, 6-1-1 UFC) was Inside MMA’s 2012 Breakthrough Fighter of the Year, after beating Ian McCall and Joseph Benavidez to become the first ever UFC Flyweight Champion. Since then, Johnson has made two impressive title defenses, and has earned himself a slot at #9 on Sherdog.com’s Pound-for-Pound rankings. He was last seen inside the Octagon four and a half months ago at the last card broadcasted on the FOX network; UFC on FOX 8, where he submitted John Moraga via fifth round armbar with just over a minute remaining in the fight. With the tapout over Moraga, Johnson notched the record for latest stoppage in UFC history at 3:43 of the fifth round. “Mighty Mouse” fights out of AMC Pankration in Seattle, W.A., under the tutelage of Matt Hume, who I believe to be one of the best coaches in all of mixed martial arts. One of Johnson’s training partners is current ONE FC Bantamweight Champion Bibiano Fernandes, and is certainly one of the best training partners (that doesn’t belong to Team Alpha Male) that a lighter-weight fighter could ask for. Johnson is exceptionally talented in every aspect of mixed martial arts, and he is arguably the fastest fighter to ever compete inside the Octagon. He is incredibly quick on the feet, and that only benefits his striking defense, which is outstanding. He puts together some fantastic combinations, and often gets out of the way before his opponent has a chance to react. Johnson has a solid wrestling game, and likes to implement it to win rounds. He is often successful in his takedown attempts, and like with everything else he does, he is very quick with his shots. He sets them up with his hands really well, too. While in top position on the mat, he does not just grind it out until the round ends. He spends the entire time working; landing shots, while looking for possible submissions. He has his eyes wide-open for openings, at all times, both on the feet and on the mat, and he is quick to take advantage of them, as was the case in his fight against Moraga. Johnson has tremendous cardio and will be giving it his all for all five rounds, should the fight go the distance. He has incredible heart, and a good chin, as was displayed in his first title defense versus John Dodson. The champ won a convincing unanimous decision over him, but Dodson had him hurt in the beginning of the fight. Johnson displayed toughness, and great recovery, as he came back from being rocked to more-or-less dominate the action. Fighting on enemy grounds, “Mighty Mouse” will be looking to defend his title for the third time against the man he originally beat to earn it. JOSEPH BENAVIDEZ (19-3 MMA, 6-1 UFC) lost the fight for the UFC’s inaugral Flyweight title to “Mighty Mouse” at UFC 152, a little over a year ago. He has since bounced back with three wins in 2013, including a unanimous decision over former #1 flyweight “Uncle Creepy” Ian McCall, and brutal knockouts of Darren Uyenoyama, and Jussier Da Silva, who is another flyweight that was formerly ranked #1 in the world. Benavidez has undoubtedly earned his way back to another title shot, and against one of only two fighters to ever beat him. The two other losses on his professional mixed martial arts resume come to current UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz, so he has only lost to champions. The Team Alpha Male product is a beast of an athlete, all-around. He has good stand-up skills, with fast and heavy hands. He has a vicious cross, and likes to throw powerful hooks. He likes going for the uppercut any time he sees an opening for it. Benavidez is an extremely talented wrestler who possesses great takedowns, and could take just about anyone at 125 pounds down at will. His submission game is excellent, and he has a guillotine choke that could force anyone to tap. Training out of Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, C.A., Benavidez has the best training partners any fighter in his weight class could possibly ask for. He regularly trains with Chad Mendes, Urijah Faber, T.J. Dillashaw, Danny Castillo, Lance Palmer, etc., and with the addition of Duane Ludwig as Team Alpha Male’s Striking/Head Coach, he has seen drastic improvements in his striking, and has certainly gained a ton more confidence in his hands, and kicks. Benavidez is a well-conditioned athlete who will be game for a five round war, and with a lot more tools in his arsenal since they last met, he looks to put on a show against “Mighty Mouse” in front of his hometown crowd, and walk away with the belt.   Fight Prediction: I think this fight is going to be better than their first meeting, and I believe this time around, Benavidez will completely show up. His head was not fully in it the first time around, which he has personally admitted. He is a much better fighter than he was when they first fought. His striking is on a whole different level than it was before. His chances of knocking Johnson out are much greater than they were when they first danced. I think there is a decent chance that Benavidez will finish “Mighty Mouse”, be it by knockout, or his aforementioned guillotine. That said, I think more often than not, at the end of this fight, we’ll be listening to Bruce Buffer announce what the judges scored. It will likely be a close fight, but I think this time Benavidez will get the better of it. Having the hometown advantage may benefit him in such a situation.   Gabe’s Pick: Joseph Benavidez by Split-Decision (47-48, 48-47, 48-47)   Gabe’s Recommended Play: Joseph Benavidez (+115) 3u to win 3.45u

Written by Gabe Killian

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