Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson (18-2-1, 6-1-1 UFC) vs. Joseph Benavidez (19-3, 5-1 UFC), at UFC on FOX 9
The main event and UFC flyweight championship bout sees Demetrious Johnson try to keep his belt and prove once and for all that he is bar none the best 125 pound fighter on earth. Trying to stop him will be team alpha male’s Joe Benavidez who is aiming to make it right after losing a competitive but clear cut fight to Johnson the 1st time around.
Demetrious was a standout wrestler in high school in Washington State coming up just a little bit short of a state championship as a junior and a senior. He entered MMA in 2007 and under the guidance of MMA pioneer Matt Hume went on a 10 fight win streak on his way to the WEC. Highly skilled but significantly undersized as a bantamweight (earned a title shot), Johnson was as happy as anyone when the UFC added a 125 pound class.
-Johnson posses a basic but very effective wrestling repertoire, single and double leg takedowns with the occasional body lock throw make up most of his attacks. He is quite in relentless in pursuit of the takedown and when he commits he will shoot and re-shoot if he has to in order to get the other guy down. He is equally hard to takedown and even harder to control in this weight class.
-He throws a varied striking attack with nice punch combos and good right body kicks. Johnson is always working and has never been out struck since being in the WEC. He also throws timely knees to the body when in the clinch especially if he’s working for the takedown.
-Speed is really what ties everything together in Mighty Mouse’s game; he can run circles around most foes and is almost impossible to slow down. His conditioning is superb and allows him to be just as fresh in the 5th round as he would be in the 1st which is invaluable in title fights. He has no regard for those who criticize his style and it’s next to impossible to frustrate him or knock him off his game plan.
Thus far in his career Johnson has been vulnerable to those who can slow him down, outwrestle him, or both. Luckily for him all those who have successfully done this are at a weight class above him now with the exception of contender Ian McCall. In his fight with John Dodson mighty mouse was hurt on multiple occasions but his conditioning and resolve saw him keep going forward.
Joseph Benavidez, like the champion, was a standout high school wrestler in New Mexico winning a state championship as a sophomore. He hooked up with Urijah Faber and began MMA in 2006 making a 10-0 run on his way to the WEC (also like the champion). He didn’t slow down at all in the WEC and earned a title shot against Dominic Cruz. Undersized for 134 despite even fighting and winning at 145, Benavidez is a bigger guy at 125 and intends to make it count.
-Benavidez, despite his wrestling background, actually looks to strike predominately. Especially in recent fights his powerful right hand is really becoming a great weapon. He throws everything with bad intentions and can hurt foes with knees, kicks, and even elbows when he is on top. Speaking of elbows, he is good at slicing guys up from top position or against the cage which really can throw them off their game seeing all that blood.
-Benavidez has 8 submission wins on his record and 7 of them are by choke. His guillotine in particular is like a vice and he can put guys out rather quickly. Many of his subs come after he has hurt opponents with a strike and is awesome at capitalizing on this.
-And obviously there is always the wrestling attack for Joe to fall back on. His hip toss works really well for him especially so he can land in side control and go to work with elbows.
In all of Joe’s losses he was out struck, out wrestled, and out grappled and by a good margin, twice by Dominic Cruz and in the first fight with Demetrious. He was never getting blown out but the persistence and discipline of those guys to stick to the game plan ended up paying off. If Joe finds himself encountering resistance he will usually change it up which can be a good thing, it just wasn’t in those fights.
Benavidez is a mean fighter, he hurts guys and he does damage, but I feel that the champ is too quick, too clever, and too damn good to get beat up for any extended period of time. If Joe is to win this fight he will need the finish and I don’t see that happening. I have Mighty Mouse retaining his belt here with a split decision win.