UFC 152 preview: Benavidez and Johnson eye inaugural UFC flyweight championship

Joseph Benavidez will face Demetrious Johnson at UFC 152

The UFC 152 co-main event will feature the inaugural UFC flyweight championship fight between Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson. This fight is between the ProMMAnow number one and number two ranked flyweights in the world, and should be an excellent fight between two very good fighters. Let’s see how this one breaks down.

Demetrious Johnson (15-2-1) is coming off the unanimous decision win over Ian McCall to secure his spot in the inaugural UFC flyweight title fight against Benavidez. That fight was actually an immediate rematch from the initial fight that ended in a majority draw. Johnson has won six fights via submission and three fights via TKO/KO. He has never been finished in his career.

Joseph Benavidez (16-2) is coming off the KO win over Yasuhiro Urushitani to secure his spot in the inaugural UFC flyweight title fight against Johnson. Cruz has won four consecutive fights and his two losses have both come at the hands of UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz. Benavidez has won eight wins via submission and four wins via TKO/KO. He also has never been finished in his career.

Johnson is a sizable betting underdog here at (+230) with Benavidez as the betting favorite at (-290) according to TopBet.

I think that line is a about right, but let’s take a look at some stats to see what’s what.

According to Fightmetric Johnson is the more accurate striker with Benavidez being the more difficult fighter to hit. Also, Johnson is the more successful wrestler as he’s more successful on his takedown attempts while defending a higher number of takedown attempts against him.

I think Benavidez has the power to stop Johnson if he connects, which could be an x-factor. The other x-factor will be the fact that Benavidez is very aggressive and will come forward which will force Johnson to fight moving backwards most of the fight. This could open Benavidez up for takedowns, but I don’t expect Johnson to be able to keep Benavidez down if he gets him down. Benavidez is also excellent in the scramble situations, so it’ll be important for both fighters to come out on top in those situations.

Johnson will need to use his speed and wrestling to slow Benavidez down a bit. Johnson is extremely quick and may have a slight edge in overall speed over Benavidez. He’ll need to use that to dart in and out of striking range while also setting up his takedown attempts if he wants to be successful in this fight.

Overall, I think we’ll see a very high paced fight with two little guys looking to put the UFC flyweight championship on the map. In the end, I think the power and aggressiveness of Benavidez will get the win and become the first ever UFC flyweight champion.

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