Friday, March 2, 2012

UFC on FX 2 Preview: FINALLY... The Flyweights have landed!!!

MMA fans have been hearing about it for years. It's spanned across two separate brands, but at long last, Zuffa has implemented the eighth and final (sorry Super Heavyweights) weight division under the Unified Rules.

The flyweight division has arrived.

It only makes sense that such a historic event for the UFC would be surrounded by so many other historic notes for the company.

For only the third time ever, the UFC is in Australia for this event. More notable is that this is the fifth fight card the Fox family of networks (Fox, FX, Fuel) has run.

Most notable, though, is that it is the UFC's 200th overall fight card (including 144 numbered PPV events, five Ultimate/Non-numbered PPV events, 26 (25 numbered) Fight Nights, six UFC on Versus cards, 14 TUF finales and the five cards on the Fox family of networks).

Thank God that Wikipedia keeps count. That would be one hell of a trivia question.

As many may already know, this weekend is monumental for Zuffa in that UFC and Strikeforce are both running events. Strikeforce is headlining with a women's title fight for only the second time in MMA history, and I plan to delve into that card on the next blog.

For now, though, let's focus on the UFC.

In order to crown the first champion in the 125 lb. division, the card features the first round of a four-man tournament. Additionally, the UFC realized ahead of time that a draw may occur, and they've allowed for a sudden-victory fourth round.

So with that let's look at the semis:
Joseph Benavidez v. Yasuhiro Urushitani

Most fans know Benavidez as one of the elite bantamweights who has already tried and failed to beat Dominick Cruz for his belt. Urushitani is best known as the former Shooto Flyweight Champion.

Benavidez has a vastly superior ground game, being strong in wrestling, BJJ and judo. Urushitani has a judo background but has gained steam as a boxer.

The big question in this bout is going to be whether the weight cut will really help or hurt Benavidez. Urushitani  actually gets to cut two fewer pounds, as the weight class system in the UFC isn't based on kilograms.

Having seen Benavidez fight live, I know exactly what he is capable of, and I don't think this weight cut will be a huge deal, as he was an undersized bantamweight to begin with.

I'll pick Benavidez by Submission (Round 2).

Demetrious Johnson v. Ian McCall

Johnson, also known as Mighty Mouse, has been a legitimate wrestler and is coming off just the second loss of his career (to Cruz). McCall is considered to be the best flyweight in the world and was the Tachi Palace champion before signing.

McCall has a very balanced attack and has never lost as a flyweight. His only two losses came at bantamweight, one of which was to Cruz. (Anyone else seeing a pattern here?)

Johnson again has to deal with making this cut for the first time while McCall has a lot of pressure on him to prove his No. 1 ranking to be legitimate.

Having seen Johnson live and watched McCall on YouTube, I'd have to say that this could very well turn into a flyweight lay-and-pray fest if Johnson has his way. That said, I see McCall being able to get out of his grip, and I'll take McCall by decision.

Welterweight bout: Thiago Alves v. Martin Kampmann

Oh, did I neglect to mention that this is the main event of the card? Yeah, that's because it's the biggest letdown of a main event ever.

It's sad, but when a new weight class debuts, you are not the main story. Speaking of stories, Rick Story can be linked as to why I am taking Kampmann by decision.

Alves could not handle Story as recent as a year ago, but Kampmann nipped him by decision. This was due to his boxing game being able to keep Story at bay, and his wrestling being able to hold him down.

I expect the same here.

Rest of the main card and 2 selected undercard bouts

Middleweights: Court McGee v. Constantine Philippou - McGee can stand and trade as well as Philippou, and has a ground game to back it up. McGee will win by decision in an exciting opening fight.

Light Heavyweights: James Te Huna v. Aaron Rosa - This feels like a fight made simply to get the Oceanic crowd excited. Te Huna has a more complete game, and Rosa hasn't impressed me all that much. Te Huna will take the Fuel main event by 1st-round KO.

Featherweights: Cole Miller v. Steven Siler - This would be a good chance for Siler to make his name. He's a good, young talent who is great on the ground. Sadly, so is Miller. I'll go with the veteran of the Octagon by decision.

Once again, look for my Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey preview on Saturday.

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