On September 22nd, the UFC invades the Air Canada Centre in Toronto once again for UFC 152, where Demetrious Johnson and Joseph Benavidez will battle it out for the first UFC Flyweight title. Here is our early look at the lines and our UFC picks and predictions for this event.
Last time the UFC traveled north to Toronto they showcased the light
heavyweights, as Jon Jones successfully defended his belt against Lyoto
Machida. Next month however, they will be bringing a new division and a soon to
be new champion, when Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson takes on Joseph Benavidez
in the first ever flyweight championship match.
The Main Card is a
spectacular middleweight matchup between the Brit, Michael Bisping, and the
American, Brian Stann. UFC fans were also all geared up and ready to see a
classic battle between future hall of famer, B.J Penn and rising star Rory
MacDonald. But this card was also hit with the infamous injury bug, as “Rory
Mac” recently was forced to withdraw due to a nasty cut he suffered in
training. It is still unknown if Dana White will find a replacement for MacDonald or if they will just
delay the fight for a future event.
Demetrious Johnson (15-2-1) vs.
Joseph Benavidez (16-2)
Male workhorse, Joey B, opened up as -285 UFC odds favorite against Mighty Mouse.
Johnson sits as a +225 underdog, although in my eyes this fight is ridiculously
close. At UFC on FX 2, there was a mini 4 man tournament to see who would be
fighting for the new flyweight belt. We saw Joey B demolish Yasuhiro Urushitani
by way of TKO. On the other side, Johnson had to battle scrappy vet, Ian McCall.
No man came out on top of that because the fight was ruled a majority draw by
the judges, so we would see them do battle again at a later date. That date was
only three months later at UFC on FX 3, this time there was a victor as
Johnson’s hand was raised after a three round unanimous decision.
This is a
classic wrestler vs. wrestler matchup. Both of these guys have great takedowns
and even better top control when they get it to the mat. But as we have seen on
so many occasions when two high class wrestlers do battle, it usually turns
into a stand up game because they both nullify each other’s wrestling. Johnson
has a slight speed advantage over Benavidez, while Joey undoubtedly owns the
strength advantage. In their combined 31 wins, only 7 have come by way of tko,
4 from Benavidez and 3 from Johnson. Out of the two, Joey B has the slight
advantage on the feet, although neither one of them flourish in that aspect. So
expect Johnson to look to get it to the ground on occasion and if he is
successful he might fare well. But with his strength and wrestling credentials,
I think Benavidez will keep it standing and try to out box Mighty Mouse.
Joseph Benavidez via 5 round unanimous decision
Michael “The Count” Bisping (22-4)
vs. Brian Stann (12-4)
the main event, these fighters have the same style of fighting. Except it is
not wrestling these two warriors like to do, it is exchanging punches and
looking for the finish. Although both guys are great boxers, they have a
different style of boxing. Bisping is a very technical striker with fast hands,
good footwork and head movement and not the scariest of power in his hands.
While Stann may have the heaviest hands in the division he is not the most technical striker. We saw that
power on display as Stann impressively blasted through Chris Leben like no one
has other than the
champion, Anderson Silva. Although Bisping's power isn’t the greatest, he throws
punches in bunches and overwhelms people and is great at making guys break.
Both fighters are coming off a loss to former number one contender, Chael
Sonnen, but most thought Bisping did enough to win the decision, while
Stann got choked out via arm triangle. Expect a battle and nothing less. This
fight should be entertaining for all, and we could see the next middleweight
contender emerge with an impressive victory.
Bisping via decision
Charles Oliveira (16-2-1) vs. Cub
This is a
great matchup of two 145 pounders who step in the cage for one reason and one
reason only, to finish their opponents. Both men have killer instincts and
look to end the fight with every move they make. Oliveira has world class
jiu-jitsu skills; he has compiled a long highlight reel of beautiful
submissions, while Swanson has a mixture of spectacular knockouts and
submissions of his own. Swanson usually holds a nice reach advantage to most
guys he has fought, but Oliveira is a big 145er who stands tall at 5 feet 10
inches. So Swanson will need to get in tight and work his dirty boxing game if
he wants to come away with a victory in this one. Although the danger in that
is if you get too close to Oliveira he will grab a hold of one of your limbs
and either pull guard or take you down and look for a sub. More than half of
Swanson’s 5 defeats have come by way of submission, so he will try and stay
away from the mat as much as he can. Oliveira has been finished on his feet by Donald Cerrone, who has
a similar style to Swanson, so he will be fearful of the KO. This fight is also
a very entertaining matchup and also shows contrasting fighting styles.
Charles Oliveira via submission