UFC on FX 3: Demetrious Johnson vs. Ian McCall: Head-to-Toe Breakdown
Three months after they met in the semifinals of the UFC's inaugural flyweight tournament, Demetrious Johnson and Ian McCall are once again set to meet in a fight that will determine something that should have been determined in a fourth round of their first bout. However, following the third round of their first meeting, the scorecards were incorrectly tabulated and Johnson was named the winner.
Later, it was discovered the judges had actually scored the bout a draw and the fight should have gone to a sudden death fourth round that had been created specifically to prevent the flyweight tournament from being held back.
Nonetheless, Joseph Benavidez, the winner of the second 125-pound semifinal, has been forced to wait for the winner of this rematch, who he will meet in the UFC's first flyweight title fight.
With a spot in a championship bout on the line, let's take a look at whether "Mighty Mouse" or "Uncle Creepy" have a better shot at winning this rematch and moving on to fight Benavidez.
In their first meeting, Demetrious Johnson landed 75 significant strikes, scoring 14 more times than Ian McCall. When the fighters were standing, Johnson was able to use his speed to land several leg kicks and finish combinations with lunging hooks over the guard of McCall.
Though he hasn't shown much power against UFC-level competition, Johnson was also able to stun McCall with a right hand in the opening round. Since McCall has never been knocked out in his career, it will be difficult for "Mighty Mouse" to finish this fight on his feet, but that's where he has the biggest edge in this matchup.
With leg kicks too fast to catch, Johnson should stay on the outside and take away the power of McCall's takedown attempts by attacking the lead leg of "Uncle Creepy" early and often.
In his first fight with McCall, Johnson gave up the most important takedown of the fight by rushing forward with a right hook and allowing his opponent to duck and clinch.
Heading into the first fight between Demetrious Johnson and Ian McCall, many expected the fighter with the better wrestling to walk away with the victory.
Although that wasn't the case, McCall left no doubt in anyone's mind that he was a better wrestler than Johnson.
The bout saw McCall throw Johnson to the canvas four times, while Johnson was unable to secure a single takedown in the three-round fight. In the final round, McCall was able to maintain the top position for minutes and nearly finished Johnson before the horn sounded the end of the fight.
McCall was most successful in taking the fight to the ground when he waited for "Mighty Mouse" to push forward with hooks. Once McCall baited that aggression out of Johnson, he would duck a hook, lock his hands around Johnson's body and use a trip to finish the takedown.
Expect McCall to be more patient in the rematch and wait for Johnson to make mistakes on his feet.
It's unlikely that this fight will end in a submission, since Ian McCall's submission loss to Charlie Valencia in December 2007 was the only time either fighter has been forced to tap.
However, Demetrious Johnson does have a decided edge in the submission department and will be more prepared to use them when he goes to the ground with McCall in the rematch.
With six submission wins in his career, Johnson was able to lock up a guillotine choke against Damacio Page while competing in WEC and avoided being submitted by dangerous grappler and former bantamweight champion Miguel Torres in May 2011.
Johnson is most dangerous with submissions when he is in the top position, though, so he will have some trouble forcing a tap off of his back against McCall, who is going to be very difficult to take down, as was on display in the first meeting between these fighters.
Demetrious Johnson was significantly quicker than any opponents he faced in the bantamweight division.
Despite losing some of his speed advantage by moving to flyweight, Johnson is still lightning quick and arguably still the fastest fighter in the division.
If Johnson uses that speed to his advantage and avoids clinching with McCall, he will earn himself a spot in the flyweight championship against Joseph Benavidez. Above all else previously mentioned in this breakdown, Johnson's speed is the biggest difference maker in this matchup.
The first three rounds between Demetrious Johnson and Ian McCall ended in a draw, so the next three or four rounds should be equally competitive.
Both fighters now know what the other has to offer and will be prepared to utilize the advantages they are certain they have over their opponent.
Having scored at least one takedown against every UFC and WEC opponent he faced prior to McCall, Johnson has better wrestling than he showed in March. Look for Johnson to fight a more disciplined fight in the rematch by taking full advantage of his speed and doing a better job of avoiding the clinch with McCall.
Either Johnson or McCall is capable of winning this fight, but "Mighty Mouse" had more to take away from the first bout and will make the improvements he needs to win this fight and earn a chance at becoming the UFC's first 125-pound champion.
Johnson defeats McCall by decision.
Statistics via FightMetric.com