UFC 152 Fight Card: 3 Keys to Victory for Demetrious Johnson
The former UFC bantamweight title contender brings a 15-2-1 overall record to the Octagon.
Johnson battled to a draw against Ian McCall in March, but defeated him in a rematch in June to advance to the finals. It was a much more grueling path to the flyweight championship match than Benavidez had to endure.
The quick flyweight is one of the most well-rounded in mixed martial arts today. He brings a complete tool kit to the Octagon.
The co-main event will crown the UFC's first ever 125-pound champion. Here are three keys to victory for Johnson.
Benavidez is an excellent wrestler who can easily grind out a win. Putting Johnson on his back would negate his speed advantage as well.
Johnson needs to be on his game against the powerful wrestler.
In spite of his excellent jiu-jitsu, which he displayed in his controversial loss to Miguel Torres, Johnson will not want to stay under Benavidez for extended periods of time. Judges have shown to favor the man on top, even if the fighter underneath is threatening with submissions.
If he wants to pick up rounds, he will need to keep Benavidez off him. Therefore, ensuring his takedown defense is the best it's ever been is necessary.
It is a tall task, but Johnson has to avoid being taken down.
Benavidez has big power for a flyweight.
What have the likes of Dominick Cruz and Frankie Edgar shown to work against men with power?
The quicker fighters need to utilize movement and get out of the way before a big right or left can land.
Get in and out quickly.
Johnson has shown this ability throughout his career, but it will never be as important as at UFC 152.
His movement will also help keep him from being trapped against the fence or from a Benavidez takedown attempt. It will also cause Benavidez to work that much harder to catch "Mighty Mouse." That could have an effect on his cardio in this five-round fight.
Johnson needs to be light on his toes for 25 minutes.
Mix It Up
"Mighty Mouse" brings a diverse striking attack to the table, in addition to his solid wrestling attack. Johnson needs to keep Benavidez guessing throughout the fight.
When standing, he will need to throw more than just punches. Johnson needs to add in some leg kicks to take away both the shot and the power from Benavidez. He should also threaten with wrestling of his own.
The longer the fight goes on, by keeping Benavidez guessing, he will be able to create a myriad of openings.
Both individuals are extremely hard to stop. Therefore, as each round passes, the fighter with more tools will become the more dangerous fighter.
Establishing his diverse attack early on will help Johnson take the fight on the scorecards.