At UFC 152 in Toronto, Demetrious Johnson defeated Joseph Benavidez by split decision to become the UFC's inaugural flyweight champion.
The action unfolded over five close rounds of action between two of the fastest athletes in mixed martial arts.
"I felt I got him on the ground a lot more and he didn't get me down once," Johnson told broadcaster Joe Rogan after the fight. "It means the world to me...I'm gonna go home, rest, then get back in the gym and get ready for the next battle."
Johnson was, as advertised, the quicker of the two fighters, and that may have been the difference. But Johnson also fought the smarter fight.
While Benavidez was occasionally reckless, Johnson was always tightly under control, displaying great technique in repeatedly landing precise strikes and takedowns on accomplished wrestler Benavidez. According to UFC statistics and an informal count, Johnson scored five takedowns on Benavidez, while Benavidez was not able to land one clear takedown of his own.
In general, Johnson stayed well away from Benavidez's dangerous fists. The major exception to that rule came in the fourth round, when Benavidez dropped Johnson with a huge right hand. As Benavidez followed Johnson to the ground, he gained position and worked for a guillotine choke. Johnson, however, kept his composure and ultimately fended off the submission.
The final round saw Johnson still nearly as fresh as he was in the beginning. Johnson landed two solid takedowns while consistently avoiding Benavidez's increasingly wild attacks.
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