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UFC 152: Elite Wrestling Skills Won't Be Enough for Demetrious Johnson

June 8, 2012; Sunrise, FL, USA; Demetrious Johnson (right) fights against Ian McCall (left) during their UFC bout at BankAtlantic Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistSeptember 22, 2012

Demetrious Johnson is one of the best wrestlers in the world, but his skills on the ground won't be enough to earn him a victory in the first flyweight title fight in UFC history.

Joseph Benavidez isn't an elite wrestler like his competitor; however, he's a better all-around fighter. Benavidez has incredible power for the 125-pound weight class, and he's very capable of winning via submission, especially if you fall into his guillotine choke.

Expect this fight to be very close. The outcome largely will depend on which fighter impresses his style upon the other, and that puts Johnson at a disadvantage.

While Benavidez can adapt his style and still hold his own, Johnson only has one way to win Saturday night: He has to get Benavidez to the ground and work him over from his back.

If he can't, this fight could end quickly. Benavidez is 11-2 in his MMA career, and he's won those fights in every way possible.

If you want to wrestle, he can wrestle. If you want to stand toe-to-toe, he can do that, too. None of his skills are necessarily elite, but his consistency in many areas makes him tough to defeat.

As a mostly one-dimensional fighter, Johnson will find that out the hard way.

Johnson is very good at what he does, but it's the only thing he does. He's 5-2-1; everything, win or lose, has come via submission or decision. He slows down the fight, tries to avoid heavy strikes and wants to take every fight to the scoring cards.

Benavidez won't be afraid to go to the ground with Johnson, and his experience gives him an advantage.

One mistake could make Johnson the victim of a guillotine choke or one devastating strike. Either way, he doesn't have enough tricks up his sleeve to pull out a win in this groundbreaking UFC event.

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