In just the second flyweight bout in UFC history last night (March 2, 2012), the division had its first finish in the co-main event battle between former bantamweight title contender Joseph Benavidez and longtime Japanese flyweight star Yasuhiro Urushitani.
The odds were heavily against Urushitani heading into this fight due to name recognition and the fact that Benavidez had previously been ranked as a top three 135 pounder in the world before dropping a weight class.
Turns out, those odds were spot on.
The man formerly known as "Joe-bi Wan Kenobi" and "Beefcake" crushed his Japanese nemesis with a dominant first round and then a powerful technical knockout in the second.
So how was Benavidez able to be so dominant? And what happens next for both fighters?
Follow me after the jump for our Joseph Benavidez vs. Yasuhiro Urushitani UFC on FX 2 post-fight review and analysis:
Early on, both men looked to establish their striking game and while Urushitani seemed hesitant to really commit to his blows with the threat of a takedown looming over everything, Benavidez had no such concerns and he was able to throw every punch and kick with 100 percent commitment.
While Urushitani had a nice judo base which he uses to remain standing, it was Benavidez who scored a shoulder throw at the midway point of the first round after a series of knees to the legs in the clinch, although the Japanese striker popped back to his feet quickly.
The next time Benavidez attempted to get the fight to the ground, Urushitani would not be so lucky in getting back to his feet as the Team Alpha Male fighter refused to give up on a single leg takedown and ran the pipe having 100 seconds to work if need be.
Once on the canvas, Benavidez kept a constant pressure on the former Shooto champion and began mixing in elbows with guard passes, eventually taking Urushitani's back and threatening with a rear naked choke in the final moments of the round.
Urushitani was shook up and when he lazily threw a body kick to open the second round, Benavidez capitalized by aggressively stepping inside and blasting the Japanese striker in the jaw with a huge right hand which sent him crashing to the canvas. From there, it only took a few ground and pound strikes before the referee intervened.
For Yasuhiro Urushitani, there's not much more he could have done. This was simply a case of being completely outmatched by a superior opponent. Urushitani's strength was the striking, but with no threat of a takedown or use of his ground game whatsoever, Benavidez was able to aggressively push the action and force him to constantly be moving backwards where his primary striking attack was much less effective. At 35 years old, it's not likely he can add enough to his game to become well-rounded enough to challenge for the flyweight title down the road.
Possible next opponents for Urushitani include former Ultimate Fighter season 14 fighter Josh Ferguson or perhaps top unsigned flyweights in the world like Jussier da Silva or even a potential trilogy fight with Mamoru Yamaguchi.
For Joseph Benavidez, this was about as perfect of gameplan execution as he could have asked for. Flyweight could not be a more suitable division for the 5'4 fighter. His power, which was able to rock people at banamweight, translates into serious knockout ability while competing just one weight class lower and it appears he will be a force in the division for many years to come. His striking, takedowns and ground game were on display in full force.
There's only one opponent he can face next, and that's the winner of the Demetrious Johnson and Ian McCall fight, although he's gonna have to wait for the rematch to get sorted out after the commission fiasco last night which prevented a conclusion to the flyweight tournament semifinals. Regardless, the Team Alpha Male fighter is likely expected to be the favorite no matter who he faces next for the UFC 125 pound title.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Do you like Benavidez's chances of becoming the inaugural UFC flyweight champion after his domination last night? Is there anyone out there at 125 pounds that you think can defeat him?