UFC 152 fight card: Joseph Benavidez vs Demetrious Johnson prediction, preview and breakdown

Photo by Esther Lin/MMA Fighting.

Slated for the first-ever crowning of a UFC flyweight champion at tonight's (Sat., Sept. 22, 2012) UFC 152: "Jones vs. Belfort" event in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Joseph Benavidez vs. Demetrious Johnson couldn't happen to two more talented and fascinating guys, as both have proven that the little men are exciting and fan-friendly, to boot.

With reliable gas tanks and well-rounded skills, over five rounds, it figures that this one will have twists and turns aplenty, given both men's penchant for a tireless work rate and eye-popping athleticism.

The question isn't what will happen so much as what won't happen -= Benavidez and Johnson figure to take viewers on one hell of a thrill-ride as they battle for the vacant UFC belt, and make a bit of history in doing so by crowning the division's first champ.

Yee-haw!

Join me after the jump for our breakdown on the UFC 152 co-main event bout pitting Joseph Benavidez vs. Demetrious Johnson.

The Breakdown

Johnson figures to be the smaller of the two, and Benavidez looked awesome in his blowout of Yashihiro Urushitani in March, and his past performances, including two close decision losses to Dominick Cruz, have shown him to be incredibly persistent, and resilient. Benavidez was a dynamic figure at 135, using incredibly good footspeed, and footwork, to negotiate his way in and out of range despite typically giving up several inches in height and reach. Against a fellow 5'3 guy in Johnson, Joseph is likely to be the slugger in the matchup. For Johnson, making adjustments is what served him well in two fights against Ian McCall. He doesn't strike as hard as Benavidez but he may be the only guy in the game that's quicker from point A to B; he'll need to zip in and out while changing up angles. The temptation for both to try unorthodox moves could swing the judges' scorecards in exceptionally close rounds; Benavidez is also a better wrestler and scrambler, but "Might Mouse" outhustled McCall, a bigger and stronger guy, in their rematch, with relative ease.

The Pick

This is a great bout to kick off the flyweight championship, and it should prove an instant classic. Benavidez is the bigger guy and is probably more likely to score a knockdown off a strike than a pure takedown, as Johnson's scrambles and insane ability to break clear of tie-ups and constantly work will make him to squirrely early. However, over five rounds, Benavidez' punishing attack and well-timed leg kicks should soften Johnson up; that's when Joseph goes to work. Benavidez is pretty much impossible to keep down unless he wants to stay there, and Johnson will have to be virtually perfect to outpoint him over five. In a long enough fight, I just see Benavidez landing something big and turning the bout his way. He'll wear Johnson down with some intense, tactically fascinating back-and-forth exchanges, pressing the attack over the third and fourth round en route to a win via rear naked choke in the fifth.

Benavidez via submission

MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the main card bouts on fight night (Sat., Sept. 22, 2012), which is slated to air at 10 p.m. ET pay-per-view (PPV). The latest quick updates of the live action will begin to flow earlier than that around 7:15 p.m. ET with the "Prelims" match-ups on Facebook and FX.

See you later!

Jason Probst can be reached at twitter.com/jasonprobst

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join MMAmania.com

You must be a member of MMAmania.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at MMAmania.com. You should read them.

Join MMAmania.com

You must be a member of MMAmania.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at MMAmania.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_5349_tracker