History was made at UFC 152: "Jones vs. Belfort" tonight (Sat., Sept. 22, 2012) at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, as Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson went to war with the first ever flyweight championship on the line.
They got here by winning their semifinal bouts against Yushihiro Hiroshitani and Ian McCall, respectively, though it took Johnson an extra battle against McCall to earn his slot in the finals. They also got here via their inability to defeat Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz, which forced the cut to 125-pounds in the first place.
Against each other, though? It was close -- split decision close -- but Johnson reigned supreme.
The fans in attendance were none too impressed with the little guys doing big things under the bright lights. The pace was fast, the punches faster, but Johnson's takedowns and speedy in-and-out game was frustrating. Effective, but frustrating.
For everyone, not just Benavidez.
Benavidez was the early aggressor, pushing forward with punches and pressing Johnson against the cage while he tried to trip him -- or throw him, whatever worked -- to the floor. Neither happened.
As expected, they cut a blistering pace throughout the entire opening frame. Contrary to popular opinion, though, Benavidez seemed to do just fine matching speed and quickness with "Mighty Mouse."
Johnson started having success avoiding late and the tide seemed to be turning.
The following rounds played out exactly the way UFC President Dana White and every fan in the arena didn't want it to. The two were evenly matched, which is good, but it led to a lot of punches missing between two really small guys who were moving really fast.
That was until round four when Benavidez knocked Johnson off balance and put him down before locking in a guillotine. "Joe-B" moved to mount and did everything he could to finish the choke but he just couldn't do it.
This led to a furious reversal and Johnson changing his fortunes with a takedown and a crazy sequence to get to one minute remaining in an insane round that looked like it was the end of Johnson. Instead he closed it out by taking Benavidez down and drilling him with short elbows to the body.
Johnson took control of round five with a couple slams, making sure to score the necessary points to work his game the rest of the way. That's what he did and by the end, it was his belt.
But do you Maniacs really care after that performance?
Remember, too, to check out MMAmania.com's complete coverage of the UFC 152 event by clicking here.