You wanted it, you got it. While the fight should have had four rounds the first time around, fans will be treated instead to at least three more in the inaugural UFC flyweight tournament tomorrow night (June 8, 2012) as Demetrious Johnson takes on Ian McCall in the main event of UFC on FX 3 in Sunrise, Florida for the right to challenge for the first UFC 125 pound title.
Demetrious Johnson originally was crowned the winner of their fight the last time before the scorekeeper's error was discovered after the event. He's incredibly motivated to win decisively against "Uncle Creepy" tomorrow night and potentially be the first UFC flyweight champion.
Ian McCall scored a moral victory in the original bout, crushing Johnson in a dominant third round which could have easily been scored 10-8 (and actually was scored that way by one of the presiding judges). He'll be hoping to swing that momentum into a title shot with a victory in the main event.
Will "Mighty Mouse" save the day against McCall? Can McCall be able to keep up with or potentially trap Johnson? Will the rematch be more conclusive this time around? What's the key to victory for both men on Friday night?
Let's find out:
Record: 9-2-1 overall, 2-1-1 in the UFC
Key Wins: Miguel Torres (UFC 130), Norifumi Yamamoto (UFC 126), Nick Pace (WEC 51)
Key Losses: Dominick Cruz (UFC on Versus 6), Brad Pickett (WEC 48)
How he got here:"Mighty Mouse" carried an impressive string of five straight wins on the regional circuit to earn a WEC debut against top bantamweight Brad Pickett in the promotion's first and only pay-per-view event. The AMC Pankration fighter lost a spirited decision to "One Punch" but then proceeded to reel off two consecutive victories in just a few short months against top 15 ranked bantamweights Nick Pace and Damacio Page
He would meet Japanese legend Norifuni "Kid" Yamamoto in his UFC debut this past February and completely outworked the dynamic striker/wrestler over the course of three rounds.
Never one to turn down an opportunity, Johnson stepped up when Brad Pickett dropped out of his UFC 130 bout with Miguel Torres. Despite breaking his leg early in the fight, Johnson gutted through the injury and turned what had been a strong striking performance into a smothering wrestling bout against the former WEC bantamweight champion and pulled out a unanimous decision victory.
Johnson's victory was enough to vault him into title-challenger status and he faced Cruz for the UFC bantamweight belt last October. While he held his own against Dominick Cruz in the stand-up, he was repeatedly taken down by his bigger, stronger foe en route to a unanimous decision defeat.
He dropped to 125 pounds and battled McCall earlier this year, but was disappointed with a majority draw. He's hoping for something more conclusive this time around.
How he gets it done: Demetrious Johnson absolutely needs to utilize his tremendous athletic gifts. Despite dropping down a weight class, he's still expected to be the smaller man as McCall is two inches taller and likely a bit heavier.
One key for Johnson will be speed. He's going to be quicker than McCall and that should help him out in the stand-up considerably. McCall tends to keep his left hand a big low, so that lead right hand from Johnson is going to be huge. I expect to see him dart into range, blast McCall with that right hand and get out before McCall even knows what's happening.
While Johnson has some pretty solid wrestling ability, he should be using it to either keep the fight standing or to force scrambles and get back to his feet if taken down. He faded in the third round of the last fight, so hopefully his conditioning is a bit stronger this time around.
The most important thing for Johnson is not to get too crazy in the stand-up. Yes, his striking is improving, but he can't be so focused on the striking and so aggressive that he leaves himself wide open to easy takedowns. Those can definitely come back to bite him.
Record: 11-2-1 overall, 0-0-1 in the UFC
Key Wins: Jussier da Silva (Tachi Palace Fights 8), Dustin Ortiz (Tachi Palace Fights 9), Darrel Montague (Tachi Palace Fights 10)
Key Losses: Dominick Cruz (WEC 38), Charlie Valencia (WEC 31)
How he got here: Ian McCall has one of the craziest stories of them all. A free spirit, he found himself making some very bad decisions in the early part of his career as he descended into drug addiction. Despite that, he was able to start his career undefeated and earn a trip to the WEC.
He went 1-2 in the promotion, defeating Coty Wheeler but losing to veteran Charlie Valencia. He would score one more fight in the WEC, dropping a decision to current bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and then he spiraled out of control. He would be away from MMA for nearly two years and he nearly died after one particularly bad episode which made him see his mistakes and give up drugs for good.
He victoriously returned to the sport in November of 2010 with a first round triangle choke victory, which earned him a fight against Jussier da Silva, the then-top ranked flyweight fighter in the world. After dropping the first round, McCall stormed back and dominated the Brazilian to upset "Formiga."
"Uncle Creepy" would earn another big fight against Dustin Ortiz, which he dominated en route to a unanimous decision victory and this earned him a shot against Tachi Palace flyweight champion Darell Montague. McCall again looked terrific, hurting Montague on multiple occasions and taking his opponent down before finishing the fight in the third round via rear naked choke.
With that victory, McCall earned the number one flyweight ranking in the world and he signed with the UFC to prove it in the inaugural flyweight tournament. Many fans thought he had done enough to beat Demetrious Johnson the first time around but it was ruled a draw. We'll have to wait and see how he handles "Mighty Mouse" in the rematch.
How he gets it done: McCall can be flat out ferocious at times. He's a very large flyweight and in the stand-up, he's got some serious power in his right hand and he's not afraid to really throw it aggressively.
What he would really like to do is close the distance on Johnson, perhaps get him trapped against the fence because he's got some very dangerous short range attacks. "Uncle Creepy" throws a mean elbow and his knees to the legs and body are equally devastating. As evidenced by the last fight, Johnson is very hard to catch out in the open, so McCall needs to increase his odds if he really wants to land anything convincing..
The most vital weapon for McCall is his solid wrestling ability. If Johnson leaves an opening being too aggressive in the stand-up like he did in his last two fights, the Team Oyama fighter is very capable of changing levels and putting him on his back. From top control, McCall is extremely aggressive with elbows and punches. He almost put Johnson away in the third round of their last fight. Hopefully he doesn't play to the crowd this next time if he has Johnson in a similar situation.
Fight X-Factor: The biggest X-Factor for this fight has to be size. Demetrious Johnson overcompensated the last time around because he was making his first ever cut down to 125 pounds. He dieted too heavily, lost too much muscle and only had to cut two pounds on the day of weigh-ins. He pledged that he would go back to his old routine, the one that gave him all the energy to hang with Dominick Cruz for five rounds in his UFC bantamweight title fight. If the Demetrious Johnson from that 135 pound title fight shows up, he'll have a much better chance of securing a victory this time around.
The other factor has to be confidence. Ian McCall was making his UFC debut plus he was in Australia for the last fight, and he was moments away from a stoppage late in the third round. That has to do wonders for his belief in himself heading into this fight. If he's more confident in his abilities, he's going to be less hesitant to engage and could be more dangerous as well.
Bottom Line: This is the fight I'm looking forward to the most on the entire card. Both Johnson and McCall are extremely dangerous and very exciting fighters. Their last fight won "Fight of the Night" honors for a reason. Both men are capable strikers, wrestlers and can keep up a very quick pace for the full 15 minutes. I expect high octane energy from both men for the full three rounds. This really is a toss-up. Both men are going to try to set a high pace and dictate their style and there's no way it will be boring. In every UFC event event which has featured flyweights fights, the 125-pounders have stolen the show. I expect nothing less tomorrow night.
Who will come out on top at UFC on FX 3? Tell us your predictions in the comments below!