Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson will defend his crown opposite Tim Elliott TONIGHT (Dec. 3, 2016) at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 24 Finale: "Tournament of Champions" inside Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Johnson has been dominating his division for years now, and there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight. "Mighty Mouse" is simply stellar in all areas, and no one is sure who — if anyone — is the man to beat him. Looking to rise to the occasion is Tim Elliott, who put on a string of strong performances on TUF to earn this unique opportunity. Elliott does have high-level experience and has improved since his first UFC run, but he’s still an absolutely massive underdog against the pound-for-pound kingpin.
Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for both men:
Key Wins: Joe Benavidez (UFC 152, UFC on Fox 9), John Dodson (UFC 191, UFC on Fox 6), Ian McCall (UFC on FX 3), Henry Cejudo (UFC 197)
Key Losses: Dominick Cruz (UFC on Versus 6)
Keys to Victory: Johnson is ranked as the greatest fighter in the world for a reason. He’s a very skilled kickboxer at every range, times his double leg like few others, and has finished a fair number of top contenders via submission.
There simply aren’t many weaknesses to his game.
In this bout, Johnson just needs to stick to the script. The problems with Elliott’s style have been exposed by the highest level of fighter before, and Johnson has all the tools to give him hell for it. At first, Johnson just needs to stay on the outside and work long range strikes. He’ll win from that distance, so Elliott will be forced to close the distance or take a shot from too far out.
Either way, Johnson should be able to come out on top of the wrestling exchanges. Once there, Johnson is in control and can hunt for submissions, ideally adding another finish to his resume.
Key Wins: Illiarde Santos (Titan FC 34), Louis Gaudinot (UFC 164), Jared Papazian (TUF 16 Finale)
Key Losses: Joseph Benavidez (UFC 172), John Dodson (UFC on FOX 3), Zach Makovsky (UFC Fight Night 60)
Keys to Victory: Elliott is a wild man on the feet with a powerful offensive wrestling game. On the mat, he’s an aggressive front choke player with some creative scrambles.
It may be quite unlikely, but there is a definite chance Elliott could surprise Johnson and fans in this match up.
Historically, the fighters who beat and troubled "Mighty Mouse" were bigger, stronger wrestlers. At Flyweight, there are few men more physically imposing than Elliott, and his offensive takedowns have thrown around the likes of men like Benavidez and Ali Bagautinov. If he could overpower them, it’s not impossible that he could do the same here.
Additionally, Elliott has a ton of confidence inside the Octagon. A lot of fighters are hesitant opposite a champion like Johnson, but Elliott will go after his opponent like he always does, and that can’t hurt his chances.
Bottom Line: It should be a fun scrap for the Flyweight title.
For Johnson, this is just another title defense. The consequences are the same as ever: Johnson is trying to add another successful defense to the list, and his opponent is desperate to take him out. Pretty standard stuff for the last three years now. With a win, Johnson is in the same exact spot. He can either keep defending his title or pursue a super fight, the same options he has right now. A loss would certainly be shocking, but "Mighty Mouse" would definitely receive a rematch.
As for Elliott, the stakes are much higher. He worked very hard for this title shot and is being given his chance, and the odds are slim that he’ll receive another. It’s now-or-never. A win would be huge. Elliott would have to fight him again, but it would be a huge upset and earn him as much fame as Matt Serra received for knocking out Georges St-Pierre. It would immediately become a massive moment in mixed martial arts (MMA) history and an incredible story.
TONIGHT TUF 24 Finale, Demetrious Johnson and Tim Elliott will battle for the belt. Which man will leave strapped with gold?