• UFC 152

Flyweight joy for Mighty Mouse

ESPN staff
September 23, 2012 « Jones survives huge Belfort scare | Chartbeat test »
Demetrious Johnson is the UFC flyweight champion © Getty Images
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Demetrious Johnson was crowned the first ever UFC flyweight champion in Toronto on Saturday, and barely has a fighter ever been more deserving of the company's gold strap.

Undoubtedly one of the UFC's most technically gifted competitors - and surely the quickest - Johnson had already failed to take the bantamweight crown from Dominick Cruz when he lacked size and strength. At UFC 152, in his more natural home at 125lbs, he upset the odds with a 48-47 47-48 49-46 split decision victory over Joseph Benavidez to become the inaugural flyweight champion.

"It means the world," Johnson said after the fight. "I've still got to prove a lot of things. Now I get back in the gym for my next battle."

Benavidez carried the greater power into the fight and had his moments - most notably dropping Johnson in the fourth. But his threat on the ground was rendered all-but-inconsequential as Johnson stuffed all three takedown attempts.

It was a case of the matador against the bull in the early stages of the fight as Johnson lured Benavidez in, only for the Team Alpha Male man to find nobody was there when he swung. Johnson took the first round with Benavidez claiming the second, landing a big right as he settled into the contest.

Benavidez was the aggressor but his attacks were often countered by the jab of Johnson, who bloodied the left eye of his rival to take the third.

The closest either man came to a finish arrived in the fourth as Benavidez dropped Johnson with a right hand, looking for the guillotine from side mount. However, Johnson's ground defence was exceptional, and he ended the round on top - digging the body of Benavidez.

As they entered the fifth, Johnson had landed 39 body shots to Benavidez's eight, and he was also the more accurate striker. All that came together in the fifth, combined with a couple of successful takedowns as Johnson finally landed the gold that his talent deserves.

UFC 152 results:
Jon Jones def Vitor Belfort via submission (americana) at 0:54 of round 4
Demetrious Johnson def Joseph Benavidez via split decision 48-47 47-48 49-46
Michael Bisping def Brian Stann via unanimous decision 29-28 29-28 29-28
Matt Hamill def Roger Hollett via unanimous decision 29-28 30-27 30-27
Cub Swanson def Charles Oliveira via KO at 2.40 of round 1
Vinny Magalhaes def Igor Pokrajac via submission (armbar) at 1.14 of round 2
TJ Grant def Evan Dunham via unanimous decision 29-28 30-27 29-28
Sean Pierson def Lance Benoist via unanimous decision 29-28 29-28 29-28
Marcus Brimage def Jimy Hettes via unanimous decision 29-28 29-28 29-28
Seth Baczynski def Simeon Thoresen via KO at 4.10 of round 1
Mitch Gagnon def Walel Watson via submission (rear naked choke) at 1.09 of round 1
Kyle Noke def Charlie Brenneman via TKO at 0.45 of round 1

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