Can Joseph Benavidez become Team Alpha Male’s first UFC champion? | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
The world’s top fighters at 125 pounds are poised to duke it out for a second time.
Demetrious Johnson will defend his Ultimate Fighting Championship flyweight crown against Team Alpha Male’s Joseph Benavidez in the UFC on Fox 9 main event on Saturday at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif. “Mighty Mouse” defeated Benavidez by split decision at UFC 152 in September 2012 to become the promotion’s first 125-pound titleholder.
Since outdueling Benavidez, Johnson has successfully defended his championship twice, outdueling “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 14 winner John Dodson in January before submitting John Moraga with a fifth-round armbar six months later. Benavidez, meanwhile, has rebounded from his defeat to “Mighty Mouse” with victories over Ian McCall, Darren Uyenoyama and Jussier da Silva.
Sherdog.com touched base with a number of professional fighters and trainers to gauge their opinions on the UFC on Fox 9 headliner:
Brock Jardine: They are definitely the best two flyweights in the world. I really enjoy watching these guys fight. I think Team Alpha Male will have its first UFC champ. I think Benavidez has the power to finish the fight. He wins by TKO in the second round.
Brian Melancon: I got Benavidez getting redemption in this one.
Nick Ring: Johnson wins.
T.J. Waldburger: I give it to “Mighty Mouse” with a submission. That’s going to be an exciting fight.
James Vick: I got “Mighty Mouse” by unanimous decision.
Tom DeBlass: I honestly could not pick a winner. I’m sure it will be exciting, though.
Mike Ciesnolevicz: I am not overly interested in this weight class, but I will take Johnson by decision. I think he is just a little bit better everywhere than Benavidez and should be able to win most of the scrambles.
Gabe Ruediger: That fight has split decision written all over it. There is always the possibility of a finish, but those two are very evenly matched. This time, however, I think Benavidez will take the title.
Ricardo Liborio: This will be an awesome fight again. Benavidez is getting the win this time.
Joe Duarte: Johnson wins by decision.
J.J. Ambrose: Benavidez wins with his signature guillotine in round three.
Jeff Hougland: These guys have both proven time after time that they truly are the two best flyweights in the world. I’m going to root for my fellow Washingtonian, but I think Benavidez is going to probably submit or TKO Johnson and become the new champ; but hey, what the hell do I know? I’m just going to kick back, crack open a cold one and enjoy the show.
Ray Elbe: What a fight. Working with the wizard Matt Hume, I’m sure Johnson will be ready to defend his championship belt. My prediction is “Might Mouse” by decision.
Bristol Marunde: “Mighty Mouse” is beginning to achieve the champion status of “When will he lose?” Benavidez, although highly skilled, may fall short yet again.
Igor Araujo: Crazy fight. I have Johnson by decision after a war.
Travis Wiuff: Johnson wins by decision.
Nam Phan: Benavidez all the way.
Kyle Kingsbury: Benavidez has been flawless. He gets the decision.
John Gunderson: I’m going with Benavidez. I’ve trained with the guy before, and he has nasty power for that weight class. I thought he would take it the first time, and I still think he can take out “Mighty Mouse.”
Eric Prindle: Benavidez wins by decision.
Colton Smith: The boys at Team Alpha Male are on a roll. This shouldn’t change, as Benavidez outworks the champ en route to a five-round decision victory.
Javier Vazquez: Interesting fight. Both fighters have improved, and the X-factor is the coaching of Duane Ludwig. Benavidez was so close in the last fight, and I think he may have made the necessary adjustments to become the first UFC champion for Team Alpha Male. Benavidez wins by split decision.
THE FINAL TALLYPros Picking Benavidez: 11
Pros Picking Johnson: 9
No Pick: 1
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