UFC 152: September 22, 2012 Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada UFC Flyweight Title Bout Joseph Benavidez (-280) Profile: Benavidez (16-2) is 6-1 in his last seven fights with the lone loss during that stretch coming against UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz at WEC 50. He is 3-0 in the UFC and earned Knockout of the Night honors in his flyweight semifinal win over Yasuhiro Urushitani at UFC on FX 2. The 27-year-old southpaw started training with UFC bantamweight contender Urijah Faber’s Team Alpha Male in 2007 and has previously defeated the likes of Eddie Wineland and Ian Loveland in the UFC along with Miguel Angel Torres and Jeff Curran in the WEC. His only two career losses have come against Cruz in the WEC. Demetrious Johnson (+210) Profile: Johnson (15-2-1) will be fighting for the UFC’s first flyweight title after losing to Dominick Cruz for the bantamweight championship last October 1. The 25-year-old from Washington earned a unanimous decision win against Ian McCall in a semifinal bout at UFC on FX 3 after the two fought to a draw on March 3. “Mighty Mouse” thought he had walked away with a victory against McCall the first time around, but a scoring mistake changed the decision and forced a rematch for the right to face Benavidez for the title. McCall’s only other previous loss came against Brad Pickett in his WEC debut at WEC 48 on April 24, 2010. He is 3-1-1 in the UFC with a notable win over Miguel Angel Torres at UFC 130. Opening UFC 152 Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas has installed Benavidez as the -280 favorite (bet $280 to win $100) while Johnson opened as a +210 underdog (bet $100 to win $210) according to the MMA odds. These are definitely two of the top flyweights in the UFC according to the MMAOB MMA Fighter Rankings, although McCall remains in the mix and could meet the winner of this matchup despite losing to Johnson. Benavidez and Johnson have both lost to a common opponent in Cruz but have since moved down a weight class in hopes of being crowned the UFC’s first flyweight champion. Not much separates these two fighters, although Johnson will be coming off hernia surgery, which could affect his training. Benavidez has steadily improved all aspects of his game since training with Team Alpha Male and should be well-rested and healthier heading into this title fight, giving him the edge.
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