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Posted on March 2, 2012 by John Petit
UFC Flyweight Tournament Semifinals Joseph Benavidez (15-2) vs. Yasuhiro Urushitani (19-4-6)
When you are 15-2, and your only losses are to the number one bantamweight fighter on the planet (Dumminick Cruz,) you know you have a legit contender in the UFC’s Flyweight Tournament. Team Alpha Male’s 27 year old Joseph Benavidez has been primed to drop down to flyweight, and with his training partner Urijah Faber set to face Cruz, the timing couldn’t be more perfect. The 19-4-6 Yasuhiro Urushitani is on a five fight winning streak and has vacated his 123lb belt in Shooto to enter the UFC’s tournament and make his debut in the octagon.
One thing will stand out when you look at Urushitani’s record is he has 14 decision wins in his 19 victories so far, and although Urushitani has finished three of his last five fights, he is fighting a guy who has been getting decision wins against much bigger guys. The thing that stands out in Urushitani’s fighting style is that he doesn’t have a lot of power. Urushitani seems to be a counter striker, but he is going to have a hard time doing that against Benavidez.
I do not have the reach for Urushitani but he is an inch taller than Benavidez, and that could mean he has a reach advantage. However, Benavidez isn’t going to have a problem dealing with that, and has no problems closing the distance to make this fight up close and personal. Benavidez will have a size advantage, and if he feels his punches and strikes aren’t landing he will mug Urushitani up against the fence and work for the take down.
Thats how I see this fight going, and the odds are heavily stacked in Benavidez’s favor for a reason. Although, don’t think for a second because of those numbers Urushitani isn’t a good fighter, or can’t win this fight. Benavidez will feel out his striking and see how Urushitani reacts, and later in rounds he will close the distance for the take downs and win the rounds. My pick is Benavidez by decision.
Height Reach Stance Age
Record UFC Record Last 5 Streak Average Fight Time
Striking Striking Accuracy Striking Defense
Grappling Takedown Accuracy Takedown Defense
5’4 65in Southpaw 27
15-2 2-0 4-1 +3 10:54
19-4-6 0 5-0 +5
UFC DEBUT Vacated Shooto Belt
Demetrious Johnson is coming off of a decision loss to Dominick Cruz after putting together 4 straight wins in the WEC. Ian McCall, since losing to Dominick Cruz, has put together a 4 fight win streak and picked up the Tachi Palace Fights Flyweight Belt. Leaving the belt on the table in Tachi, McCall has an experienced UFC fighter on his hands as well as a number one contender.
To me that’s a big part of this breakdown, the experience factor. McCall has never fought on this type of stage before, and even when he was in the WEC it was in 2009. Not only has Johnson fought in WEC and the UFC, but he has fought at the top of the mountain in a larger weight division. While McCall has been a champion he has not only never been in the octagon, but he is having his first fight on the business end of a card on international television. Although, if you are going to be on a dark horse in this tournament, McCall is your guy. While he has never fought in the UFC, his last three opponents will probably end up on the UFC flyweight roster.
Look for McCall to set up his take downs early in the fight, and he does not want to end up on the bottom so he will be sprawling and trying to avoid scrambles initiated by Johnson. A good idea for McCall would be to try and use leg kicks to keep Johnson on the outside, until he wants to take him down. McCall has been able to take guys and really mark them up on the ground, and he has slowly been getting better at controlling the positions while he was doing it.
I don’t think Johnson would do such a thing, but I really hope he isn’t looking past McCall because he is a real threat. McCall doesn’t have the power to knock him out, but his quick strikes can add up on the cards real fast. I give the edge in wrestling and the scrambles to Johnson, as he is becoming more and more confident in octagon, and he has an interesting way of baiting his opponents into making mistakes. He will also be the more powerful striker, and that’s something McCall will have to keep an eye on the entire fight. Johnson has never been finished in a fight, and McCall has but it was to a submission and not to strikes.
Johnson will come forward the second the fight starts to try and really pressure McCall from the get go. He will be looking to dictate the pace of the fight, and really overwhelm McCall before he knows whats going on. He will basically be smothering McCall to a decision.
5’3 66in Orthodox 25
14-2 2-1 4-1 -1 13:55
5’5 64in Orthodox 27
11-2 0-0 4-1 +4 8:13