After an exciting seven-fight preliminary card takes place, the real fast-paced action begins when the UFC flyweight tournament finally gets under way. Australia plays host to one of more exciting non-PPV cards in recentl history in UFC on FX 2: Alves vs Kampmann, headlined by an exciting welterweight tilt between Martin Kampmann and Thiago Alves. Tonight’s card promises to be a fantastic one, and, fortunately for fans, just the start of an action packed weekend of MMA.
Below is my look at what to expect from the main card:
Court McGee (14-1) vs. Constantinos Philippou (9-2 1 NC)
Following a ho-hum decision victory over Dongi Yang, Ultimate Fighter 11 winner McGee looks to continue his inspiring life story and score yet another UFC win. While “The Crusher” may not be known for his exciting fight style, he’s a hell of a fighter and has never been finished in his career.
Philippou underwhelmed fans in his first two UFC appearances, but he followed up nicely by laying an absolute beating on Jared Hamman in his third outing. The Serra-Longo Fight Team fighter has heavy hands and showed a new level of explosiveness in that particular pairing. He works best in the early portion of a fight and has the tools to put away his opponents violently.
While McGee may take some punishment, as he sometimes has been known to do, I expect he’ll recover while dictating the pace and location of the fight. Once McGee gets into a dominate position, and he will, he will control Philippou, ground and pound him, and grind him out for the duration of the bout.
Winner – Court McGee defeats Constantinos Philippou via Unanimous Decision
The first flyweight bout in UFC history features the former bantamweight title challenger Johnson making his divisional debut inside the Octagon. Johnson is an exceptionally fast fighter with very dominant wrestling skills. The 25-year old closes the distance quickly and tends to put pressure on his opponents. Explosive on the ground, he is hard to deal with, and at 125 pounds he should find considerably more success.
The #1 ranked flyweight in the world, McCall certainly has an advantage in the moustache department. The former Tachi Palace Fights flyweight champ has fought under the Zuffa banner before, going 1-2 in the WEC but faced stiff competition and, to be fair, had trouble with drugs at the time and hadn’t put much focus into his training. Since being legally dead and coming back to life, McCall has turned his life around and gotten back on track. He makes his debut on the grandest stage of them all and looks to live up to his #1 ranking in this bout.
I’m biased. I have been a fan of Ian for a long, long time, and I’m hoping he wins this fight. “Mighty Mouse” has a clear advantage in the wrestling, and if (and likely when) this fight hits the ground, Johnson should be able to scramble out of any unfavorable positions and control the fight. However, “Uncle Creepy” is always dangerous. He has excellent Muay Thai, solid BJJ, and his size/speed will almost certainly negate Johnson’s normal speed advantage. Johnson’s the favorite, for good reason, but I’m going with McCall based on his familiarity with the division and overall skill-set.
Winner – Ian McCall defeats Demetrious Johnson via Split Decision
Joseph Benavidez (15-2) vs Yasuhiro Urushitani (19-4-6)
“Joegun Rua” is basically the uncrowned king of the flyweight division. Widely regarded as the favorite in this tournament, the Team Alpha Male fighter has defeated some of the best 135ers out there and looks to continue his streak of dominance at 125. Benavidez loves to stand and bang, but when he gets into his groove he takes the fight to the ground and puts the pressure on.
Shooto veteran Urushitani draws the short straw in this tournament. While being very successful in Japan, he faces a very stiff challenge in Benavidez to say the least. With most of his victories coming by decision, there’s no question that Yasuhiro can go the distance and control the pace/location of a fight. He is a solid counter-striker and often relies on a point fighting style to take him to victory.
I don’t like to underestimate fighters, but Urushitani needs a miracle here. Benavidez is an unstoppable force, and at 125 he should be a monster. I expect he dominates in the clinch and on the ground, doesn’t gas, dictates every aspect of this fight, and scores a submission late in the fight.
Winner – Joseph Benavidez defeats Yasuhiro Urushitani via Submission Round 3
Thiago Alves (19-8) vs Martin Kampmann (18-5)
“Pitbull” needs consistency. 2-3 in his last five, Alves made short work of Papy Abedi in his last fight and looks to continue his rise back to the top by defeating Kampmann. A powerful striker and dangerous fighter in general, Alves takes a step up from his previous opponent but such a step is necessary as he looks to get back into the mix at 170 pounds.
Kampmann gets robbed all too often. Following questionable and controversial decision losses to Jake Shields and Diego Sanchez, the polished Dane bounced back and made people forget who Rick Story was back in November. “The Hitman” frequently uses crisp and accurate striking inside the Octagon and unquestionably has the advantage on the feet against most of his colleagues.
This fight likely stays on the feet where Kampmann undoubtedly has the technical advantage. However, Alves is always dangerous and has violent power in his hands. If Alves can keep his wits about him, not gas, and keep the fight on the feet, he should be able to get the victory. If the fight hits the ground, Kampmann has a whole arsenal of submissions at his disposal that not many have seen based on his love of kickboxing. I wish this fight was five rounds, because it seems likely to go the distance and perhaps be very close, but alas it is one of the few three-round headliners left on the UFC’s schedule. I was even tempted to go out on a limb and say Alves knocks Kampmann out, but after much deliberation I think Kampmann takes a very, very close decision. However, I won’t be surprised if Alves does finish him.
Winner – Martin Kampmann defeats Thiago Alves via Split Decision
All in all, the flyweight tournament, as well as the main event, should deliver the action-packed night of fights that we’ve all come to expect from the UFC. It all goes down at 9:00 PM EST on FX in the US and Rogers Sportsnet in Canada.
Throw a shrimp on the Bar-B, crack a cold Fosters, and, as always, enjoy the fights!
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC