History was made at the Air Canada Center in Toronto on Saturday night as Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson captured the first ever UFC flyweight championship at UFC 152.
Johnson won the belt via split decision in a five-round classic against Joseph Benavidez in the UFC 152 co-main event.
Johnson took round one by utilizing his superior footwork. Benavidez loaded up with strikes and attempted several takedowns, but Johnson was nowhere to be found. Johnson landed two right hands. In the final seconds of the round, Benavidez rolled for a knee bar, but Johnson easily thwarted the attempt.
In round two, Benavidez found his range and landed more of his strikes. After mixing up his strikes with failed takedown attempts, Benavidez landed a hard right hand, but Johnson was unfazed.
Mighty Mouse got back into the swing of things in round three and managed to cut Benavidez with a counter right hook. Much of the round Johnson stayed at a distance and landed solid body kicks. Towards the end of the round Benavidez landed a right hand.
Benavidez landed a hard right that dropped Johnson early in round four. From there, Benavidez went for a one-arm guillotine in full mount, but Johnson escaped. Late in the round, Johnson turned the tables by ducking under and scored two incredibly fast takedowns.
In the final round, Johnson looked the fresher of the two flyweights. Mighty Mouse ducked under and scored two more takedowns in his favor. Johnson rolled over into side control after both takedowns, but Benavidez immediately scrambled to his feet every time. Benavidez made every attempt to land his strikes late in the round but Johnson was far too quick on his feet.
The judges scored the fight 48-47, 47-48, 49-46 as a split decision in favor of Demetrious Johnson.
In the end, Johnson was shocked that Benavidez was up on the scorecards at all, but he’s still happy he won the world title.
“I was a little shocked, I felt that on the stand-up that I got him there,” Johnson said post-fight. “I took him down more and he didn’t take me down once. I controlled him and had his back, but hey, you know, the judges are doing their job, and I’m doing my job and that is to just fight.
“It means the world, but I still got to improve on a lot of things. It was like I said, ‘if I become champion, I’m going to go home and rest and then prepare for the next battle.”