The flyweights have arrived!
Demetrious Johnson and Ian McCall kicked off the semifinals of UFC flyweight tournament at UFC on FX 2: Alves vs. Kampmann on Friday, making history as the first flyweights to compete in the famed UFC Octagon.
Johnson dropped down to the flyweight division after losing a decision to bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz in October. McCall, the Tachi Palace Fights flyweight titleholder, moved from the 135-pound weight class to flyweight in Feb. of 2011 and has strung together three consecutive wins in the new division. He was widely considered the top ranked 125-pound fighter in the world heading into the match up.
Johnson’s speed was the difference in the early going. He was able to move in and out landing leg kicks and punches and get out before McCall could counter. McCall secured two takedowns in the opening round but Johnson quickly worked his way back to his feet both times.
Johnson won the striking exchanges in the second round but McCall began to turn the tide.
The final round McCall nearly finished Johnson in the closing seconds. He secured three takedowns during the final frame and had Johnson mounted, twice. He pounded away with punches as the referee paid close attention. Johnson survived the onslaught and the judges would decide the winner.
The three judges’ cage-side scored the bout for Demetrious Johnson by split decision.
“I thought I won the first two rounds. He took it to me in the third,” said Johnson following the fight.
“I wasn’t close to being finished,” said Johnson about the final moments of the bout. “I just kept on pushing through. I knew I had the first two rounds in the bag.”
It was a close fight as indicated by the split decision scoring and Johnson believes he and McCall will meet again inside the cage in the future.
“Definitely. Ian McCall is tough. He’s ranked number one in the world. He’s a tough guy. It was a huge challenge,” he said.
With the win, Johnson solidified his place in the finals of the flyweight tournament and secured his shot at becoming the first UFC flyweight champion.