The semi-finals of a four man tournament to determine the inaugural UFC flyweight champion will take place on UFC on FX 2: The Electric Boogaloo. Like the sequel to Breakin, it will probably feature lots of fast movement and an appearance by Ice-T.
Top ten bantamweight Demetrius "Mighty Mouse" Johnson will face former Tachi Palace flyweight champion Ian "Uncle Creepy" McCall. On the other side of the bracket is former Shooto Bantamweight champion Yasuhiro Urushitani going up against top three bantamweight Joseph "Joe B-Wan Kenobi" Benavidez.
I fully expect to see Mighty Mouse and Benavidez to advance and compete for the title (although all these fights should be competitive), and would favor Benavidez to be the first UFC flyweight champion. After that though, what's next? Personally I wouldn't be surprised to see if the losers on both sides of the brackets face off for the first crack at the belt. This still leaves a question as to who is going to fill out this division. I am sure John Dodson and Louis Gaudinot are going to drop down. So right now we have about seven fighters under Zuffa off the top of my head that can make up the UFC flyweight division (I believe John Lineker has also signed with the UFC). Fortunately for Zuffa, there are quite a bit of quality flyweights outside the UFC that can fill out this division. These are just some guys off the top of my head that come to mind.
Jussier Da Silva
Da Silva was the former number one flyweight in the world until he was defeated by Ian McCall in a fight were Ian McCall punched himself in the face. His nickname Formiga, which is Portuguese for ant. It makes perfect sense, because this little fucker gets on your back like an insect and doesn't come off until fifteen minutes minutes are up or he taps you out (unless you're a man with a vaudeville mustache who punches himself in the face of course). If he's brought in he is an immediate contender at 125 pounds. Personally, he might not be the most exciting fighter but his technical grappling ability certainly has fine moments and can give a lot of fighters fits.
Just look at that afro. Outside of being a good striker, he is known as being one of the more unfadable Asian fighters. He is the funkiest flyweight fighter eating all ya'll jive turkeys for breakfast. Unfortunately Mamoru is in his mid thirties and doesn't really have long to compete as a top fighter in his division (and I think he has looked a little slower as of late). Fortunately his technical kickboxing and counter punching style is quite enjoyable to watch, and he can be a very good fighter who can put up some entertaining fights if matched up properly. Like most Asian fighters he could definitely improve by going to train at a top camp like AKA, Jackson's, ATT, Tristar, or Xtreme Couture (or other smaller but excellent training camps), but ultimately I doubt most Japanese talent will realize the benefits of training with their American counterparts. Still, I think he is a UFC level talent in this new division.
He is coming off a loss to Ian McCall, but I still think that Montague has a lot of potential and would be a good addition to the UFC roster. He is pretty young and made some tactical mistakes in his fight against McCall (most notably dropping down for an ill advised guillotine), which might improve as he gets more experienced. He did take a fair amount of punishment from Uncle Creepy during the second round of their fight and was still aggressive in the stand up before he got taken down an submitted in the third.
Although Gomez has bounced around between flyweight and bantamweight, I see his future being in the flyweight division. He is a good grappler and I think he has some potential, but ultimately I don't know if he is ever an level fighter. I look at his overall game and think that with enough improvement, he can be a top ranked flyweight. That's not really based on anything I've seen, only my gut (which has only gotten smaller as I've continued to lose weight for what that's worth).
Charlie Valencia- Every division needs gatekeepers, and Valencia has certainly been in the cage with some really accomplished talent. Also only one of two men to ever defeat Ian McCall.
Will Campuzano- Another former Zuffa employee. He was supposed to fight Ian McCall for the Tachi Palace title until injuries scrapped the matchup. Fairly unsuccessful at bantamweight, but someone I wouldn't be shocked to come in at 125 and get another shot in the UFC.
Dustin Ortiz- Recently came back from his only loss (to McCall) with a third round stoppage of Josh Rave. He might be a guy Zuffa has on their radar.
Shinichi Kojima- Don't know much about this guy. Maybe he's related to the guy who invented Metal Gear? Kidding aside, taking two years off is never a good sign, even if he has won twice since his return.
Phil Harris- A British fighter, so he might get into the UFC on that alone. He also fought Jose Aldo, but quite honestly I'm having a bunch of trouble getting any kind of footage on this guy. He has nine losses, but that might be attributed to the fights he has taken above his weight.
Just something I'm going to throw out. I'm not anyone's nutritionist, but there are a couple of guys think can make flyweight. Kid Yamamoto is someone who comes to mind immediately (if he still even has a job with the UFC) presuming what I've read of him walking around at 143 pounds is true. Also a guy like Joe Warren who could potentially be out of a job by the end of next year could probably make the cut as well.
Next year the UFC is going to crown a new flyweight king, and the UFC Flyweight championship in some ways can be called the lineal successor to both the Tachi Palace Flyweight championship and the Shooto World Bantamweight champions. The winner of this tournament will have the right to be called the greatest flyweight on earth, and if any of these guys want to be known as the Flyweight King, there will only be one place to prove. The Octagon.
*All photos coutesy of Sherdog.com
**Come on! Look at that afro. If that thing ain't swag, nothing else is. Not even Based God.
*** I have an obessive compulsion to group stuff into threes, so this third bullet is completely meaningless. Now go, read some of the great content on this site and stop wasting it on reading my dreadful fanposts