Demetrious Johnson and Ian McCall face off at the UFC on FX 2 weigh-ins. Photo by Tracy Lee.
For this UFC on FX 2 fight card primer, we're doing things a little bit differently. Rather than look at every single fight individually, we've broken the show down into 3 separate primers. Earlier, we covered the prelim card. Here, we take a look at most of the main card - check back later for the Thiago Alves vs. Martin Kampmann main event. The main card airs on FX this Friday, March 2 at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT, with prelims airing on Fuel TV starting at 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT.
For their return to FX, the UFC has put a heavy emphasis on their new Flyweight division. Two of the four main card bouts are semi-finals in a four man tournament to determine the inaugural UFC Flyweight champion. The UFC (and the WEC before them) have been talking about adding these 125 pound fighters to the ranks for quite some time, so it will be very exciting to see them finally get their shot. Let's take a look at the two Flyweight fights, plus the main card opener.
In the main card opener, Middleweights Court McGee (13-1; 3-0 UFC) and Constantinos Philippou (9-2, 1 NC; 2-1 UFC) square off. While neither man is currently ranked in the USA TODAY / MMA Nation Consensus MMA Rankings, both are working on establishing their names in the UFC, and I would expect the winner here to get a decent fight next time out.
UFC on FX 2 Main Card Dissections
McGee is the season 11 winner of The Ultimate Fighter. He's won 2 more UFC fights since then, including an impressive victory over Dongi Yang last September. Most TUF winners these days are viewed with a lot of skepticism, but the UFC has done a good job bringing McGee up slowly. This fight is another step up for him, and it will be interesting to see how he does.
Costa Philippou is a boxer training under Matt Serra and Ray Longo. Like McGee, he appeared on season 11 of The Ultimate Fighter, but was eliminated in the opening round and did not make it into the house. Despite this rough start, Philippou has put together a solid UFC career. He's used his boxing well, and looked terrific against Jared Hamman in his last fight. Philippou is a fighter with a lot of promise who I'm excited to see more from.
Check out the rest of the card plus more UFC on FX 2 preview coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.
Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson is familiar to UFC fans for his UFC Bantamweight title shot against Dominick Cruz last October. Johnson proved to be a tough challenge for Cruz, but dropped a unanimous decision. His two UFC wins both come against major names - Miguel Torres and Kid Yamamoto. Prior to his UFC run, he was 2-1 in the WEC, with his only loss coming against Brad Pickett. Long held up as one of the fastest and smallest Bantamweight fighters, Johnson seems like he'll be right at home at 125.
Ian "Uncle Creepy" McCall was last seen in Tachi Palace Fights were he was the Flyweight champion. A former WEC Bantamweight with a 2009 loss to Cruz, McCall has had great success in his recent Flyweight run. Last year, he defeated Jussier da Silva - commonly viewed as the top Flyweight in the world at the time. As a result, McCall is now considered by many to be #1 at 125. For a more in-depth look at McCall, check out my feature from earlier this week.
Flyweight semi-final #2 is Joseph Benavidez (15-2; 2-0 UFC) vs. Yasuhiro Urushitani (19-4-6; UFC Debut). Interestingly, this fight is one of the largest betting spreads in UFC history, with Urushitani a massive underdog to Benevidez.
Joseph Benavidez is a Team Alpha Male fighter who made a name for himself in the WEC Bantamweight division. With wins over Jeff Curran, Miguel Torres, and Wagnney Fabiano, he has established himself as one of the best at 135. Unfortunately, he also holds 2 loses to Cruz, so as long as Cruz remains champion, Benevidez's title aspirations seemed on hold. The opening of the Flyweight division is a huge benefit for him, and with his combination of wrestling and striking, he makes a formidable challenge for any other Flyweight.
Yasuhiro Urushitani is a 10 year veteran who has fought primarily in Japan's Shooto organization. There, he is the 123 pound division champion, and his last fight was a successful title defense. Urushitani is primarily a striker, and will surely look to keep the fight standing against Benavidez. While I think those betting lines are a bit harsh, he definitely has his work cut out for him here. For more on Urushitani, again, check out my feature.
Why should you care?
McGee vs. Philippou is a fine fight, but it's the Flyweight action that is the real selling point here. These are four highly entertaining fighters, and I can't wait to see what this new division brings to the UFC. Plus it's a tournament - and seriously, what MMA fan doesn't love a good tournament?
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