Demetrious Johnson was a decided underdog coming into his UFC flyweight title fight with Joseph Benavidez at UFC 152. He made some bettors very happy with a split decision victory to become the first 125-pound champion in the organization's history. He got rocked in the fourth round and was in major trouble, but he got the best of a few rounds with timely takedowns, knees to the body, and good counters. Benavidez was definitely close to claiming the title himself, but he came up just a bit short. The judges had it 48-47, 47-48, 49-46 in favor of Mighty Mouse.
Johnson started the fight with a nice right, and the fighters clinched. Benavidez clinched up against the cage and looked for a takedown, but ate some Johnson knees for his efforts. Johnson caught Joe B. coming in and landed a nice straight right. Both fighters landed some kicks, but Benavidez ate yet another left and some knees to the body. Benavidez looked for a takedown late, but Johnson ended up on top while Benavidez looked for a kneebar.
Benavidez got off to a better start in round two, finding his range a bit and landing some punches. Benavidez got to chasing a bit, but he was finding a home for his right. Johnson got around onto Benavidez's back as he advanced and landed a nice knee, but couldn't get it to the floor. Benavidez landed a solid left, then a big right. Overall, it was a good round for the Team Alpha Male fighter.
Neither fighter landed anything significant early in round three. Benavidez tried to land a big kick but Johnson had already moved away. Johnson opened a cut over Joe's eye. Benavidez landed a nice uppercut. Benavidez caught a kick and got a takedown, but Johnson popped right up. Benavidez started to connect a little more late. Joe got poked in the eye, but the referee wouldn't stop it. Both men landed a couple of punches over the rest of the round, but nothing significant.
Johnson landed a nice counter right hook after a slick scramble on the feet early in the fourth. Benavidez finally connected with the big right that dropped Johnson. Benavidez looked for a guillotine immediately, locked it up, and jumped into mount. Joe was squeezing away but couldn't get the finish with a single arm. Johnson escaped and briefly looked for a leglock, but Benavidez popped out and eventually ended up in side control, then north south. Johnson spun out and they returned to the feet. Benavidez looked for another takedown, but Johnson ended up on top. Benavidez popped up, but Johnson took his back briefly. Johnson flew in and got a takedown, but Benavidez got up right away and landed a kick. Johnson ducked a punch and got a takedown into side control. Johnson landed big punches to the body to close out an exciting round.
After a slow start to the final round, Johnson got a takedown, then another after Joe popped up. He couldn't keep him down though. Johnson got yet another takedown into side control, and actually held him down for a little while. Not long though, Benavidez was up within ten seconds. The fighters traded right hands. Benavidez shot in but ate a kick for his troubles. Each man stuffed takedowns from the other one. Benavidez found a home for his right a couple of times. Johnson looked for a takedown to close out the fight.