Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Bloody Elbow presents their UFC 156 fight card primer, previewing all the action at the UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar PPV. Here, we look at the PPV opener: Joseph Benavidez vs. Ian McCall.
The UFC 156 PPV kicks off with a fight of the night candidate as Joseph Benavidez (16-3 MMA; 3-1 UFC) faces Ian McCall (11-3-1 MMA; 0-1-1 UFC). This Flyweight fight is the first of five PPV main card fights. UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar airs live from Las Vegas this Saturday night, February 2, with the PPV main card beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT.
Benavidez vs. McCall is a sort of unofficial battle for the #2 spot in the fledgling Flyweight division. Both men were participants in the division's inaugural tournament last year, and both men's only UFC losses comes against champion Demetrious Johnson. With Mighty Mouse taking care of top contender John Dodson on Fox last weekend, Flyweight is in need of a new challenger. While neither one of these men provide a new, fresh match-up, the division's current lack of depth may allow this winner to slide in for a rematch. A big, impressive win on PPV from either man would certainly help sway opinion towards that title shot.
How do these two stack up?
Benavidez: 28 years old | 5'4" | 65" reach
McCall: 28 years old | 5'5"
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Joseph Benavidez is a member of Team Alpha Male, and like pretty much all Alpha Male fighters, he is a fast paced wrestler with good striking who likes to push the pace. He had great success in the WEC Bantamweight division, going 5-2 with his only losses coming against Dominick Cruz. He made a successful transition to the UFC, dropping down to Flyweight when that division was launched. While he lost the first ever Flyweight title fight to Johnson, that was a close split decision loss where Benavidez acquitted himself quite well. Based on that fight, a rematch certainly would make sense.
"Uncle Creepy" Ian McCall was something of a cult figure even before his UFC debut. Prior to the establishment of the UFC Flyweight division, you could have made a strong case that McCall was the #1 fighter in the world at 125. So far, inside the Octagon, he has only faced Johnson, going 0-1-1 thanks to a controversial draw. That draw provides a good story for a 3rd meeting between the two, although their second fight was a pretty definitive Johnson win. McCall has long struggled with various personal issues, including a serious drug overdose a few years ago. He has the potential to be one of the best in the world, but its uncertain just how clear his head is right now.
Why should you care?
I love watching both of these guys fight. They are fast, complete fighters who perform exceptionally well in every area. This should be a barn-burner.