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Profiling the Champion: Demetrious Johnson of the Flyweight Division

Derek Bowe

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With the UFC’s Flyweight division still in its relative infancy, after only being a part of the organization for slightly over three years, it’s hard to imagine any other fighter at the top of its heap, as the dominance of champion Demetrious Johnson has been nothing short of amazing. The fighter known as Mighty Mouse embodies everything associated with the word mighty since he claimed the flyweight crown in 2012.

Johnson made his organizational debut with the UFC in February of 2011 against a highly respected star in Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto, a fight which was not expected to be a favorable outcome for the young Johnson. That all changed when he outclassed the Japanese star to earn a unanimous decision victory in his debut. The road would not get any easier his next time out as his step up in competition came against former champion and ranked pound-for-pound fighter, Miguel Torres. Johnson would go on to prove doubters wrong yet again, beating Torres to another unanimous decision earning him a shot at the current champion of the men’s bantamweight division, defending champion Dominick Cruz. The title fight was a tough one for Johnson, he was undersized, yet made the fight competitive in the early rounds against Cruz before being defeated by the champion over the course of five rounds. Understanding that size was an issue, as he was out-wrestled and out-muscled in the matchup, Johnson sought a move down to a new weight class being formed, the 125-pound flyweight division.

The inaugural bouts of the flyweight division were introduced as part of a four-man tournament, of which Johnson was included as part of the quartet. He would be pitted against former Tachi Palace champion Ian McCall. Their bout was grueling and came down to some controversial judging which gave Johnson the win, only to be overturned to a draw due to an error by the judge. A rematch was set and Johnson overmatched McCall everywhere en route to a showdown with the challenger waiting in the wings, Joseph Benavidez, to crown the divisions first champion. Johnson beat Benavidez to the surprise of many and earned the belt, the UFC had its first Flyweight champion, a champion which would never look back.

Johnson went on to defend his belt two more times against tough challengers John Dodson and John Moraga respectively before against being booked against Joseph Benavidez for their rematch. Johnson knocked out Benavidez emphatically with a huge right hand to retain his title, showing he possesses the kind of power to end anyone’s night early. Two more successive defenses against Ali Bagautinov and Chris Cariaso have notched the champion five title defenses and questions mounting of who, if anyone, can beat the force known as Mighty Mouse?

Demetrious Johnson has placed himself amongst the sport’s very best and brightest stars. He is exciting, charismatic, and skilled beyond belief. He currently sits at the number three pound-for-pound rank, but does this ranking do him any justice? Johnson may very well be the single most well-rounded fighter in the world. Sure, Jon Jones and Jose Aldo have more defenses than Johnson, however, neither of the two above have looked as dominant as Johnson. There is a feel when Demetrious fights, that he will not lose, that there does not seem to be a way to stop him from doing whatever he desires to the fighter, wherever he deems necessary. Arguably, the gap between Johnson and all other flyweights is the largest between any other champion and their other contenders.

Technically, there is not a flaw. Johnson’s footwork and movement are comparable to the Sistine Chapel on the Octagon canvas. He darts in and out of exchanges like a fencer, landing strikes to head and body of his opponents before they have any chance to return fire. He changes levels and shoots for single and double leg takedowns at angles, rendering his opponents defenseless to stop themselves from being planted on their backs. His overall speed and athleticism are completely off the charts. He looks to have a seventh gear while everyone else is only working with a five-speed gearbox. Johnson also has incorporated a slick offensive submission game, shown in his defeat of Chris Cariaso his last time out,  along with knockout power in his hands.

On Saturday, April 25th, Johnson gets to put his arsenal on display yet again as he takes on a talented rising prospect in Kyoji Horiguchi. Should Johnson plow his way through yet another test, he will find himself with a division laid waste to, like a lion overlooking his pride which he rules, awaiting the opportunity to be challenged for a belt so firmly attached to his waist it might as well be molded.

Demetrious Johnson ladies and gentlemen, king of the flyweight jungle.

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Jake Collier Re-Signs with the UFC

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UFC light heavyweight, Jake Collier (11-4, 3-3 UFC) , took to twitter yesterday, announcing a four fight contract renewal with the promotion.

The Missouri-born, Collier, amassed a 7-1 professional record fighting exclusively in his home state. Following his next fight, a 1st round submission victory over Gabriel Checco in the RFA promotion, Collier signed with the UFC.

Originally, Collier signed as a middleweight. His promotional debut took place in December of 2014 at, UFC Fight Night 58. A bout which he lost to Vitor Miranda via TKO (Head kick and punches) with only one second remaining in the opening round.

In 2017, “The Prototype”, moved to the light heavyweight division. The move came after a three-year stint at middleweight that saw him go 2-2. Losing to the likes of Dongi Yang, while defeating Ricardo Abreu. His final fight at the lower weight earned him a performance of the night bonus in his, UFC Fight Night 88, TKO win over Alberto Uda.

Upon moving to light heavyweight, Collier has the same .500 win percentage with a record of 1-1. His debut at the weight originally scheduled him against John Stansbury. Unfortunately, Collier withdrew from the card due to injury. Devin Clark replaced him on, The Ultimate Fighter Finale: 24, and defeated John Stansbury by unanimous decision. Clark then fought Collier next, defeating him by unanimous decision. “The Prototype”s most recent bout, a victory over Marcel Fortuna in November at, UFC Fight Night 120.

According to, UFC.com, Collier is booked to fight UFC-newcomer, Marcin Prachnio at, UFC on Fox 28, in Orlando, Florida. The only bout booked to the February 24th card, of next year.

Prachnio, holds a record of 13-2, with 10 knockouts. He most recently fought for the Asian-based promotion, One Championship. The Karate practitioner comes to the UFC on an eight fight win streak, the previous four in One Championship. At twenty-nine, Prachnio is another, in his prime, European light heavyweight signed to the UFC this year (Volkan Oezdemir being the other).

 

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FURY FC 17 Preview: UFC Veteran Roger Narvaez Set to Fight For Gold

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Deep in the Hill Country of Texas, there is a storm of MMA action brewing on the horizon in the historic city of San Antonio.

In 1836 the most iconic siege ever to take place in the American West was waged between Santa Anna’s Mexican forces and a small band of Texans fighting for their independence at the Battle of the Alamo. On June 10th that tradition of never backing down continues as Fury Fighting Championships 17 takes place at the Shrine Auditorium with a card that was originally slated to have 20 bouts of MMA action. At the top of the bill, there will be a familiar face as former UFC fighter, Roger “The Silverback” Narvaez, looks to capture his first championship in the sport when he faces Antonio “Doomsday” Jones for the vacant middleweight title. The event will also feature a hot prospect, a kickboxing champion, and a grudge match.

Fury FC 17 will be broadcast live on FloCombat.com.

While the 33-year-old Narvaez (8-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) has already realized his ultimate goal of getting to the highest level of MMA, fighting for a title has always eluded him. The 6’3″ fighter nicknamed “The Silverback” due to his abnormal 79.5″ wingspan, or monkey arms as he calls them was twice scheduled to fight for the Legacy Fighting Championship Middleweight Title against then champion Bubba Bush who now fights in the UFC. An injury caused the first fight to be canceled. Then a call up to the UFC to fight an unknown opponent on short notice put an end to plans for the another scheduled title fight.

Theodorou vs. Narvaez at UFC 185 (photo: Matthew Wells – MMA Latest)

 

To Roger, the secret to grabbing the attention of the world’s biggest MMA promotion is fighting for several different promotions. He fought for six different organizations winning all of his fights before getting a call from the UFC’s former matchmaker Joe Silva to ask if he was ready to make the move. Narvaez feels that fighting for multiple shows tells the UFC that a fighter is ready to fight whoever and whenever. His first fight for the promotion was a loss to Patrick Cummins at UFC Fight Night 42 in Albuquerque where he fought at an altitude of over 5300 feet sea level, something he says will not do again unless he is training at altitude. To put it bluntly, he plainly states “the altitude in Albuquerque sucks.” After a win against Luke Barnett, he faced Elias Theodorou. In that fight, he broke his arm before ultimately losing, and was then cut by the UFC.


At this point in Narvaez’s career, his goals now are different:

“The next goal for me, to be realistic, is to make as much money as I can. I love fighting, but at the same time, I have a family that I am trying to support. That is always first and foremost now…[and] Fury is doing a pretty good job of taking care of me…This is a really big deal for me. I am probably training harder for this fight than I have ever trained before. Part of that is with age comes knowledge and experience and I am doing everything I need to do the right way to get ready to come home with that strap, but that strap means ever thing…I didn’t quit fighting with a broken arm, it is going to take something pretty drastic to get me stop. I don’t think the guy I am fighting is going to be able to break my will or test my heart to where I am not going to be able to pull through…coming home with that title is a big deal.”

That home is one of a fighting family. Narvaez’s wife Brandi is also a fighter who recently made her professional debut at Legacy Fighting Alliance 7. His stepson is a gray belt who competes in Jui-Jitsu year round, his daughter also trains in the sport. They understand the hard work that their dad puts in more so than the average fighter’s family. As he puts “it’s not normal, but it is normal to us.”


The prospect to keep an eye on is Two-time Alabama state wrestling champion turned lightweight MMA fighter, Alec Williams (5-1 MMA) from Birmingham. Williams will be looking to rebound from his first professional loss as he takes on Travonne “Prince Scorpion” Hobbs. In his last fight, Alec relied on his wrestling and got it in his head that he did not want to stand and trade with his opponent. That mentality ultimately not only cost him his undefeated record but also to sustain four broken bones in the right side of his face.

“I didn’t get knocked out, I still got the takedown after I broke those four bones. I know it is going to be pretty difficult to knock me out…Honestly, the loss kind of took any pressure off. Before I was undefeated, that loss was going to be a big change and now a loss is just another loss.”

For this fight, Williams says he has been working with MMA legend and former UFC fighter Pete Spratt on his stand up and will not make the same mistake twice.


Also featured on the card is the first Brazilan World Cup Kickboxing Champion, welterweight Washington “Washingthai” Luiz. Originally slated to fight Nickolay Veretennikov, “Washingthai” Luiz will now take on lesser known Danny Ageday. With a new opponent on just four days notice, the man who has aspirations to become a champion in GLORY Kickboxing is not fazed.

“I did my whole camp studying my first opponent who is a striker like me, but I do not feel harmed by the change. I’m ready for this war…The main reason for my change to the USA is the opportunity to be in the biggest events in the world I have already fought the biggest events in Brazil in kickboxing and MMA. I have fought in big events in Europe and now my challenge is the biggest event of kickboxing, GLORY. But I also love MMA and when a fight appears for me, I do not refuse.”


The grudge match at Fury FC 17 comes to us from the flyweights division’s Mark “The Sparrow” Plata and David “Gallito” Miramontes. These two men were scheduled to fight previously but Plata had to pull out due to his wife giving birth to twins. According to Plata, that is where the beef began.

“The day my twins were born he was messaging me talking about how this was not a good reason not fight and that I just did not want to fight him. My kids were in ICU at the time and he just keeps messaging me over and over…it upset me at the time because they were dying, they were trying to survive, but it just added more fuel to the fire. Then he kept asking promoters to fight me. He asked two or three different promoters to set it up. I got tired of him asking for me. So then I was like, alright cool if you want it that bad, let’s do it…His fighting style matches his personality. He tries to be a bully, and that’s cool, I don’t mind shutting bullies down.”

Titles, champions, prospects, legitimate bad blood…what more you could ask for in a local card?

This is an event not to miss and thanks to Fury FC having a deal with FloSports, you do not have to.

Tune in for all the action live at 6:00 PM CST on FloCombat.com this Saturday.

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*VIDEO* Francis Ngannou has his eyes on the UFC Heavyweight Title

Matthew Wells

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UFC Heavyweight Francis “The Predator” Ngannou has taken the heavyweight division by storm.

Currently 5-0 in the UFC and riding a 9 fight win streak, the native of Cameroon possesses vicious power and has shown improvements each time he steps inside the cage.

Hear Ngannou talk about his journey and plans for the future:

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