Flyweight kingpin Demetrious Johnson (17-2-1) will defend his crown against John Moraga (13-1) tomorrow night on FOX.
This is hardly an original thought, but UFC really did themselves a disservice by having Moraga compete in the prelims. The tough Chicano from Phoenix, Arizona, is a fun and entertaining fighter to watch. Unfortunately, most fans out there know very little of him and his style of fighting.
In his debut, at UFC on FOX: Shogun vs Vera (August 2012), Moraga destroyed Ulysses Gomez, winning via vicious KO in the first round. At UFC 155 (December 2012), after a tough and competitive bout with Chris Cariaso, Moraga managed to get in a slick choke to get the tap out in the third round. Due to the lack of depth and challengers in the flyweight (125 lbs.) division, Moraga got the shot sooner than most would have at other, more established weight-classes.
We last saw Demetrious Johnson competed at UFC on FOX: Johnson vs Dodson (January 2012). Johnson, after suffering several knockdowns in the early stanzas, managed to rally back in the later rounds to defeat John Dodson via unanimous decision. His previous two fights before that were against Joseph Benavidez at UFC 152 (September 2012) and Ian McCall at UFC on FOX: Johnson vs McCall II (June 2012). Both were decisive wins over two flyweights who are generally considered to be number two and number three in the division.
The Johnson-McCall II fight also showed that Johnson had improved and adjusted from the issues he had faced in their first meeting, which was a controversial majority draw. Some thought McCall had actually defeated Johnson in their first bout; no such argument was made for their second bout.
As alluded to earlier, I think it’s a bit early for Moraga at this point. I think Johnson will be too quick and will know exactly what to do to defeat Moraga. I can see Johnson outwrestling Moraga for the better part of the fight and winning via unanimous decision. But an actual finish, like a neat guillotine choke from Johnson, wouldn’t surprise me either. If Benavidez dispatches of Jussier Da Silva next month, which I think he will, I see Johnson vs Benavidez II taking place later in 2013. For the foreseeable future, I see Johnson and Benavidez just being a step above everyone else in the division.