Thursday, 01 March 2012 13:16
The four best 125-pound fighters in the world will battle it out in two matches to decidewhich fighters will compete for the newly-minted UFC flyweight title later this year. First, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, 14-2 in his mixed martial arts career, takes on highly-rated UFC newcomer Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall, 11-2; and in the second semi-final, Joseph Benavidez, the 15-2 buzzsaw who took Dominick Cruz to a split decision for the bantamweight world title, takes on Japanese sensation Yasuhiro Urushitani, 19-4, who has long been considered the best 125lbs fighter in the world.
And in the main event, welterweight contenders Thiago Alves and Martin Kampmann collide in a critical three rounder which will see the winner edge closer to a UFC title shot.
The four-fight card - also featuring the middleweight clash between Ultimate Fighter season 11 winner Court McGee and Costa Philippou – starts at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT on FX, with livepreliminary fights starting at 6pm in the East, 3pm Pacific on FUEL TV.
Dana White, UFC President
“Alves vs Kampmann is a big, important win for one of these guys. Alves has scored more knockdowns and as many knockouts as any welterweight in the UFC, while Kampmann has finished 11 opponents. Both guys want to get back up there and push for a title shot, and this is a huge fight in both their careers.
“We also have the two semi-finals for the newly created flyweight title. We didn’t even have a lightweight class when we bought this company, and we’ve now added lightweight (155lbs), featherweight (145lbs), bantamweight (135lbs) and finally the flyweight (125lbs) division. These are traditional weight classes, no ‘junior middleweight’ or anything like that.
“It's a testament to how big the sport has become that we can now do this flyweightdivision. A lot of people have been waiting for this weight class to arrive, here it is, and we are very excited. These two fights are going to set the tone for this division and show everyone what the UFC 125lbs division is all about.”
Thiago Alves – UFC welterweight contender
“I’m very excited to be in Sydney, and I’m going to put on a great performance Friday night. I want to be the No1 contender again and I know I can get there with a great win. In this sport, I’ve been broken down in terms of my style and what worked for me, but just like breaking down muscle, I have re-built what wasbroken down better than it was before.
“I think he will try to test his striking against mine, but after I hit him I know he will try to get away from me. I found the old Pitbull inside me. He was sleeping, but he’s woke up and nasty now.”
Martin Kampmann – UFC welterweight contender
“I can beat the best in the division. I feel some of my losses were really wins but thejudges went the other way with BS decisions. I know I can beat the very best in the division. Thiago is very technical with his strikes and has power too, and I want to stay away from those bombs. I used to want to trade with these guys, but now I’m going to be a little more smart.
“I know I will beat this guy and then the UFC can line ‘em up for me to knock down. I know I can beat anyone in the division and I am ready to prove it.”
Demetrious Johnson – UFC Flyweight Title Tournament
“I’m honored to be in the tournament and was very excited to be asked to be part of it. I’ve cut out a little bit of bad food and done some work in the gym to get down to the weight and I feel great.
“Now my job is to go out there Friday night and finish the fight, get the win and move on to the title fight. It is historical to be part of this”
Ian McCall – UFC Flyweight Title Tournament
“I got a tweet direct message from (UFC matchmaker) Sean Shelby asking my phone number, which got me excited. Then he called me to tell me I was in the tournament for the UFC title. I did a dance around my kitchen!
“I have something to prove, but you always have something to prove. No matter who you are, you can't be up on your pedestal for too long. I'm ready to prove my worth. I changed my life completely. I'm a completely different person than I used to be in the WEC. Everything from the way I eat to the way I was. I'm more focused on fighting than I was before. Before, it was more of a hobby.
“The winner of the four of us is the UFC champion, and becomes a star.”
Joseph Benavidez – UFC Flyweight Title Tournament
“Now that I’ve cut weight I know this is the right weight for me. Being able to go through a camp at this weight, I noticed the difference in my speed. I gained a focusthat I didn't have at 135lbs. I feel faster and it's going to make for a dangerous fighter on Friday.
“I was fast at 135lbs, but at 125lbs I am going to be extremely fast. In the flyweight division you won’t see guys throwing one big punch, but (fighting) complete MMA at a very fast pace. I think this is going to be the UFC’s most unpredictable division.
Yashuhiro Urushitani – UFC Flyweight Title Tournament
“It was always a dream to get to the UFC and now I am here. I am the underdog in the fight but that is motivation. I like to beat guys who are considered greater than me, and am happy that is the case again.
“I am more excited about fighting in the UFC for the first time than I am about the tournament. I will get very excited about the flyweight belt once I win my first UFC fight. I was asked for years if I would come to the UFC if they ever did a flyweight tournament, and I almost gave up hope, but now my dream is real.”
Full Friday night fights television info
5:30pm ET / 2:30pm PT - Facebook fight
Heavyweight bout: Oli Thompson vs Shawn Jordan
6pm ET / 3pm PT - Live Prelims on FUEL TV
Featherweight bout: Mackens Semerzier vs. Daniel Pineda
Welterweight bout: TJ Waldburger vs. Jake Hecht
Middleweight bout: Kyle Noke vs. Andrew Craig
Featherweight bout: Cole Miller vs. Steven Siler
Light Heavyweight bout: Anthony Perosh vs. Nick Penner
Light Heavyweight bout: James Te Huna vs. Aaron Rosa
9pm ET / 6pm PT- UFC on FX Live
Middleweight bout: Court McGee vs. Costa Philippou
Flyweight bout: Demetrious Johnson vs. Ian McCall
Flyweight bout: Joseph Benavidez vs. Yasuhiro Urushitani
Welterweight bout: Thiago Alves vs. Martin Kampmann
For more information or current fight news, visit www.ufc.com. All bouts live and subject to change.