Niko Price has produced one of the knockouts of the year at UFC Tampa.
The UFC’s flyweight tournament and the division as a whole kicked off at UFC Sydney with an excellent back and forth bout between Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson and Ian ‘Uncle Creepy’ McCall, followed up by a big win to Joseph Benavidez over Yasuhiro Urushitani.
The fight between Johnson and McCall went the distance and it was clear immediately that the flyweight division was bringing a different level of speed to the UFC.
Both fighters traded positions and techniques at a furious pace but it appeared the Johnson was getting the better of the first two rounds, albeit marginally.
Uncle Creepy turned it on in the third as he got the fight to the mat and pounded on Mighty Mouse while gesturing to the crowd.
McCall’s antics definitely cemented him as the winner with the All Phones Arena crowd, but not with the judges who scored the fight a majority decision victory for Johnson.
McCall was very unhappy about the decision and stormed out of the cage immediately as it was announced – flinging a reporter’s water bottle to the ground and yelling as he ran out.
Johnson was confident he had done enough though.
“I feel I won the first two rounds by keeping up the pace, using my distance and throwing effective combinations. I’m pleased with the win and look forward to fighting for the title again.”
Johnson will now meet Joseph Benavidez in the flyweight tournament final after Benavidez made quick work of Japanese export, Yasuhiro Urushitani. Urushitani was hesitant to engage and only barely made it out of the first round as Benavidez cinched up a rear naked choke that was only halted by the first round buzzer.
Urushitani wasn’t as lucky in the second round as Benavidez countered a kick with a heavy, right hand that dropped the Japanese fighter. Some follow up punches sealed the result.
It was the perfect first impression for the newly installed division and should make for a compelling final.