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The flyweight championship will be on the line this Saturday night at UFC 227 in Los Angeles, California. Demetrious Johnson (27-2-1) will attempt to defend his belt for an unprecedented twelfth time in a row, this time against top contender, Henry Cejudo (12-2). The first time these two fought at UFC 197 in 2016, Johnson finished the inexperienced Cejudo in just two minutes and 49 seconds into the first round. SInce then, Cejudo has earned dominant wins over former title contender, Wilson Reis and up and number two contender, Sergio Pettis. He has improved drastically in the last two years could give “Mighty Mouse” a run for his money.
Demetrious Johnson continues his legacy
Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson is considered by many to be the greatest mixed martial artist in the history of the sport. Johnson has defended his belt more than any other champion and is both a knockout and submission threat. Unless he eventually fights TJ Dillashaw, Johnson is always a huge favorite in every fight he books thanks to his full tool kit, cardio, and relentless pressure.
In his most recent fight against Ray Borg, Johnson showed how complete of a fighter he really is. He pieced Borg up on the feet, showed tremendous top pressure when he got him to the ground, and was relentless in terms of cardio for all five rounds. Time and time again, Demetrious Johnson has the advantage in each aspect of mixed martial arts against his opponents. This will be the first time in awhile that he will not. While DJ does have some great wrestling, he is going up an Olympic Gold Medalist on Saturday night.
Early in the fight, Johnson will look for success on the feet. If he can outclass Cejudo in the striking game and avoid takedowns, he will be content to ride out all five rounds in a kickboxing match. If he ends up on the ground, Johnson should be safe in top position thanks to his great wrestling and outstanding grappling. He is very creative and technical on the ground but should avoid being on his back under Cejudo at all costs.
Cejudo gains experience and get another shot at the champ
From what we have seen lately, Henry Cejudo is not the same fighter that Demetrious Johnson dropped with a body shot in 2016. He later lost a split decision to Joseph Benavidez that came due to a point deduction to a foul by Cejudo. Henry Cejudo went on to beat Wilson Reis and highly-touted prospect, Sergio Pettis. That fight with Pettis was huge in demonstrating Cejudo’s improvement. He looked at home standing with the high-level striker in Pettis and looked better on the feet than ever. Cejudo was then able to do what he does best and take down Pettis, mauling him on the ground as a complete mixed martial artist.
While Cejudo is looking better standing up, it is no secret what his plan should be.Take Demetrious Johnson down and do not let him up. “Mighty Mouse” is one of the most complete and creative fighters in the UFC so keeping him on his back and taking away as many weapons as possible is the clearest path to victory. A gold medal in wrestling on the world level is no joke so do not count Cejudo out in this fight.
If Cejudo finds success with his wrestling early and often, he cannot rush the finish. Going for a finish will give Johnson opportunities to pull something sneaky which could end the fight in a split second. Henry Cejudo needs to look for top position and try to grind out a decision and not press hard for a finish unless he can posture up in mount when DJ is already exhausted.
Demetrious Johnson has so many ways to win this fight. He is the epitome of the “hit and don’t get hit” formula of winning fights. He needs to use his movement to tag Cejudo and bounce out of striking distance early on. If DJ can frustrate his opponent, Cejudo might begin to try forcing the takedown. Johnson has some of the most dangerous knees around so if he can bait Cejudo into a poor takedown attempt, a well-timed knee could put an end to this fight.
Johnson is a big favorite in this fight and rightfully so but counting out an Olympic Champion would be a mistake. Henry Cejudo is becoming a more complete fighter each time he steps in the octagon but he may not be ready for “Mighty Mouse” quite yet. Johnson is too good at scrambling and technique on the ground to take a Khabib-like mauling from Cejudo.
If you really believe in Cejudo and he wins, you will make a bunch of money but betting against Demetrious Johnson feels silly. The lines are really too wide to make much money on a winner bet. Because of the pace that Cejudo will try to dictate and the calculated fighting of Johnson, picking this fight to go to decision could be a solid bet.
Pick: Fight goes to decision -110
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