On Friday, June 8, flyweight Demetrious Johnson beat Ian McCall via unanimous decision to earn a title shot against Joseph Benavidez later this year. Johnson's victory topped off an exciting main card which included two knockouts and a submission.
Here are three thoughts on the show:
One thing that I noticed about Johnson's performance against McCall in their first fight was his wrestling or lack thereof. Johnson is a solid wrestler, and it completely surprised me that McCall was able to turn the match around by out-grappling him. On Friday night, Johnson came out right away and set the tone by taking McCall down. He never kept McCall on the ground for long, but it changed the flow of the fight.
Johnson's improved gameplan forced McCall to think about more than his speed and striking. His wrestling didn't win Johnson the fight, but it affected the outcome. It will be interesting to see how Benavidez prepares for a dynamic athlete like Johnson.
The UFC's announce team was quick to hype Erick Silva prior to his fight with Charlie Brenneman, and now I know why. He submitted a solid fighter who would give most welterweights in the division a run for their money. Silva's slick striking and grappling forced Brenneman to rely on his takedowns, which the Brazilian eventually used against him to finish the fight. Keep an eye on Erick Silva. I think he's going to have a great UFC career.
I'm a little surprised to hear about UFC president Dana White's complaints concerning the attendance at the event in Sunrise, Florida. UFC on FX 3 drew a small crowd of 6,635 fans for a $329,110 gate despite having a main event that had title implications.
I rarely disagree with the job that the UFC does in putting its events together, but what did they expect to happen when they filled most of their card with fighters that most fans know little about? The flyweight division doesn't even have a champion yet. How is a Johnson-McCall main event supposed to carry a UFC card?
Mixed martial arts fans are more intelligent than that. We aren't going to pay for a subpar card. Sure, the fights televised on FX were exciting to watch, but I don't know many people who will pay good money to watch Mike Pyle or Josh Neer fight in a UFC event. Why would I spend big money for this card when I can save and make the trip for a title fight later in the year?
The UFC has a decision to make with its events. If they want fans to show up, then they need to put on fights that people want to see. I believe that most fans don't care about the flyweight division. McCall and Johnson are fun to watch, but I'd rather see the established guys headline an event.
Derek Ciapala has been following MMA since the days when Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie fought in the octagon. You can follow him on Twitter @dciapala.