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Uncaged: Demetrious Johnson looking high and mighty at flyweight

Resident UFC guy Brian Kirk talks us through tonight’s card in Seattler.

Demetrious Johnson celebrates after defeating John Dodson.
Demetrious Johnson celebrates after defeating John Dodson.
Image: Nam Y. Huh/AP/Press Association Images

THE UFC STEAMTRAIN rolls into Seattle this weekend at the start of a very busy period for the organisation with five events in the next six weeks.

Flyweight king Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson defends his belt for the second time against a man with only two UFC fights to his name, John Moraga, while Jake Ellenberger and Rory MacDonald finally get to settle their war of words as they face off inside the Octagon.

The Robbie Lawler and Bobby Voelker matchup comes with the promise of fireworks while Liz Carmouche will look to get back to winning ways as she faces Jessica Andrade in the women’s bantamweight division.

The undercard is dominated by lightweight bouts with Melvin Guillard and Mac Danzig’s the pick of them while the likes of Ed Herman and Yves Edwards are likely to provide a more than adequate warm up to the main card.

Johnson wants to remain the first and only flyweight champion

When the UFC announced the four-man flyweight tournament last year to determine who would become the division’s first champion not many people would have picked Demetrious Johnson as the winner.

Having lost a bantamweight title shot against Dominick Cruz, Johnson felt he was better suited to a lower weight class but every fight he has had since then he has never really been a strong favourite to win.

He still managed to win the tournament and defended his title impressively against John Dodson last time out. With the tide of public opinion finally starting to change, he is now justifiably painted as the best flyweight in the UFC at the moment.

This is reflected by the fact that he is strongly fancied to overcome the relative UFC newcomer John Moraga who seemed to be a strange pick for a title shot. It’s true that the newest men’s division in the UFC isn’t the deepest and Morata does have creditable wins over Ulysses Gomez and Chris Cariaso to his name but does that mean has he done enough to merit a title shot?

Either way he must make the most of his opportunity but it’s hard to see where he is stronger than his opponent. Johnson’s sheer athleticism has proved to be his top trump in all his fights so far but he has been caught in some of his previous fights so if Moraga can lay his hands on the typically elusive Johnson he might stand a chance. If not, it could prove to be a long night for the Arizona man.

YouTube credit: MrOwnation

The time for talking is over for Ellenberger and MacDonald

Two of the most exciting welterweight contenders have not been holding back with the verbals this week which brings the matchup nicely up to the boil and adds a little edge to an already massive welterweight battle.

Rory MacDonald has done his upmost to brush off Jake Ellenberger’s trash-talk and he sees himself as the winner come Saturday. MacDonald’s only defeat came at the hands of Carlos Condit at UFC 115 and he has since gone on to beat the likes of Nate Diaz and BJ Penn on a four-fight winning streak. Ellenberger boasts an impressive 8-2 UFC record and has recovered from his defeat at the hands of Martin Kampmann to record victories over Jay Hieron and Nate Marquardt.

Rory has the more diverse and complete skillset than his rival but Ellenberger is definitely the more powerful of the two so expect MacDonald to keep his distance early before trying to drag “The Juggernaut” into the later rounds where he will gradually try to wear him down. MacDonald’s unpredictability coupled with Ellenberger’s power makes this a fascinating matchup that is really hard to call.

YouTube credit: Nathan Lorenz-parker

Best of the rest

The Robbie Lawlar- Bobby Voelker matchup has “slugfest” written all over it as both men are not afraid of engaging and have 32 career KO’s between them. ‘The Brawler’ has never won back to back UFC fights so after his victory over Josh Koscheck last time out you may fear the worst again here.

If it does turn into a stand-up war, Lawlor would have to count as favourite as his stand-up game is pretty devastating but Voelker must call upon his superior experience to try and score and move if he is to stand any chance in this fight.

The women’s bantamweight division continues to grow and Liz Carmouche and Jessica Andrade do battle to prove that there are fighters other than Ronda Rousey in the division. Andrade is a 21-year-old Brazilian with 11 fights already to her name but Carmouche should be far too strong for her come Saturday night.

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Brian Kirk

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