Top MMA News Breaks Down UFC on Fox 8: Johnson vs. Moraga
The UFC will be making their way back to Key Arena in Seattle, Washington on July 27th for UFC on Fox 8. Flyweight champion Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson will headline the card, as he will be defending his title against John Moraga. Also on the card is Canadian Welterweight contender Rory MacDonald, who will be up against the toughest test of his young career in Jake Ellenberger. The four main card bouts will air live on Sportsnet 360 in Canada and Fox in the US. Six preliminary bouts will air live on Sportsnet 360 and FX in the US. There are two remaining bouts that will be aired live on Facebook.
UFC Flyweight Championship Bout:
(c) Demetrious Johnson (17-2-1) vs. John Moraga (13-1)
After defending his 125-pound title for the first time in January, Demetrious Johnson looks to continue his impressive display in the Flyweight division as he goes up against little known, but worthy contender, John Moraga. The Flyweight division has been tough to promote and with good reason. It’s a division of little guys with minimal ability to finish a fight. However, stylistically, their fast pace makes for consistent action and Johnson has already been in a few great fights since the addition of the division in the UFC.
Johnson is probably the fastest fighter in the organization. He has extremely quick in and out speed on the feet and his takedown attempts are generally unexpected and explosive due to his small frame. Moraga brings in a few things not many in the division have: punching power (for a little guy), good submissions and a strong wrestling base. Though the UFC has struggled to market him, he has impressed in his two outings with the organization, impressively finishing Ulysses Gomez and Chris Cariaso.
Although Moraga has defeated solid opponents, Johnson’s victories over Ian McCall, Joseph Benavidez and John Dodson have proven that he needed the Flyweight division to show his true potential. This fight should be an exciting back and forth with Moraga landing the more effective shots and possibly hurting Johnson. However, Johnson’s efficiency will be the difference maker as he will repeatedly get in close and land a higher volume of strikes en route to a decision victory.
Prediction: Johnson via Unanimous Decision
Rory MacDonald (14-1) vs. Jake Ellenberger (29-6)
Well, it feels like forever, doesn’t it? The last time Rory MacDonald fought, he was putting a striking clinic on UFC legend BJ Penn. Many didn’t like the fight, claiming it was a mismatch and he should be fighting top Welterweight competition. Enter Jake Ellenberger, who has won 8 of his last 9 bouts. Both guys are ready to reach title contention and it would be tough to argue against the idea.
MacDonald has received a lot of criticism for the level of competition he has faced. Most forget that he was about 7 seconds away from beating Carlos Condit in just his second fight with the UFC. It is safe to say he has reached a level of maturity to allow the UFC to finally move forward and put him in position to fight for the title sooner rather than later. Against a monster like Ellenberger, MacDonald has to prove that his chin can hold up within the first round or two. Ellenberger has some frighteningly explosive striking that can put just about anybody to sleep.
What MacDonald will want to do is utilize his reach advantage. He must keep his distance and force Ellenberger to tire himself out. MacDonald has proven that he can fight with brilliant strategy but that may also have him fight far too hesitant. He needs to explode when the opportunity is there to finish a guy as physically dominating as Ellenberger. It may be a struggle during the first 5 minutes but things will begin to slow down so MacDonald can really display his abilities. It is definitely the most intriguing bout on the card and probably the most important for the UFC. Although it is tough to pick against a juggernaut (yea, nickname pun) as powerful and talented as Ellenberger, it is harder to say no to a terminator (personality pun) like MacDonald.
Prediction: MacDonald via TKO Round 3
Robbie Lawler (20-9) vs. Bobby Voelker (24-9)
It’s been a rough few years for Robbie Lawler, but his return to the UFC and the 170-pound division gave a definite cause for excitement. His one punch knockout power felt like an afterthought going into the bout but he proved to the doubters that all it takes is a punch or two for him to get his hand raised, even against top competition like Josh Koscheck. He will be going up against Bobby Voelker, who was a late replacement after both Tarec Saffiedine and Siyar Bahadurzada were forced out of the fight.
Voelker, similar to Lawler, is absolutely infatuated with his knockout power. He performed well in his UFC debut against Patrick Cote, some even thinking he deserved the nod. He has a chance once again to come out on top against a fairly known fighter in the UFC. Both fighters will likely look to get the win on the feet. The key, however, is who will force the other fighter to get technical.
Most can say with absolute certainty that it will not be Lawler. No matter how hard fighters try to turn the fight into their own, he still sprints forward, hoping to get that knockout. Over the last few years, it has not been in his favor. Fighters like Jacare Souza, Babalu Sobral and Tim Kennedy have been able to force him to grapple. Does Voelker have that same ability? Probably not. That’s especially true at 170, where Lawler is a bigger and stronger fighter. Expect a damn good brawl with Lawler finishing within the first round or two.
Prediction: Lawler via TKO Round 1
Liz Carmouche (8-3) vs. Jessica Andrade (9-2)
One thing that’s been nice to see within the MMA community in 2013 is people are beginning to slowly accept women as professional fighters. Much of that has to do with Liz Carmouche and the UFC hype machine pushing her as a legitimate threat to Ronda Rousey. Well, she certainly proved she was a worthy contender, giving the champion the toughest bout of her short career and she will look to continue her emergence as one of the top fighters in WMMA as she takes on the relatively unknown Jessica Andrade.
Carmouche became a sort of celebrity for her fight with Rousey. She was not only the first woman to enter the Octagon, she was also the first openly gay fighter in UFC history and is about to be the first woman to fight on a UFC on Fox card. It’s been an exciting year for her but let’s not take away from why she is where she is. Carmouche is a tough fighter that will push forward and make you feel uncomfortable. Andrade has an excellent grappling repetoire and might be just as aggressive as Carmouche. It will be interesting to see how their styles contrast.
If Andrade wants to win, she will need to capitalize on a mistake. She can snatch your neck for a guillotine or take your back for a rear naked choke if you slip up so Carmouche will want to stay composed. This bout will likely be determined by how powerful Carmouche is. If she is able to get Andrade on her back, she should be able to get comfortable enough to do enough damage and get an eventual stoppage late in the bout. Never sleep on women’s MMA.
Prediction: Carmouche via TKO Round 3