The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
The results of UFC: Japan were not available as of the time of this writing but will be recapped in a future column or Fox 4 Sports Edge.
This Friday night the UFC continues it's global flag raising with another event on that side of the globe. UFC on FX 2: Alves vs. Kampmann will be held in Sydney, Australia on Saturday afternoon and will air live in the U.S. Friday night March 2 on the FX network.
The UFC seems to be using the Formula 1 racing model by hitting parts of the world on consecutive weekends and then moving on. It's textbook globalization and the UFC is running it to perfection.
The main event for UFC on FX 2 may be the welterweight pairing of Thiago "Pitbull" Alves versus Martin "The Hitman" Kampmann, but the real draw for many fans is the introduction of a new flyweight division in the UFC.
As if the WEC's introduction of the endless energy of 145 lb. featherweights and 135 lb. bantamweights to the masses wasn't enough, the UFC has created a new 125 pound flyweight division (in addition to taking on the before-mentioned WEC divisions when the UFC bought them out).
To determine the division's first champion, the UFC will hold a four man flyweight tournament starting at this event. One can tell it's a phenomenal tournament when one looks at the entrants and wishes no one would lose because they're all that good.
The first pairing is perhaps the best matchup in terms of nicknames ever. Former UFC bantamweight contender Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson moves down to flyweight to face "Uncle Creepy" himself, Ian McCall. One can see how McCall gets his nickname with his tattoos and Salvador Dali-like mustache. Uncle Creepy is ballyhooed as being the best flyweight in North America from having fought successfully in smaller promotions such as Tachi Palace Fights. Friday will be his first chance to shine on the big stage.
Mighty Mouse Johnson recently went through a tear in the UFC's bantamweight division, only to get stopped by champion Dominick Cruz last October.
The other matchup of the flyweight tourney pits two globally known fighters head-to-head. Widely regarded as the best flyweight in the world, Japanese fighter Yasuhiro Urushitani has owned the Shooto promotion's division. In Japan there is a larger talent pool for diminutive fighters and larger focus on those smaller weight classes.
Urushitani will go head-to-head with U.S. powerhouse, Joe Benavidez. Benavidez is an athletically gifted, well-rounded fighter who has dominated the UFC's bantamweight division. Like Mighty Mouse, his Achilles Heel has also proven to be Dominick Cruz. Benavidez will now test his meddle down at flyweight.
The tournament will then segue into the 170 pound welterweight main event with Alves and Kampmann, who'll then probably look like heavyweights in comparison to the four flyweights viewers had been watching prior.
Including his loss to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 100, Thiago Alves has gone a paltry 2-3, something unthinkable for the one-time contender. The once promising Martin Kampmann hit a similar skid. Starting with his loss to Paul Daley at UFC 103 in Dallas, Kampmann has gone an even 3-3.
There seems to be a theme with Fox's television deal with the UFC. Championship and top contender bouts are being aired on Fox itself. Up and coming fighters, accomplished fighters working themselves back up, and other special attractions seem to be aired on Fox's sister stations FX and Fuel TV.
David Estrada Jr. is a Mixed Martial Arts columnist for the Port Arthur News. He can be e-mailed at DavidEstrada@DavidEstrada.com.