Division Clearance in Vegas

tuf24-finaleThere is something to be said about the UFC Flyweight champion when the promotion puts on a show to find the next challenger for the belt.

The Ultimate Fighter has long been a way for the UFC to bring in great prospects and expose the promotion to a wider audience, although the show may be reaching its end.

This year though the UFC decided to change things up a bit and create a tournament of the top flyweights in the world all competing for a fight against Demetrious Johnson.

The Ultimate Fighter 24 brought in champions from promotions all over the world in a tournament to find the next top contender in one of the last firsts that the show could have done.

That concept for a reality show should be enough to show exactly what situation the UFC is in with the flyweight division.

There really aren’t any challengers in the division left as Johnson has beat everyone that has the talent to challenge at the top of the lightest division.

It could be said that he also cleared out the division twice as the top contenders have come around a second time and all of them have lost despite coming up with a new plan to beat the champion.

Johnson earned the belt at a time where dominant champions were the norm but that has gone to the wayside.

Over the last two years, almost every dominant champion has fallen leaving the UFC with only two truly dominant champions.

Johnson is one of the only ones left and he has truly cleaned out his division leaving him with no challengers.

It also leaves the UFC without an exciting match-up as any fight he gets has usually already happened and usually ends the same way as the first time the two faced off.

There is simply nobody that can beat Johnson at flyweight and so the UFC looked to outside of the division to find a challenger.

They put a call out to the best flyweights in the world outside of the UFC and invited them to an interesting tournament.

It had never been done before as the UFC gathered champions into one house to fight in one of the most talent-laden tournaments they have ever put together.

It was the best from around the world who had all reached the peak in their own promotions and now were looking to do the impossible.

When the tournament came to an end it was a former UFC fighter in Tim Elliott who took home the prize and the daunting task of fighting Johnson.

Elliott had risen to the top of Titan FC after his inconsistent stint in the UFC and seemed to be a better fighter since being cut from the UFC.

His unique style and controlled aggression helped him win the Titan FC title and the TUF 24 tournament.

Now he hoped to take that into a championship fight and do what nobody has been able to do, beat Johnson.

It is always a tough task as Johnson has a speed that may only be matched by John Dodson and the technique that is matched by nobody.

There may not always be a lot of power behind the shots of Johnson but he lands and gets out making it difficult to set him up for anything.

Elliott went into the fight hoping that his aggressive style could put Johnson on his heels and make him fight going backwards.

If he was successful in that attempt he might be able to control the fight but doing that was going to be a much tougher task.mma-sidebar.fw

Many have attempted to push Johnson back and nobody has been able to do it as the champion controls the fight and makes it his more often than not.

The strategy seemed to work for Elliott as he surprised everyone including Johnson at the speed of which he came out in the first round.

Johnson was sent back while Elliott landed a number of great shots until the fight went to the ground and Elliott continued to surprise.

That is when Elliott went big for a guillotine and then a D’Arce to end the fight early and shock the world.

He couldn’t finish it off though and Elliott had used a lot of his gas tank to attempt those submissions without any payoff.

Elliott was in tough and Johnson looked to avoid the striking taking the fight to the ground even as Elliott gained some of his stamina back throughout the fight.

Johnson remained on top for the majority of the fight while Elliott didn’t seem to have much aside from grit in avoiding multiple submission attempts.

That is how the fight ended as Johnson had control throughout the fight even though Elliott did put up one of the best fights that Johnson has been a part of.

Johnson took the win but for Elliott it was the announcement of his return back to the UFC and that he is the best challenger in the division.

He won’t get an immediate rematch but he won’t fall far as he is now back and put in a great fight against the best in the world.

For Johnson, the question is who is left for him to fight as he pursues the record held by Anderson Silva for most title defences.

There aren’t many true challengers left in the division as Joseph Benavidez looks like the next challenger after his win earlier in the night but it is just another rematch for Johnson.

The division remains one where challengers are hard to find and despite the show attempting to bring in new blood, there isn’t much left for the champion.



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