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UFC 215: Breaking down Demetrious Johnson vs Ray Borg

This Saturday, Demetrious Johnson looks to defend his flyweight belt for an 11th time against Ray Borg at UFC 215.

The UFC’s flyweight division takes center stage in Edmonton, Canada this Saturday night as the #1 ‘Pound for Pound’ fighter Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson (26-2) looks to seal an 11th straight title defense against Ray “The TazMexican Devil” Borg (11-2).

The champion

There is absolutely no doubt that Johnson is one of the finest fighters to ever grace the Octagon with his presence and at 31 years old, “Mighty Mouse” has continued to evolve and shows no sign of slowing down just yet.

Coming off an impressive victory over Wilson Reis earlier this year, Johnson’s dominance at the top of the 125lb ladder has been nothing short of breathtaking. Having received criticisms from fans online for perhaps being too conservative, there seems to be a new fire within the champion to prove his doubters wrong and with three early stoppages in his last five fights, the “boring” tag no longer applies to one of the greatest mixed martial artists in the world.

There is no doubt that Demetrious wants to keep this momentum going and is certain to keep the fire lit against Ray Borg.

The challenger

Those who follow the UFC’s flyweight division closely will certainly know of Borg and what he brings to the table. They will also be aware then that Borg has had issues with regards to weight cutting and has missed the 125lb limit on two separate occasions.

Leading up to this fight, Borg insists that he will have no issue in making the championship weight and is adamant that his weight cut issues are behind him.

The 24-year-old Borg has looked very confident in his young UFC career and is on a two fight win streak, having overcome the then #3 ranked Jussier Formiga in Brazil earlier this year. It was a performance Borg admitted was not his most entertaining and he has already vowed to offer Johnson a rematch after he beats him this Saturday.

Though still very much a prospect at this stage, there is no deterring this young fighter’s confidence as he attempts to cause one of the biggest upsets in UFC history.

The styles

Everybody knows that styles make fights, but Johnson’s style is all-encompassing and designed to frustrate and punish opponents when they attempt to land on the ever elusive champion.

Hailed as one of the quickest fighters on the UFC roster, Johnson’s constant movement during fights is arguably his biggest weapons and extends the invitation for opponents to chase him until their gas tank empties and are left vulnerable to counter shots from any angle available.

Johnson’s non-telegraphing of low and high kicks is one of the most beautiful sights in all of MMA and if you blink, there’s a good chance you’ll miss it. Coupled with follow up jabs, it is difficult to know where Johnson may strike from next.

It’s not just the feet where Johnson is quick. Once on the ground, he does not rest on his laurels and is always searching to find a more advanced or dominant position. This is something he utilized incredibly well against Reis.

The term “well-rounded fighter” does get bandied about an awful lot but Johnson epitomises the term.

As for Borg, he may not be as quick as Johnson but he does possess an excellent boxing stance on the feet with good solid head movement and has some nice punches in his arsenal.

Borg enjoys taking control in the clinch. Look for him to try and fake an overhand right to tie Johnson up in the clinch. This is where he does a lot of good work with his knees to the body which can take its toll on fighters going into deep waters in the fight.

Borg does have good takedown offense, and once on the ground, he has excellent control and likes to scramble to end up in a dominant position. Even if he does lose a position, he is extremely calm and calculated when exploding out of potentially dangerous positions on the mat.

Borg does have very crisp boxing and has a very nice jab to lead right uppercut combination which had very good success in his last bout.

If he can tighten up his stand up game, he may have an excellent chance of landing on Saturday night.

The fight

Borg is certainly a very talented fighter and is showing good promise at such a young age but this is a huge step up in competition.

Borg struggled with leg kicks in his last two fights and was buckled twice from inside leg kicks; a regular go-to kick for Johnson. This will likely be a regular weapon for the flyweight champion and will nullify Borg’s movement.

While Borg does work extremely well in the clinch, it is difficult to see how the challenger can close the distance and tie him up. This will be an extremely quicker pace than Borg is used to, and rather than fall into the trap of chasing Johnson, it might be worth allowing the champion to come to him to reserve energy levels for later rounds.

The one criticism of Johnson is that his head movement is sorely lacking. However, with the pace he is able to move around and avoid punches, it may not be a glaringly obvious weakness. But if Borg can nullify the angles at which Johnson likes to land, he may cause “Mighty Mouse” to question himself if he gets caught with a counterpunch.

This is a fight that may have been extremely competitive if Borg was given a little more time to mature, but given the current state of the flyweight division, he is being thrown in at the very deep end. It is going to be a fight that will certainly help Borg to learn for future battles but it hard to see him overcoming this obstacle.

The prediction

Johnson will have far too much in the locker and will gradually halt any momentum Borg may have early in the fight.

Expect a lot of inside leg kicks early on from the champion and an early stoppage due to strikes.

Demetrious Johnson via TKO – Round 3

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Shane Saunders

Shane is a long time Newcastle United sufferer and all round glutton for punishment in every sports team he has ever chosen. Brooklyn Nets and Indianapolis Colts pay testament to this fact. When Shane isn't being punched by his sports teams, he is usually found watching and writing about MMA/Boxing and shouting opinions to anyone who will listen.

UFC 215: Breaking down Demetrious Johnson vs Ray Borg

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