UFC

5 reasons to watch Johnson vs. Moraga

Rory MacDonald
Rory MacDonald is rumored to have a bout in the works with Demian Maia.
FOX Sports E. Spencer Kyte
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This weekend’s four-fight main card offers plenty of explosive potential, and comes complete with a championship main event featuring hometown star Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson taking on surging finisher John Moraga.

If you’re not yet sold on watching this weekend’s elite UFC action, keep reading; we’ll convince you.

Championship Action on Network TV

There’s a championship fight going down in the main event of a network television event. To paraphrase the great Ron Burgundy, “They’re kind of a big deal.”

It wasn’t that long ago that the idea of a championship fight anywhere other than pay-per-view seemed crazy, but over the last eight months, the UFC has consistently rolled out entertaining title fights atop the marquee for these FOX events, and Saturday is no different.

Plus, with the impressive string of championship tilts that have taken place in recent memory, do you really think passing up an opportunity to watch a fight where gold is on the line is a good idea? We don’t think so either.

Hunting Mighty Mouse

Moraga has made his opinions about Johnson’s style clear in the build up to this fight – he finds him boring, and thinks he doesn’t look to finish fights, opting instead to fight on the outside, scoring points, and winning decisions.

Simply beating Johnson has proven to be a difficult task, as only two fighters – Brad Pickett and Dominick Cruz – have been able to accomplish the feat, with both of those bouts taking place at bantamweight. And neither was able to put away the resilient flyweight champion.

The 13-1 challenger has finished each of his first two opponents in the UFC, and will be looking to do the same to Johnson from the moment the fight starts. He’s shown tremendous finishing instincts thus far, and if he can become the first man to put “Mighty Mouse” away, we’ll have a new flyweight champion on Saturday night.


Rory MacDonald’s Litmus Test

From the time he arrived in the UFC, the young Canadian welterweight has been tabbed as a future champion. Saturday night, MacDonald faces Jake Ellenberger in a battle of two top-ranked competitors that many believe serves as a litmus test for the Montreal-based fighter.

Ellenberger has faced a number of elite opponents during his tenure with the UFC, and stands as the toughest test MacDonald has faced since sharing the cage with Carlos Condit at UFC 115. The 29-6 Ellenberger is the type of proven, respected competitor an emerging talent like MacDonald needs to beat in order to solidify his place in the title conversation, and the intensely focused 24-year-old will be looking to do just that this weekend on FOX.

Guaranteed Fireworks from Lawler and Voelker

Robbie Lawler and Bobby Voelker have a combined 63 professional fights on the resumes. Only 10 of those have made it to the scorecards.

Of the 44 career victories between them, 32 of those triumphs have come as a result of an opponent ending up lying on the canvas, staring up at the lights, wondering if anyone got the license plate number of the truck that just hit them.

As far as last minute bookings go – Voelker is stepping in on two weeks notice – this is about as explosive a combination as you could ask for, and stands as both a safe bet to produce the Knockout of the Night winner, but also a sleeper in the race for Fight of the Night honors as well.

A First for the UFC

When Liz Carmouche and Jessica Andrade step into the cage Saturday in the first fight of the UFC on FOX main card, it will mark the first time that two openly gay fighters have competed against one another on the sport’s biggest stage.

Liz Carmouche conducts an open training session for fans and media

Liz Carmouche is paving the way for gay athletes.

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

Eventually we’ll get to a point where the sexual orientation of fighters isn’t part of the storyline, but that only comes over time as these firsts continue to be achieved.

The pairing – which should produce a highly entertaining battle between the two well-rounded athletes – also serves a strong counter-punch to those that continue to cling to preconceived notions about the UFC.

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