On the main card at UFC 187, the man that most consider to be the second best lightweight on the planet, Joseph Benavidez, will battle the top ranked John Moraga, with the hopes of victory and a trilogy title fight against Demetrious Johnson.

Benavidez comes into this fight as a deserved favorite as he has largely ran through everyone in the division not called Mighty Mouse. Moraga on the other hand hasn’t looked terribly impressive in his last few fights. Moraga is however an elite fighter and poses significant threats if Benavides isn’t careful.

Here are a few tips for Benavidez to emerge victorious.

Benavides needs to watch out for the guillotine. Moraga has won four of his fights by way of guillotine choke, including a recent come from behind win over the talented Justin Scoggins, who was dominating him in every area prior to getting caught. Benavidez is no stranger to the choke as he employs it very well himself; he has finished more people with it than Moraga has. Also considering that Benavidez has never been submitted in competition his defense is top notch.

Benavidez also needs to use his wrestling. He has an extremely impressive double-leg, and a good single-leg takedown. Moraga, despite his wrestling background at Arizona State, has shown underwhelming takedown defense thus far. He was taken down pretty much at will in his title bid, and showed similar weaknesses in performances against Scoggins and Dodson.

Benavidez needs to utilize his superior power and movement. Moraga likes to keep the fight standing, but Benavidez is still the superior striker. He is much quicker than Moraga, and he moves very well constantly darting in and out of striking range, and switches stances to great effect. He throws a lot of wide, powerful hooks with considerable power for the flyweight division.

Benavidez also mixes in a variety of kicks and knees, though his biggest weapons are definitely his heavy hands. He does however need to be careful as he often throws his punches a bit too wide, which leaves openings down the middle. This was extremely apparent in his one knockout loss to Mighty Mouse, and Moraga has decent power punches that could let him capitalize on this.

Overall, Benavidez is the superior and far more consistent fighter in this matchup. With the exception of his reach, Moraga doesn’t have any advantages in this fight. Moraga is very durable though, he’s only been stopped twice in his career, and it doesn’t seem likely that Benavides gets the finish. But you can count on a dominant one-sided decision in favor of Benavidez.

About The Author

Josh Souter
Staff Writer

Josh Souter was raised in the state of Hawaii, where he recently completed his B.A. in English, before moving out to Denver with his wife. When not obsessing over MMA he enjoys training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, reading, writing, and working with computers.