Flyweight tourney also kicks off
The UFC’s second card on the FX cable channel will happen March 3 in Sydney, Australia. The UFC on Wednesday made the rumored event official for the Allphones Arena, formerly Acer Arena, which also held the promotion’s first two events there – UFC 110 and UFC 127.
The main event for the show will be a welterweight bout between former title challenger Thiago Alves and Martin Kampmann. In addition, the opening two bouts of the UFC’s flyweight tournament will take place on the card. Those two fights, the semifinals, will feature Joseph Benavidez vs. Yasuhiro Urushitani and Demetrious Johnson vs. Ian McCall. Benavidez and Johnson make the drop from the UFC’s bantamweight division, where both challenged for titles. Urushitani and McCall are new signees and widely considered the top two 125-pounders in the world.
Alves (19-8, 11-5 UFC) got back in the win column at UFC 138 last month with a first-round submission win over Papy Abedi. Prior to that, he had lost three of his last four fights, all by decision. Kampmann (18-5, 9-4 UFC) beat Rick Story by unanimous decision at UFC 139 last month, snapping a two-fight losing streak that included questionable losses to Jake Shields and Diego Sanchez.
Benavidez (15-2, 2-0 UFC) has won three straight since losing a bantamweight title fight to champion Dominick Cruz last year. The Team Alpha Male product has long discussed moving to flyweight if the UFC added the division and now gets his shot. Urushitani (19-4-6) vacates a Shooto 123-pound title to come to the UFC to challenge for a flyweight belt. One of Urushitani’s wins came against TUF 14 bamtamweight winner John Dodson, who is also expected to drop to flyweight.
Johnson (9-2, 2-1 UFC) is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Cruz in October, his one shot at the bantamweight belt. That snapped a five-fight winning streak. He had been scheduled to face Eddie Wineland at UFC on Fox: Evans vs. Davis next month in Chicago, but he has dropped out of that fight to face McCall, leaving Wineland to meet Johnny Bedford. McCall, a WEC veteran who went 1-2 with the promotion including a loss to Cruz, was Tachi Palace Fights’ flyweight champion before inking his deal to come to the UFC.
Though UFC on FX: Alves vs. Kampmann will take place March 4 in Sydney, the time difference will mean a March 3 air time in the United States, though UFC and FX have not yet announced precise broadcast times.