The UFC Fight Night Series returns to Brazil on September 4th with a main card featuring a Flyweight bout between Brazilian Jussier ‘Formiga’ and Team Alpha Male stud Joseph Benavidez. The match is likely to send the winner directly into a match with 125 lb champion Demetrious Johnson. Benavides sits as a huge favorite, with the line at (-475) and the comeback on ‘Formiga’ at (+380).
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For Benavidez, nothing but a win will do. He has been focused on earning a rematch against Champion Demetrious Johnson, who he lost to by Split Decision in September of 2012. He has won 2 straight, and a win over ‘Formiga’ is almost certain to lead to a title shot in a division that is not deep on talent.
Additionally, Benavidez carries the weight of Team Alpha Male, as do Chad Mendes and Urijah Faber, the other two high profile fighters from that camp. They are lauded as being the most talented little guys team in the world, but all three have failed at their attempts to earn a UFC title, and that haunts them a little bit. From a practical persepctive, Benavidez has a better chance against Johnson than his two teammates do against the respctive champions in their weight classes.
‘Formiga’ will have the home field advantage, but as a flyweight he is likely to be less known and less supported than most Brazilians. He has won against a steady diet of local fighters on shows in Brazil, but has a 1-2 record overall against fighters with UFC experience.
The common thinking is that ‘Formiga’ will not have enough to get by Benavidez. Benavidez has fought at an extremely high level for a lot of years with the WEC and in Japan, and his focus as of late has been impressive. ‘Formiga’ will be game, however he is probably not a good bet as the underdog, if he wins it will be a huge shock.