By Roy Billington
On Wednesday night, two of the UFC’s most dynamic fighters do battle, as former WEC title contender Joseph Benavidez faces former Shooto champion Jussier "Formiga" Da Silva in a contest that will be sure to excite fans. This piece will break down both fighters, as well as where the fight will likely be won and lost.
Benavidez, a former college wrestler, has been a longtime member of Sacramento’s Team Alpha Male. Before his WEC debut in 2008, Benavidez had made his way around the regional fight scene, including a fight in DREAM, racking up a record of 8-0.
n his WEC debut, Benavidez dominated powerful striker Danny Martinez, controlling him throughout the bout. Next up was a fight with noted grappler Jeff Curran, and as he did in his debut, Benavidez dominated the much more experienced Curran, a performance that would ultimately earn him a bantamweight title shot.
At WEC 42, Benavidez met gifted striker Dominick Cruz, and after a hard-fought five-rounder, he was on the wrong side of the scorecards, as judges voted Cruz victorious. But this defeat was an important moment in Benavidez’s career; from that fight onward he adopted a more aggressive outlook. This was on display in his next two performances, as he dominated and finished former number 1 contender Rani Yahya and former champion Miguel Torres.
Benavidez’s spectacular finish of Miguel Torres earned him a highly-anticipated rematch with Dominick Cruz at WEC 50, and after a very close fight, Benavidez lost by split decision. But to this day, Benavidez has come closer than all others to dethroning Cruz, which he can take some solace in.
Since suffering the loss to Johnson, Benavidez has been on a roll and has dismantled all comers; since Duane Ludwig took over the coaching reins at Team Alpha Male, all their fighters have improved greatly, and Benavidez was no different.
Skillswise, Benavidez is a devastating grappler -- his wrestling is second to none, and like the rest of his brethren at Team Alpha Male, his guillotine choke is spectacular. The keys for victory for Joseph Benavidez are to keep the fight on the feet and showcase his newfound striking talent, and at all costs, avoid having Formiga take his back.
Ian McCall. After struggling with McCall’s more diverse skill set and losing a decision, Formiga went back to the drawing board
In the wake of the disappointing loss to McCall, a motivated Formiga began his path of destruction, beating Mamoru Yamaguchi by decision before racking off 4 straight submission victories and being awarded a title eliminator in the UFC.
At UFC on FX 5, Formiga faced The Ultimate Fighter Season 14 winner John Dodson, but on that night Formiga was clearly outclassed. Perhaps Formiga suffered from the mysterious "Octagon Jitters," or was just unable to cope with the step up in competition when facing Dodson, but one thing was for sure when Formiga appeared next against Chris Cariaso: he was twice the fighter, and his performance impressed Sean Shelby enough to give him a shot against the number two flyweight in the world, Joseph Benavidez.
Skillswise, Formiga is a beast on the canvas. Once he takes his opponent's back, it's almost always the beginning of the end. On the feet however, Formiga is very limited, and his wrestling isn’t the best either.
Expect this fight to be controlled by Benavidez. The fight will only ever hit the canvas if he allows it to, and if he decides to keep it on the feet, it’ll end in an early knockout for him.
UFC Fight Night 28
• Joseph Benavidez vs. Jussier "Formiga" Da Silva
UFC Fight Night 28: Teixeira vs. Bader is due to take place on September 4, 2013 at the Estadio Jornalista Felipe Drumond in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
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