(This post first appeared on MMAFrenzy.)
Michael Johnson understands that he’s about to face a very talented fighter in Andre Fili, in what’s a pivotal bout for the veteran fighter. So what is “The Menace” planning to do at UFC FN 135? Make things a “little ugly”.
Johnson will face Fili in the co-headliner of Saturday’s event, which is going down in Lincoln, Nebraska. The fight is taking place at a compelling juncture for both featherweights. Johnson has just one win in his last six fights, and he’s coming off a devastating, submission loss to Darren Elkins, in what was his debut at 145. Johnson dominated the opening round, but the ridiculously tough Elkins battled through, and scored a comeback, submission win in round two.
Fili, meanwhile, is coming off consecutive wins over Artem Lobov and longtime contender, Dennis Bermudez. So the Team Alpha Male fighter has some momentum behind him, heading into the fight.
Well, recently Johnson spoke with MMA Fighting, and while discussing his loss to Bermudez and his upcoming scrap with Fili, he said this:
“They know how to fight me, that’s for sure,” Johnson said, while referring to Team Alpha Male. “It’s a line and they just tell the other guy exactly what they were planning on. However, Fili and Elkins are two completely different fighters. Elkins is, I think, in my opinion, a lot better on the ground. He’s a lot more durable. He’s a rougher fighter. Fili likes to be a little pretty in there, and I’m going to make it a little ugly.”
“I’m not going to take anything away from Andre and compare him to my past opponents, because that’s just obvious,” Johnson said. “Look at where my past opponents are, look at where Andre Fili is. But, when it’s all said and done, I’m in a position to where now I have to fight Andre Fili. That’s all I’m worried about. He’s the most talented guy I’m going to face in my opinion right now, because that’s who I’m fighting, so that’s why all of my energy is focused on him. He’s just as dangerous as anybody else I’ve fought.”
Yup, there’s no doubt that Elkins and Fili are very different fights. Elkins is a pressuring tank, with an iron chin, who looks to take it down and grind you out. Fili, on the other hand, is a much more diverse and athletic striker, just ask Gabriel Benitez. While Fili has showcased some wrestling, like in his win over Lobov, takedowns typically aren’t plan A. So, ya, making things a “little ugly” sounds like a plan.