UFC: Work rate will tell as Moraga takes on Johnson

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Two of the hardest working fighters in UFC  will come together to contest the Flyweight Championship on July 28th in a bout that is destined to go the distance.

Demetrious Johnson – UFC’s inaugural and current strap holder in the flyweight division – makes only his second defence of the title against John Maroga and knows that he will be required to put in a real shift to retain the belt.

Phoenix-born Moraga (13-1) is not known for his explosive power – with just two of his 13 wins coming by way of knockout – but the 29-year-old is renowned for his frequent striking.

In his UFC career Sherdog’s number nine-ranked star has landed an average of 4.01 strikes per minutes with an accuracy of 44 per cent against a UFC average of 2.61 and 37.4 per cent.

This work rate has proven fruitful thus far, with former Rage in the Cage bantamweight champion Moraga undefeated since making the step up to the UFC ranks, and explains his relatively short odds of 10/3 to dethrone Johnson.

Moraga is lethal on the floor and showed as much with a Submission of the Night guillotine choke against Chris Cariaso at UFC 155.

However, five of his wins and his only defeat thus far have come by way of decision and the older man is priced at 12/1 to claim a points victory here.

While many credit Moraga with more than a fighting chance, Johnson will be confident of retaining his title.

The 26-year-old Kentucky man is also known for an incredible work rate, as evidenced by his display at UFC on Fox 6 where he landed 27 significant strikes in one fight, 73 of which came in the clinch – setting a new UFC record.

This level of activity sees the champion priced as the 2/9 favourite for the win here and 4/7 to win on points.

Many could be tempted by the latter price after seeing all of Johnson’s last seven bouts go the distance, but those looking for better value could be tempted by the 6/1 on Johnson to take a split/majority decision, with two of his last four outings being won by such a method.

Come what may, fight fans are in for an all-action title fight when these two climb into the octagon.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.