The UFC rolls into Sacramento, California on Saturday, December 14th for UFC on Fox 9, headlined by a flyweight title fight between current champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson and Joseph Benavidez. Benavidez will be looking to capture Team Alpha Male’s first UFC championship while Mighty Mouse will be looking to extend his championship defence streak to three. The main card is only comprised of four fights, so I’ll be breaking down all four fights, what’s on the line and who I think will come away the victor.
Flyweight Championship Match: Demetrious Johnson vs. Joseph Benavidez
It’s surprising to think that after Jon Jones, Georges St-Pierre and Jose Aldo, that the next dominate champion in the UFC is Demetrious Johnson. Johnson has gone unbeaten since dropping from bantamweight to flyweight, and has a four fight win streak heading into Saturday’s title fight. Johnson has been called by many the most technical fighter in the UFC, as he mixes in superior technical skill with lightning fast movements. His stand-up and ground game are second to only one in the division, and the veteran of 21 career bouts will be looking to take out that man a second time.
Joseph Benavidez was the favourite to win the flyweight title when the division was first introduced. The dream of holding a UFC championship was in the hands of the judges at UFC 152, but unfortunately for Benavidez, only one of three judges gave him a winning scorecard. Benavidez has always been close to the top, but never at the top. In the WEC, he was always ranked third, behind teammate Urijah Faber and current bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz. Benavidez has phenomenal wrestling skills, great submissions and has improved his stand-up by leaps and bounds due to the help of coach Duane “Bang” Ludwig.
The last fight was a super close back and forth battle. The winner of this is the one who has improved the most since their fight in September of 2012. This will be a very, very close fight, but I’d have to give the edge to Benavidez. It has been a hell of a year for Team Alpha Male, and I think they’ll end it with a championship, with Benavidez landing hard shots on Johnson with his improved striking game, and winning the fight by decision.
Prediction: Joseph Benavidez def. Demetrious Johnson (Unanimous Decision)
Urijah Faber vs. Michael MacDonald (Bantamweight)
If you know the statistics behind Urijah Faber, you would know that since 2008 he is perfect in non-championship fights, 8-0, but has been unable to win a championship fight, 0-4. Since his last championship fight, Faber has put on an impressive three fight winning streak, and has made his case for being in the top three of the bantamweight division.
Michael MacDonald has also made a strong case for being at the top of the division. He fought an all out war against current interm-bantamweight champion Renan Barao, and looked ultra impressive against Brad Pickett, finishing him by TKO in the second round.
This will be a battle of the old king of Cali vs. the new king of Cali, and Michael MacDonald has shown that he has what it takes, both mentally and physically, to one day be a champion in the UFC. Urijah Faber knows where he can take the fight to MacDonald though, and that is on the ground. Faber is at his best when he is grappling, and that is MacDonald’s only crack in his armour. His grappling is outstanding, but Faber’s is much better. I’ve got the California Kid keeping his crown, getting a submission in the latter two rounds.
Prediction: Urijah Faber def. Michael MacDonald (2nd Round Submission)
Chad Mendes vs. Nik Lentz (Featherweight)
If you look at the betting lines for this fight, you’ll see that Nik Lentz is a massive, and I mean, massive underdog heading into this fight with number one ranked Chad Mendes. Nik Lentz has done very well at featherweight, winning three straight since dropping down to the division. He has yet to face a top 10 guy though, and the first top 10 guy he is facing is who many consider the best featherweight in the world not named Jose Aldo.
Chad Mendes is an absolute beast. He went 11-0 to start off his career, 6-0 in UFC/WEC fights, before challenging featherweight champion Jose Aldo. Mendes lost the fight in the first round after getting hit with a vicious knee seconds before the end of the round. Mendes has since been on another tear, going 4-0 with all four fights ending by (T)KO. Nik Lentz has not faced a fighter with the stand-up and grappling skills that Mendes has, and this fight should put Mendes one step closer to a title shot.
Prediction: Chad Mendes def. Nik Lentz (2nd Round TKO)
Joe Lauzon vs. Mac Danzig (Lightweight)
Lauzon is known as the bonus king, but in his last fight with Michael Johnson, Lauzon looked like he deserved the farthest thing from a bonus. Johnson out struck Lauzon, who barely attempted to take the fight to the ground, and lost a clear cut unanimous decision. This extended Lauzon’s losing streak to two, the longest of his career. The submission specialist has finished 18 career fights by submission, and if he wants to get back into the win column, he best look to get the fight to the ground as soon as possible.
Mac Danzig has not looked good lately, losing two in a row, like Lauzon, the last by KO courtesy of Melvin Guillard. Although growing up in boxing, Danzig has found his place on the mat, winning the majority of his MMA bouts by submission. The problem for Danzig is that Lauzon is on a whole other level when it comes to submissions. Lauzon will likely be able to take Danzig to the ground early, and finish the fight with a submission, finally getting back into the win column while Danzig walks out of the UFC having lost three in a row.
Prediction: Joe Lauzon def .Mac Danzig (1st Round Submission)
Michael Hutchinson’s Main Card Prediction Record: 3-1