At UFC on Fox 9 in Sacramento on Saturday night, UFC flyweight champion Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson silenced the critics of his fighting style and those that say the flyweights don’t pack the same knock out power as the heavier weight classes, when he knocked Joseph Benavidez out with a well-placed right hand in the first round. The event also featured Urijah Faber notching his fourth win in a row, with a second-round guillotine on Michael McDonald which Faber sunk in after he rocked McDonald with a series of huge right hands that sent McDonald flying backwards across the cage.
The prelim card was filled with decisions, although it didn’t seem too laborious to deal with because the fights were entertaining for the most part. Former Bellator bantamweight champ Zach Makovsky made a successful UFC debut in a unanimous decision win over WEC/UFC vet Scott Jorgensen, and the fight-of-the-night bonus went to Edson Barboza and Danny Castillo, after Castillo dominated and nearly finished Barboza in the first round, but then gave up the last two to the Brazilian and his devastating leg kicks. Let’s take a look at some of the most impressive performances from the UFC’s ninth event on network television.
Mighty Mouse Stakes Claim for 2013 Fighter of the Year
What UFC fighters have had a better and more impressive 2013 than Demetrious Johnson? His first-round knockout punch that flattened Benavidez marks his third defense of the UFC flyweight title, all of which went down within this calendar year. Vitor Belfort has had an impressive 2013 as well with three knockouts, all resulting from vicious head kicks to Bisping, Rockhold, and Dan Henderson, but Belfort doesn’t have a belt, so I’m going with the dude who has a belt for fighter-of-the-year.
The California Contender
In front of his hometown fans, Urijah Faber put on one of the most dominant performances of the night at UFC on Fox 9, and one of his most dominant in recent memory, earning submission-of-the-night in the process. About halfway through the fight, one that Faber was winning, he clocks McDonald with a right hand than bends him up like a paper clip. McDonald showed a lot of heart in trying to recover and get out of harm’s way, but Faber spun him around and nailed him with another hard right, this time sending McDonald sailing backwards with Faber chasing after him.
Here’s a few screenshots from the frenetic ending to the fight:
It all went down so quickly that it was hard on the first watch to really appreciate the veteran poise employed by Faber, landing nearly every shot he threw at McDonald before sinking in the guillotine and making the 22-year old tap. Faber now looks forward to another well-deserved title shot against the winner of Cruz vs Barao at UFC 169 in February.
Here’s Faber’s teammates reacting to the finish:
Chad Mendes Beats Nik Lentz with a Sinus Infection
Mendes was a huge favorite going into this fight, and a lot of people thought he was going to put Lentz away early on. He nearly did when he clipped Lentz with a left hook in the first minute of the fight, but Lentz was able to weather the storm and stay in the fight. Mendes seemed to go into survival mode and stopped aggressively looking for the finish as the fight went on, and he revealed afterwards that he had a sinus infection going into the fight. Lentz can endure a lot of punishment and keep moving forward, but Mendes was still too much for him even on what was visibly an off night for him. He was able to earn a unanimous decision over Lentz and is now riding a five-fight winning streak. The belt that he wants is up for grabs at UFC 169, when Jose Aldo defends the UFC featherweight title against Ricardo Lamas, and I think Mendes has the best claim as the next in line.
LaFlare Upsets McGee, Moves to 3-0 Inside the Octagon
This fight was originally supposed to be a battle of Ultimate Fighter winners, but when Kelvin Gastellum pulled out with an injury a month before the fight, Ryan LaFlare had no reason not to take the fight when he got the phone call. Court McGee has some of the best cardio in the UFC, but it wasn’t enough to avoid the punches, kicks, and takedowns of Ryan LaFlare, who bloodiest Mcgee up on the feet and controlled most of the fight. The Bellmore Kickboxing Academy prospect has gone 3-0 inside the UFC since making his debut in April in Stockholm. Easily my pick for 2013’s UFC rookie-of-the-year.