USUALLY A CARD suffers when the likes of Carlos Condit and John Dodson pull out through injury but this week’s UFC on Fox 9 has remained strong thanks to a good reshuffle.
A flyweight title rematch between Demetrious Johnson and Joseph Benavidez headlines the event while a crucial matchup in the bantamweight division between Urijah Faber and Michael McDonald combine nicely.
The Team Alpha Male theme continues as Chad Mendes looks to continue his hot streak against Nik Lentz while Joe Lauzon and Mac Danzig go to war in a lightweight bout to make up the main card.
A strong undercard features the likes of season 11 TUF winner Court McGee as well as Scott Jorgensen with the Sam Stout and Cody McKenzie bout the standout battle.
“Mighty Mouse” packs some punch
Demetrious Johnson has yet to taste defeat since the formation of the UFC’s flyweight division and he has grown into the role of champion with every fight that passes.
Having already beaten Joseph Benavidez to become the first UFC flyweight champion he knows what it takes to win this fight but the close nature of that first bout means that another victory for him here is no certainty.
Benavidez bounced back from the disappointment of missing out on the belt with three straight victories over top contenders; finishing his last two fights over Jussier Formiga and Darren Uyenoyama with impressive TKO’s.
Johnson has seen off all-comers relatively comfortably and out of all his recent opponents it was arguably Benavidez who caused him the most problems and had him rocked at one stage.
Benavidez is the bigger fighter and stronger hitter but Johnson has proved durable when hit and his unrivalled movement and pace makes him elusive. Both men have great cardio and strong wrestling making this a very tough fight to call.
If Benavidez can land a big shot then he stands a chance of finishing the champ but “Mighty Mouse” is intelligent enough to stay on the outside and counter. Saying Johnson will win again via a decision is an easy call but it’s the most probable outcome unless Joseph’s motivation to be champ gives him that extra something extra to help get him over the finish line. Either way it’s going to be close.
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Team Alpha Male representing
While Joseph Benavidez tops the card here with his title shot he is surrounded, as per usual, with the other members of his close knit inner circle, Team Alpha Male. The Team was founded by Urijah Faber back in 2004 and four of its most prominent members are fighting on this card.
Team Alpha top dog Urijah Faber takes on Michael “Mayday” McDonald in a pivotal bantamweight matchup which could provide an insight the direction of the division in showing us whether the new blood is ready to take over.
At 22, McDonald already has a title shot under his belt and is seen as the future of the division while Faber has been around a long time although he is riding a three fight win streak since his lost to Renan Barao.
Faber only ever seems to lose in championship bouts so it would be a massive statement for McDonald if he was to pick up a win here. Faber’s great movement will probably frustrate “Mayday” who may use his strong takedown offense to take it to the ground but he must be wary of Faber’s excellent chokes.
Faber was stunned early in his last fight against Iuri Alcantara showing that at 34, he might be slowing down a bit. It is so hard to count against Faber in this fight though because every time you count him out he proves you wrong but McDonald can unpick him here on the feet and could out a stop to another Faber title tilt.
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Chad Mendes could hold the best chance of a Team Alpha Male victory on the card as he takes on Nik Lentz in the featherweight division. Since losing to Jose Aldo Mendes has KO’d his last four opponents including Clay Guida who had never been KO’d before.
Lentz has improved since dropping down a division but could find himself out of his depth against the top contender here who could very well make this five KO’s in a row. Team Alpha Male’s other member Danny Castillo takes on Edson Barboza on the undercard.
Meanwhile the fight that kicks off the main card could be the most exciting. Joe Lauzon is never involved in a boring fight and when you throw Mac Danzig into the mix it has all the hallmarks of a “fight of the night” bout.
Both men a smarting from recent defeats meaning they will both give it their all to try and get a win here but Lauzon’s unpredictable submission game will prove key here as he avoids Danzig’s striking by taking him to the ground. Expect fireworks.