On Saturday, Dec. 14, the UFC visited the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif. for its ninth installment on Fox.

In the night’s main event, UFC flyweight champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson rematched the man he defeated to earn the belt in the first place, Joseph Benavidez. The pair battled at UFC 152 in the finals of the promotion’s flyweight tournament, with Johnson escaping with a split decision win. Since then, Johnson had defended the belt twice, defeating John Moraga by submission and John Dodson via decision. Benavidez, meanwhile, had edged Ian McCall, Jussier da Silva and Darren Uyenoyama to earn another shot at the belt.

Also on the Fox-broadcast main card, former WEC champion and UFC title challenger Urijah Faber faced off with the hard-hitting Michael McDonald with each looking for another chance to compete for bantamweight gold, former featherweight title challenger Chad Mendes took on fellow top-10 fighter Nik Lentz, and Ultimate Fighter alums Mac Danzig and Joe Lauzon went to war.

The night’s action kicked off with a single fight on the promotion’s YouTube and Facebook pages starting at 4:30 p.m ET. Six additional fights followed on Fox Sports 1 at 5 p.m. ET, with the four-fight main card beginning at 8 p.m. ET.

Johnson knocks out Benavidez, retains flyweight title

UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson showed he has knockout power in a first round victory over Joseph Benavidez.

Both men looked to establish their speed in the early going. Johnson landed, but was countered by a Benavidez leg kick. Just two minutes into the fight, Johnson landed a massive right hand that knocked Benavidez out. He followed up with multiple punches before the referee could even pull him off.

Faber too much for McDonald

Urijah Faber put on one of his best career performance and submitted Michael McDonald with a second-round guillotine choke.

Faber scored an early takedown that brought the hometown crowd to its feet. Faber immediately had to go on the defensive though, as McDonald quickly threw up his legs for a triangle attempt. Faber was very patient, but then broke through with a nice right had. McDonald did a great job of tying Faber up until the referee stood the fighters back up. Faber landed a nice leg kick and a right hand as McDonald looked to counter. McDonald landed a big knee to the body. Faber caught the knee, but McDonald spun out to avoid the takedown. Faber clipped McDonald with a right hand as the round came to an end.

Faber continued to be the aggressor as McDonald looked to counter early in the second round. Faber landed a huge right hand that put McDonald on his heels. McDonald looked like he could be going out, but he was amazingly able to recover very quickly. McDonald got his legs back under him and landed a nice low kick to the thigh of Faber. McDonald went for a headkick, but Faber fired back with huge punches. McDonald desperately went for a takedown and Faber sunk in a signature guillotine choke to end the fight.

Mendes grinds out Lentz

Featherweight Chad Mendes went back to his wrestling roots to earn a decision win over Nik Lentz

Mendes landed a very stiff leg kick at the start of this one. Mendes then landed a bomb of a punch that rocked Lentz. Lentz used a takedown attempt to survive. Mendes composed himself on the feet and scored an explosive double-leg takedown. Lentz was able to get back to the feet and didn’t absorb much damage. Mendes again connected with a big combination, but this time Lentz was able to walk through it. Lentz started to come forward, but Mendes scored another takedown. The two fighters went back to the stand-up game fairly quickly. Mendes connected with a left-right combo as they stood up and got another takedown to end the round.

Mendes got started with a leg kick just as he did in the first. Lentz fired back with a pretty good combination. Mendes went to the leg kicks and landed two more solidly. Lentz still continued to be the fighter who walked forward though. Mendes went for a left hook that was partially blocked. Mendes scored the takedown again, but Lentz got back to his feet easily. Lentz clipped Mendes with a punch, but was again taken down. Mendes again wasn’t very active when it came to looking for damage on the ground, and Lentz was able to push him off with his feet. Lentz takedown defense suffered again and he was taken down as the round came to a close.

Mendes tried with a front kick to the face and narrowly missed. Lentz landed a body kick then buckled Mendes’ knees with a punch. Mendes fired back with a right hook. Mendes tried to stay offensive , but Lentz was able to defend a takedown for the first time in the fight. Lentz tried to come forward and threw more body kicks. Mendes started to time those kicks and scored two brief takedowns after catching those kicks. Lentz landed a nice left hand as he needed a finish to end the fight. Mendes went for a flying knee out of nowhere that stunned Lentz. Mendes took advantage and went for a guillotine. It was tight, but he didn’t finish.

Lauzon batters Danzig

Lightweight Joe Lauzon was perfect on his takedown attempts and bloodied up Mac Danzig to score a decision victory.

Both men felt each other out on the feet for a bit, before Lauzon was able to score a body lock takedown. Lauzon got the full mount fairly easily and went for an armbar. The submission looked fairly deep, but Danzig escaped and ended up on top. Danzig threw a bit of ground-and-pound before going for multiple submissions. Danzig had to defend another armbar, a triangle choke and an omoplata before the fighters got back to their feet. Danzig got in some decent offense in connecting with two elbows and some knees to the body. Lauzon clinched with Danzig and was able to get another body lock takedown in the final minute of the round.

Lauzon scored a nice combination early in the second. He hit Danzig with a straight punch to the nose and followed it up with an uppercut to the body. Lauzon looked to clinch again, but Danzig seperated and started to pull away on the feet. Danzig started to pick apart Lauzon and landed some more uppercuts and some right hands from inside the clinch. Lauzon was able to take advantage of a failed trip from Danzig and end up on top. Lauzon was methodical with his ground striking, but got through with some very punishing elbows. One of those elbows busted open Danzig’s nose pretty badly. Lauzon looked to pass and mounted Danzig with seconds remaining in the round.

The fighters clinched again early in the final round and Danzig got the better of it by landing some more punches over the top and a leg kick on the break. Danzig stayed busy on the feet and landed some nice body shots before Lauzon was able to score his third takedown of the fight. Lauzon went back to the elbows that opened up Danzig in the second. Lauzon passed the guard and trapped Danzig in the crucifix position. Lauzon fired off elbows and eventually passed to mount. Lauzon again looked to go for an armbar from the mount. He didn’t have it tight enough and Danzig was able to get on top of Lauzon briefly. Lauzon reversed on a scramble and ended up back on top. Lauzon passed guard and landed more hard elbows as the fight came to an end.

Preliminary Card Summary

Welterweight Ryan LaFlare defeated a game Court McGee to earn his third straight UFC victory. LaFlare was able to be the more effective fighter with diverse striking and wrestling. LaFlare mixed it up with a variety of punches and kicks, while McGee was more exclusively punches. LaFlare used his reach advantage to land some good body kicks and cut McGee pretty badly on the forehead with a straight left in the second round. LaFlare’s roughest spots were in the third round, where McGee had some pretty tight chokes on multiple occasions. LaFlare lost that round, but had done enough in the first two to get the win.

Brazilian lightweight Edson Barboza scored a great comeback victory over Danny Castillo in an exciting, back-and-forth battle. Barboza recovered from an extremely rough first round after Castillo rocked him  with punches on the feet and was very close to a rear-naked choke submission. Barboza escaped the submission, in part due to a fence grab. Castillo controlled the rest of the round on the ground and it looked like he might get a TKO stoppage, but Barboza made it out of the round. Barboza looked like a completely different fighter over the final two rounds. He brutalized Castillo’s legs with some hard low kicks. In the third it looked like he might have been able to finish it after a body kick, but he let Castillo recover. At the end of the fight it looked like it might be a draw due to Castillo’s dominating first round, but two judges scored it in Barboza’s favor for the majority decision.

In another lightweight contest, Bobby Green picked up his third win inside the Octagon in an entertaining bout with Pat Healy. This fight turned out to be pretty much a stand-up war as both fighters displayed excellent takedown defense. The significant strike statistics were fairly even at the end of the fight, but Green was more accurate and landed the more powerful shots. Early in the fight Green fought with his hands at his sides and used great head movement to slip out of the way of Healy’s strikes. Healy had more success as Green slowed down a bit in the later rounds, but Green had done enough to earn the victory.

Flyweight newcomer Zach Makovsky won his UFC debut over Scott Jorgensen with a clear, but competitive decision victory. Makovsky’s success in this bout was predicated by his ability to land the stronger strikes. Makovsky consistently found a home for his left hand and landed a uppercuts, hooks, and straights to keep Jorgensen, who was walking forward most of the time, on his heels. Jorgensen had a couple of chances at submissions, but Makovsky defended and was just the better fighter on this night.

Veteran Sam Stout dominated Cody McKenzie in the striking game to earn a unanimous decision win. Things didn’t start out great for Stout as McKenzie took him down and was pretty smothering for the first half of the opening frame. Stout stayed composed and got back to his feet where he went to work. From the second half of the first round on, Stout dominated the stand-up game. He landed some very hard body shots combined with a nice jab and kicks to win every round on the judges’ scorecards.

In a lightweight rematch, Abel Trujilo picked apart Roger Bowling with diverse striking to earn a second-round TKO victory. Trujilo survived an early guillotine attempt by Bowling during a scramble and then put “it” on Bowling. Trujilo rocked Bowling multiple times with hooks and straight punches in the first round. He added in a flying knee and some hard knees to the body. He picked up where he left off in the second. He took Bowling down and was beginning to pound him out. Bowling was able to get back to his feet, but Trujilo peppered him with punches and knees until the referee intervened.

Flyweight Alp Ozkilic had an impressive UFC debut with a split decision victory over Darren Uyenoyama. The Turkish fighter was in control of the fight wherever it went. Ozkilic controlled the striking with solid kicking. He was also on top of Uyenoyama punishing him with punches for the majority of the fight. Ozkilic was taken down briefly once, but got back up and had great submission defense while inside Uyenoyama’s guard.

Demetrious Johnson def. Joseph Benavidez by knockout (punch). Round 1, 2:08 – for UFC flyweight title
Urijah Faber def. Michael McDonald by submission (guillotine choke). Round 2, 3:22
Chad Mendes def. Nik Lentz by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Joe Lauzon def. Mac Danzig by unanimous decision (30-27×3)
Ryan Laflare def. Court McGee by unanimous decision (29-28×3)
Edson Barboza def. Danny Castillo by majority decision (29-28, 28-28, 29-28)
Bobby Green def. Pat Healy by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
Zach Makovsky def. Scott Jorgensen by unanimous decision (30-27×3)
Sam Stout def. Cody McKenzie by unanimous decision (30-27×3)
Abel Trujilo def. Roger Bowling by TKO (punches). Round 2, 1:35
Alp Ozkilic def. Darren Uyenoyama by split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)

Photo: Demetrious Johnson (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Trey Downey
Staff Writer

A Central Florida native, Trey Downey's interest in MMA came after a trip to Blockbuster and the rental of UFC 47 on VHS. He has been blogging about the sport since 2011 and hosted a podcast called The TD Experience focusing on football and MMA (touchdowns and takedowns). Trey studied radio and television at the University of Central Florida and will soon be attending the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Trey enjoys watching sports, pro wrestling and is an avid runner.