By Jaime Feal
The UFC held a stellar card on free TV, primetime on the FOX network and live from Sacramento, CA. Much to the delight of the partisan Sacramento crowd, longtime hero Urijah “The California Kid” had an impressive submission win over young contender Michael MacDonald. In the main event, however, Demetrious Johnson silenced the crowd, knocking out the Sacramento-based challenger Joseph Benavidez in vicious fashion. Starting off the main card, Joe Lauzon dominated Mac Danzig with excellent ground technique, mixing in heavy ground and pound amongst submission attempts. Danzig was able to reverse position several times, but never was close to finishing Lauzon, whereas Danzig was in deep trouble on several occasions. The judges awarded a unanimous decision victory to Lauzon, who picked up the much needed win in the ultra-competitive UFC lightweight division.
Featherweight Division (145 lbs.):
Chad “Money” Mendes (15-1, 6-1 UFC) vs. Nik “The Carny” Lentz (24-5-2, 8-2-1 UFC)
Lentz comes in with the first combo, and Mendes covers up well. Good outside leg kick from Mendes, then a big hook that hurts Lentz. Mendes is looking to finish early, has Lentz wobbly. Mendes just missed with another huge hook. Lentz still coming forward, but already has his face swollen from the early Mendes’ punches. Mendes loads up on some more punches, then gets a takedown and puts Lentz on his back. Lentz is able to get back to his feet with about 2 minutes left in the round. Another nice left hook lands for Mendes. Lentz eats some more punches, then gets denied on a takedown. Lentz pushes forward, and Mendes puts him on his back again. 10-9 round for Mendes
Mendes lands a leg kicks, then ducks out of the way of a combo from Lentz. Pace has slowed significantly. Mendes lands another leg kick, but looking gassed. Lentz lands a leg kick of his own. Good left body kick from Lentz, Mendes responds with an outside leg kick. Inside leg kick from Mendes, good takedown as well. Mendes passes to side control. Lentz gets back to his feet, tags Mendes with a punch. Outside leg kick from Lentz, but gets put on his back. Lentz elevates with a sweep to get back to his feet. Mendes lands a good punch, once again takes Lentz down. Mendes rides out top control to finish the frame. 10-9 round for Mendes
Inside leg kick for Mendes. Body kick from Lentz. Straight left from Lentz, really pushing forward now. Lentz with a good punch over the top, another good body kick. Mendes gets stuffed on a takedown. Another body kick for Nik Lentz. Good right hand from Lentz, winning the round, but needs a finish to win the fight barring an atrocious judges’ decision. Mendes briefly gets a takedown, Lentz gets up. The sequence repeats itself, and the fighters are back to the feet. Now in the clinch, Lentz lands some good knees to the body. Hard left hand from Lentz. Flying knee lands for Mendes, drops Lentz on his back. Mendes looking to finish with a guillotine, mounts Lentz. Mendes losing control of the choke. Lentz escapes and eats a right hand to end the fight. 10-9 round for Lentz.
The judges score the fight 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28, for the winner by unanimous decision, Chad “Money” Mendes.
Bantamweight Division (135 lbs.):
Urijah “The California Kid” Faber (29-6, 5-2 UFC) vs. Michael “Mayday” MacDonald (16-2, 5-1 UFC)
Faber starts with a headkick, then gets a nice takedown. MacDonald has full guard, trying to control Urijah’s posture. Sacramento crowd chanting for Faber. “The California Kid” lands ac couple hard punches. MacDonald remaining very composed. Ref tells them to work, but the pace is still very slow. Faber lands a few light punches, ref Herb Dean stands them up with 2 minutes left. Light inside leg kick from Urijah. Big knee to the body from “Mayday,” Faber eats it. Nice right hand from Faber. MacDonald backing away while Faber looks to jab, then Urijah lands a nice punch. 10-9 round for Faber.
Faber dancing on the outside, utilizing a lot of feints. MacDonald misses with a bomb of an uppercut. Nice left hook from Faber. Huge right hand from Faber hurts MacDonald, who goes stumbling. Faber is right on him, lands a front kick, but MacDonald lands a hard counter that backs Faber off, and allows MacDonald to recover. Nice jab from MacDonald, hard outside leg kick follows. Nice head kick from MacDonald, then gets destroyed while rushing in from a right hand counter by Faber. MacDonald goes reeling backwards, and this time Faber pounces hard, nailing MacDonald with a huge right hook that drops him. Faber goes for his signature guillotine and already has a deep lock, rolling MacDonald over into mount. MacDonald struggles to escape, but the grip is way too tight, and he futilely taps out as the hometown crowd erupts for Faber.
Urijah “The California Kid” Faber wins by submission (guillotine choke) at 3:22 of Round 2.
UFC Flyweight Championship (125 lbs.):
Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson (18-2-1, 6-1-1- UFC) vs. Joseph Benavidez (19-3, 6-1 UFC)
Outside leg kick for Benavidez. Johnson tries to respond with the same but Benavidez avoids it. Nice jab from Johnson. Benavidez stuffs a takedown, but eats a couple punches while doing so. Nice straight right from Benavidez. Counter outside leg kick from Benavidez. Nice right hand from Benavidez. Johnson catches Benavidez with a straight counter right that drops him on his back, out cold. Johnson pounces and follows up with four lightning-fast piston straight rights until ref Herb Dean pulls him off the completely unconscious Benavidez. Wow. What a statement win from Johnson, becoming the first man to finish Joseph Benavidez.
Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson wins by knockout at 2:08 of Round 1.