Joseph Benavidez gets a second chance against flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson in UFC on Fox 9's main event.
UFC Fight Night 33 is in the books. The results are as follows:
Mark Hunt and Antonio Silva fight to a majority draw (48-47 Hunt, 47-47, 47-47)
Mauricio Rua defeats James Te-Huna by KO at 1:03 of Round 1
Ryan Bader defeats Anthony Perosh by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Soa Palelei defeats Pat Barry by KO via punches at 2:51 of Round 1
Clint Hester defeats Dylan Andrews by TKO via doctor stoppage at 5:00 of Round 2
Bethe Correia defeats Julie Kedzie by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Takeya Mizugaki defeats Nam Phan by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-28)
Caio Magalhaes defeats Nick Ring by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Justin Scoggins defeats Richi Vaculik by TKO via punches at 4:43 of Round 1
Krzysztof Jotko defeats Bruno Santos by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Alex Garcia defeats Ben Wall by KO via punch at 0:43 of Round 1
Next up is the super-duper stacked UFC on Fox 9.
Demetrious Johnson and Joseph Benavidez sit atop one of the greatest top-to-bottom cards in UFC history. In addition to the flyweight championship bout, we see critical fights in the bantamweight, welterweight, featherweight and lightweight divisions.
So what topics are worth thinking about for the next eight days? Find out right here!
UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Thomson is a card below the standard set by recent Fight Nights.
When UFC on Fox 9 was first put together, UFC fans were collectively giddy. It was quite possibly the most stacked card on free TV in UFC's history. There isn't a single uninteresting fight on the card.
For whatever reason, UFC on Fox 10 is the complete opposite. While the headline is a critical lightweight bout between former UFC champion Benson Henderson and former Strikeforce champion Josh Thomson, the rest of the card is utterly devoid of name-brand fighters. Just look at the main cards side by side:
UFC on Fox 9
Demetrious Johnson (c) vs. Joseph Benavidez (1)
Urijah Faber (2) vs. Michael McDonald (3)
Carlos Condit (2) vs. Matt Brown (9)
Chad Mendes (1) vs. Nik Lentz (8)
UFC on Fox 10
Benson Henderson (1) vs. Josh Thomson (4)
Stipe Miocic (9) vs. Gabriel Gonzaga
Darren Elkins (10) vs. Jeremy Stephens
Donald Cerrone (9) vs. Adriano Martins
That's just the main card. Never even mind how borderline unwatchable the preliminary card is.
Granted, all four of those main card fights involve exciting fighters. It's possible it could be a barnburner of an event.
Make no mistake, however, UFC on Fox 9 is no less intriguing fight-for-fight, and each main card bout sets the stage for potential title shots in the next six months.
So what does all this mean? Is the UFC just nursing a hangover from 10 events in a three-month span? Or are they legitimately dialing back on what they put on Fox?
"I'm pretty sure I tore something here" says Anthony Pettis after taking the belt.
Before I started writing for Bleacher Report's MMA section, I was syndicated into the Fantasy Football page. As I, or anybody that has ever had money riding on Jamaal Charles, Tom Brady, Donovan McNabb, etc. can tell you, knee injuries can totally ruin a good thing.
Anthony Pettis? He has one of those.
As we know, complications of all sorts can arise, and while it's unlikely he'll wind up as something of a "Dominick Cruz" case, the lightweight division is stacked…really, really, really stacked. More stacked than we've ever seen it, perhaps.
Seriously, just think on how many fighters have been discussed as title contenders in the last few weeks.
Gilbert Melendez, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Josh Thomson, Rafael dos Anjos and TJ Grant would all be deserving of a shot at the gold. That doesn't even mention Ben Henderson. Add to that the resurgence of Donald Cerrone and Nate Diaz, and the shockingly fast climbs that we're seeing from Rustam Khabilov and Myles Jury...wow.
If you thought the welterweight logjam in 2012 from GSP sitting on the shelf was bad, you ain't seen nothin' yet.
Scott Jorgensen makes his flyweight debut opposite former Bellator bantamweight champion Zach Makovsky.
While Joseph Benavidez is an excellent fighter, his fighting for a belt right now is unquestionably out of necessity, rather than legitimacy.
Regardless of how good a fighter is or how likely they are to actually take the belt, the proverbial drawing board never has somebody getting two title shots in a 14-month span.
That said, the flyweight division is officially becoming compelling. In addition to strong winning streaks from John Lineker and Ali Bagautinov, it is now adding two former top-10 bantamweights in Scott Jorgensen and Zach Makovsky, who face off in a deceptively important flyweight bout.
Jorgensen likely needs little introduction. He began his Zuffa career with the WEC all the way back in 2008, and was one of the most successful, enduring fighters in the bantamweight division.
Unfortunately, a recent 1-3 stretch has forced Jorgensen to hit the reset button. He will look to build himself back up as a flyweight, and will definitely have a good chance to do so.
Makovsky, meanwhile, remains a mystery to most fans. He is a solid fighter who previously competed in EliteXC, and rose to true prominence as Bellator's first bantamweight champion. Skill-wise, he has lightning-fast, squirrely wrestling and solid submission skills.
Whoever takes this bout instantly becomes a major player near the top of the flyweight division, partly because of the division's shallowness and partly because they're both good at this whole fighting thing.
A top contender bout between the winner and Ali Bagautinov makes perfect sense.
Joe Lauzon and Mac Danzig will square off, and may get booted with a loss.
I love Joe Lauzon. He's a hometown hero in my neck of the woods and easily ranks among the most exciting fighters in MMA history. Mac Danzig is no slouch, either.
The two of them fight at UFC on Fox 9 and, tragically, the loser of the fight is very likely to be cut.
It was only a year ago that Lauzon was on many top-10 lists. Since then, however, he has suffered back-to-back decision losses to Jim Miller and Michael Johnson.
While the loss to Miller was one of the greatest fights of 2012, it was still a brutally lopsided affair. The fight with an inexperienced Michael Johnson was an ugly loss and lacked Lauzon's standard edge-of-your-seat output. A loss to Danzig would push him to 0-3 since August 2012.
Danzig is in a somewhat similar boat. Since winning The Ultimate Fighter Season 6, Danzig has been completely ineffective. He is 3-7 in his last 10 and, combining his WEC, UFC and Pride records, is 5-9 in major promotions. As with Lauzon, he is staring at a three fight losing streak if he doesn't take this fight.
Granted, these lightweights are particularly exciting, and that will buy both of them more slack than plodders like Yushin Okami and Jon Fitch who have actually strung together winning streaks.
Regardless, the UFC's primary currency remains wins, and both Lauzon and Danzig are racking up quite the bill right now.
Pat Healy came close to title contention twice before losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Pat Healy is a great fighter. It is genuinely ridiculous he falls outside the division's top-10 (at least as long as Jim Miller sits on the list).
Sure, he is currently sitting at 0-1 (1) in his UFC career, but this is still an 11-year veteran who has wins over Dan Hardy, Carlos Condit and Paul Daley. He was a force at welterweight, and is a beast at lightweight.
While he was scheduled to fight Jamie Varner, the former WEC champ withdrew due to injury and was replaced with Bobby Green. You may remember Green as the guy that went so crazy on James Krause's cup back at Fight for the Troops 3 that John McCarthy gave him a win simply to spare Krause's "man region" of further damage.
Green isn't just a modern Keith Hackney, though. He is good at attacking places above the belt. However, he is not a top-10 lightweight by any stretch of the imagination.
Because of that, he finds himself seriously overmatched (on paper) against an enduring veteran in Pat Healy.
Will he exceed expectations? Or will this be a bounce-back fight for Healy following a rough outing against Khabib Nurmagomedov?
Edson Barboza is a scary dude, and has been getting better and better.
Edson Barboza is one of the most dynamic strikers in MMA. Unfortunately, while he found unprecedented fame following his spinning kick knockout of Terry Etim, the hype train was stopped in spectacular fashion after getting beaten down by Jamie Varner.
Barboza has taken two emphatic wins since then, but is yet to regain the widespread interest he generated early last year. That, however, has not stopped him from evolving as a fighter.
Barboza's next opponent is WEC veteran Danny Castillo, a savvy veteran who has beaten some deceptively strong competition but has never really come close to title contention. That makes him a perfect opponent for Barboza to show off against.
So will we see anything new?
Very good things happen for Chad Mendes after he assumes this position.
It's hard not to feel bad for anybody who faces off with Chad Mendes. In all likelihood, their head is going to get punched clean off.
Over his last four fights, Mendes has busted Cody McKenzie's ribs, slapped around Yaotzin Meza, wrecked Darren Elkins and, most notably, handed Clay Guida the first knockout loss of his career. Not bad at all for somebody who, size-wise, should be fighting in the bantamweight division.
His opponent at UFC on Fox 9 is Nik Lentz, a solid top-10 featherweight who is 3-0 in the division. He'd be a tough draw for anybody else in the division.
With Mendes, though? The expectation is him delivering a scary, emphatic knockout. We'll see if he can do it yet again.
Matt Brown has been having a Mark Hunt-like resurgence. Will he prove to be a contender against Condit, though?
There have been few resurgences as profound and exciting as Matt Brown's.
After going 5-5 in his first 10 UFC fights, some kind of switch flipped in the brain of The Immortal. He has since rattled off six straight wins (five via KO or TKO) and, in the process, gone from an anonymous middle-of-the-prelims welterweight to one of the most exciting fighters in possibly the strongest division in the UFC.
That said, Brown is officially in the big leagues now. He's facing off with former interim champion and all-around badass Carlos Condit.
Sure, Brown has beaten some good fighters. His three most recent wins are over Mike Swick, Jordan Mein and Mike Pyle. Condit, though? The fact that he's ranked behind only Georges St-Pierre and Johny Hendricks speaks for itself.
This fight will show the world whether Brown is a true title contender or a feel good story. Either way, it has been one hell of a ride.
Urijah Faber vs. Michael McDonald is a tantalizing fight between two of the world's best bantamweights.
This bout is downright sexy.
Urijah Faber and Michael McDonald face off in a mouth-watering bout that will almost certainly determine the next opponent for the winner of the UFC 169 bantamweight title unification bout between Dominick Cruz and Renan Barao.
So who will it be?
Faber's skills are well known and well established after years of running over top-level featherweights and bantamweights. He is a legitimate NCAA Division I wrestler, and has shown himself to be a truly crafty submission artist.
In spite of losing to both Cruz and Barao in 2011 and 2012, respectively, Faber is a major threat to any fighter at 135 pounds.
McDonald, meanwhile, remains a mystery to some fans simply because of his relatively recent rise to prominence. In spite of that, there is no denying that the 22 year-old is an elite talent at a very young age. He is one of the few fighters in the division capable of finishing a fight standing—and on the ground, and has a legitimate chance of beating Faber.
It's hard to pick a winner, but it's ultimately unnecessary. This will be an exciting fight. The inevitable matchups that will be made following Cruz-Barao will also be exciting.
Buckle in, kids.
Demetrious Johnson came out on top in his first fight with Joseph Benavidez. Will this be any different?
It was in September of 2012 that Demetrious Johnson and Joseph Benavidez first faced off.
The fight was by no means a blowout, but Johnson did excellent work keeping himself just a hair out of Benavidez's striking range. That led to a major striking differential that would, in turn, give Johnson the decision victory.
Since then, however, both fighters have grown. Benavidez has begun slipping dynamite into his gloves, giving him some serious knockout power. Johnson, meanwhile, has demonstrated almost inhuman speed in his most recent fights, and has a downright absurd sense of range.
So, how will they match up? Will Benavidez touch him and actually be able to score a finish? Or will Mighty Mouse work his magic and play the part of Neo from The Matrix as Benavidez's hands fly by in slow motion?
I'm excited to find out.