UFC on Fox 9: Previewing Johnson vs. Benavidez Rematch

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UFC on Fox 9: Previewing Johnson vs. Benavidez Rematch
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

When flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson (18-2-1) squares off against Joseph Benavidez (19–3) for the title in the main event of UFC on Fox 9, the anticipation surrounding the rematch will have mixed martial arts fans flocking to the television to watch the event.

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The show was originally supposed to feature Anthony Pettis vs. TJ Grant for the lightweight championship, but a string of injuries to multiple competitors forced that bout and its alternatives to be cancelled.

Replacement fights are typically a letdown, but after the classic first chapter in the battle between Johnson and Benavidez, this is a bout fans of the sport can rally around.

Here is all the vital viewing information to witness Saturday’s main event, the full card and a preview of the flyweight title fight.

 

Where: Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, Calif.

When: Saturday, Dec. 14 at 8 p.m. ET

Watch: Fox

Live Stream: Fox Sports Live

 

Full UFC on Fox 9 Card
Main Card (Fox) Fighter 1 Fighter 2
Flyweight Demetrious Johnson (c) Joseph Benavidez
Bantamweight Urijah Faber Michael McDonald
Lightweight Joe Lauzon Mac Danzig
Featherweight Chad Mendes Nik Lentz
Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 1) Fighter 1 Fighter 2
Welterweight Court McGee Ryan LaFlare
Lightweight Edson Barboza Danny Castillo
Lightweight Bobby Green Pat Healy
Flyweight Scott Jorgensen Zach Makovsky
Lightweight Abel Trujillo Roger Bowling
Preliminary Card (Online) Fighter 1 Fighter 2
Lightweight Sam Stout Cody McKenzie
Flyweight Darren Uyenoyama Alptekin Ozkilic

Source: UFC.com

 

Main Event Preview and Prediction

The last time Johnson fought Benavidez, the two men were in the finals of the inaugural flyweight championship tournament at UFC 152. After brutalizing each other for five rounds, Johnson was awarded the split-decision victory.

Benavidez enters Saturday’s main event as the hungrier fighter with more to prove, and he will steal the show and the title with a decision victory of his own.

Three wins in a row since the loss to Johnson has momentum squarely on Benavidez’s side, but it’s more about how the No. 1 contender is winning his fights. TKO victories over Darren Uyenoyama and Jussier Formiga via a flurry of punches and knees prove he is a more aggressive striker than he was a year ago.

Add in the devastating knockout of Yasuhiro Urushitani in the semifinals of the tournament, and it is clear that Benavidez is the more powerful of the two fighters.

That doesn’t mean Johnson will just hand over his title, though.

The champion has successfully defended his belt twice in entertaining battles against John Dodson (won the Fight of the Night award) and John Moraga (won the Submission of the Night award).

Johnson deserved the victory in the first fight with Benavidez as much as his challenger, but the circumstances are different now. While Johnson has been feasting on the spoils of being a champion, Benavidez has been forced to scratch and claw his way back into the title scene.

These two men are evenly matched in speed and elusiveness, but the power advantage in the No. 1 contender’s striking will make the difference. If Benavidez can keep Johnson from taking this fight to the ground by countering with his own wrestling abilities, his striking advantage will be enough to get the decision victory and claim the flyweight title.

Predicted Winner: Joseph Benavidez via unanimous decision.

 

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