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.
Who ya got?
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
Live Stream: Fox Sports Live
|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|
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.
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.