UFC on Fox: 5 Reasons to Watch on Saturday Night
The UFC returns to the Fox airwaves Saturday night, offering its ninth show on the big network. The flyweight title will be on the line as Demetrious Johnson defends against Joseph Benavidez for the second time in a little over a year, and Urijah Faber will slug it out with Michael McDonald in the co-main event.
With that in mind, here are five reasons to tune in for a little pre-holiday mayhem this weekend.
Pat Healy Didn't Actually Go Anywhere
Earlier this year, Pat Healy returned to the UFC for the first time in seven years and beat Jim Miller in an absolutely crazy brawl. But he had smoked a little pot sometime in the month before his fight, and, according to your average athletic commissioner, that basically made him Superman on fight night.
Win overturned. Fines implemented. Point made.
Healy returned at UFC 165 and suffered a setback against rising star Khabib Nurmagomedov, but that young Russian is presently 21-0 and very likely to earn himself a title shot sometime in 2014.
The reality is that Healy didn't go anywhere—he's still a criminally underrated lightweight who puts on a great show every time he fights. His forgettable 2013 shouldn't be the standard to which he's held, as he's won seven of 10 fights at 155.
Look for him to get back in the win column with a typically gritty showing, one that should set him up for a comeback year in 2014.
Joe Lauzon Is Fighting
What more is there to say? When Joe Lauzon is fighting, you need to sit down and watch. It's probably going to be over quickly, and it's probably going to end awesomely.
Even if it doesn't, someone will leave the cage after 15 minutes with a lot less plasma than he had when he entered.
Lauzon is up there with names like Anderson Silva, Nate Diaz, and Chris Lytle in fight night bonuses, tied with Silva for the most all-time. He's won a bonus in 12 of his 15 UFC fights, which means there's about an 80 percent chance he'll do something spectacular Saturday night.
Someone Might Earn a Featherweight Title Shot
Chad Mendes and Nik Lentz will throw down in Sacramento, Calif., for the enjoyment of the Fox viewership, and it's entirely likely that the winner will come out with a crack at Jose Aldo and his featherweight title.
Mendes lost to Aldo in early 2012, but he hasn't been pushed in the slightest since. He's 4-0 since, and he has finished every guy he's fought, usually in remarkable fashion.
Lentz has quietly had similar luck since a 2012 drop to featherweight, mugging his way to a 3-0 record there. Success against Mendes would give him the signature win he needs to get into the title picture.
Urijah Faber Won't Go Away...But He Might on Saturday
Some people think Urijah Faber gets favorable treatment from the UFC after his years as a company man in WEC. Others might argue that a marketable guy who never loses fights that aren't for a title has earned the right to be treated well.
That's been the case for Faber, who is 18-0 in non-title fights. Think about that. In 10 years as a pro across three weight classes, no one has beaten him in a non-title fight. That's a very underrated statistic.
And it might no longer be true when we all wake up Sunday morning.
Michael McDonald is the baddest dude Faber has seen across the cage in a non-title fight in years. Maybe ever. He's a young, gifted fighter in the midst of transitioning from prospect to outright terror, and he just might be ready to snatch the title of "best bantamweight without a belt" from The California Kid.
Johnson and Benavidez Are the Best 125ers on Earth
There is no question that the two men squaring off in the main event are the best at their craft to weigh 125 pounds.
They fought last year in a highly technical, chaotic affair that saw Demetrious Johnson retain, and Joseph Benavidez has been chasing him down ever since.
While guys like Ian McCall and John Lineker are right there in the mix, Johnson and Benavidez are on another level right now. They'll deliver a good one Saturday.