UFC on Fox 9 in Sacramento, Calif., was turning out to be a dud of a card. Then, the later portion of the main card came to save us all.
The card was full of decisions and lacked the intrigue that came with it coming into Saturday. The main event and co-main event both saw finishes, as Urijah Faber choked out Michael McDonald while Demetrious Johnson retained his flyweight title by knocking out Joseph Benavidez.
With the subpar card in general coming in unison with the exciting two finishes to end the event, how was the main card? Let's take a look at the four fights and grade all eight fighters.
For the first time ever in a winning effort with the UFC, Joe Lauzon did not finish a fight. That had a weird feeling.
However, Lauzon put in a balanced performance against Mac Danzig, especially on the mat. He outgrappled the Californian The Ultimate Fighter winner, constantly looking for submissions to win the fight.
It wasn't your average Lauzon scrap, but it definitely was a good win for the Massachusetts native.
Danzig may be looking for new employment following another loss at UFC on Fox 9. Though he was tough and went to the final bell with Lauzon, he didn't win any of the three rounds.
He had his moments in the fight, but he never really had Lauzon in trouble. It wasn't a dreadful performance, but it definitely wasn't a memorable one either.
Even though Chad Mendes won his fight against Nik Lentz, he did not look like himself. It may be because a body kick by Lentz hurt his gas tank somewhat early in the fight.
Mendes is known for his quick combinations, powerful wrestling and good ground-and-pound. We didn't get to see the complete package Saturday night, so some credit may be due to Lentz
If he was looking for a title shot out of this performance, he may have another thing coming.
Nobody really gave Lentz a chance. In fact, many thought he wouldn't see the scorecards.
Even though he didn't win a single round in the eyes of two judges, he made the fight close. He was definitely outstruck early, but he never went away and kept Mendes on his toes.
It was his first loss at featherweight, and it was against the second-best 145er in the world. Not a bad performance in losing.
I said it earlier, and I'll say it again: If it's not a title fight, Faber ain't losing.
In a pretty underwhelming card up to his point, Faber turned in an awesome performance. He beat McDonald in every facet of the game, including when the finish came in.
He labeled McDonald several times, manhandled him to the ground and tapped him with his signature guillotine choke. With that, he likely earned yet another title shot when the bout between Renan Barao and Dominick Cruz clears up.
McDonald was simply beat by a better man Saturday night. He is the future of 135, but for right now, he is not meant to be the top dog.
He was taken down early by Faber, but he showed good defense. In the second round, he was tagged by Faber on the feet, a place many thought he'd have the advantage. That led to his downfall.
Definitely not his best performance. He will be back, though.
Who saw that coming?
Johnson didn't need but a round to put Benavidez away. He threw a hammer and nailed Benavidez on the chin, effectively putting him to sleep.
Johnson has made the statement that he is a top fighter in all of the UFC.
I can't fail Benavidez here. He really didn't get much time to get going in the cage.
Johnson isn't really known for his power, but for his technique. The fact that Benavidez got put to sleep there really hurts his grade, as he is as close to an F as possible.