A flyweight title bout as a replacement main event isn't too bad. That's what UFC fans will get on Saturday when champion Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson takes on Joseph Benavidez in a rematch of their UFC 152 clash. At that event, Johnson became the first-ever UFC flyweight champion.
It is unfortunate that Anthony "Showtime" Pettis won't be able to defend his lightweight title, though. He'll be out for six to eight months due to a torn posterior cruciate ligament in his knee, per Jeff Cain of MMA Weekly.
Pettis was originally supposed to take on Josh Thomson in Saturday's main event. However, with Pettis out of action, Thomson will now face Benson Henderson at UFC on Fox 10 in January. Even with the Pettis-Thomson bout scratched, the UFC on Fox 9 card is looking sharp.
Here's a breakdown of the card, the viewing info and my predictions for each fight. Just below the table is analysis and a key stat for each matchup I predict will earn a Fight Night bonus.
|Online Preliminaries Begin at 4:30 pm ET|
|Matchup||Prediction||Fight Night Bonus|
|Darren Uyenoyama vs. Alptekin Ozkilic||Ozkilic|
|Fox Sports 1 Preliminaries at 5 pm ET|
|Abel Trujillo vs. Roger Bowling||Bowling|
|Sam Stout vs. Cody McKenzie||McKenzie|
|Scott Jorgensen vs. Zach Makovsky||Jorgensen|
|Bobby Green vs. Pat Healy||Green|
|Danny Castillo vs. Edson Barboza||Barboza||KO of the Night|
|Court McGee vs. Ryan LaFlare||LaFlare|
|Main Card on Fox at 8 pm ET|
|Joe Lauzon vs. Mac Danzig||Lauzon||Fight of the Night|
|Chad Mendes vs. Nik Lentz||Mendes|
|Urijah Faber vs. Michael McDonald||Faber||Submission of the Night|
|Demetrious Johnson vs. Joseph Benavidez||Johnson|
Brian Mazique's Predictions, Card info from UFC.com
Submission of the Night: Urijah "California Kid" Faber over Michael "Mayday" McDonald
When fans talk about the premier submission artists in the sport, not enough of them mention Urijah Faber. The California Kid has 16 professional wins by submission. The rear-naked choke and guillotine choke are his favorites, and one of them will likely bring an end to Michael McDonald's night.
Mayday is one of the sport's best young stars at 22 years old, but Faber is one of the best in the world, period. He's had almost twice as many professional fights as McDonald (35 to 18). Against Renan Barao, McDonald seemed to tire late. Barao took advantage and submitted him in the fourth round of their bout in Feb. 2013.
Expect Faber to take a similar approach Saturday night. His experience will lead him to a second- or third-round submission win over McDonald.
KO of the Night: Edson Barboza over Danny "Last Call" Castillo
"Explosive" is the best word to describe Barboza. He has quickly made himself one of the most exciting strikers in the UFC. His 4.25 significant strikes landed per minute are even more devastating when you factor in the speed and power he generates.
To this day, I'm not sure I've seen a more devastating KO than the one he scored over Terry Etim at UFC 142 in Jan. 2012. If it were a cartoon, Etim would have flown through the Octagon fence after that spinning wheel kick.
Against Danny Castillo, Barboza will enjoy a four-inch reach advantage and a two-inch edge in height. In addition to being longer, he's also faster. All that spells bad news for Last Call.
Fight of the Night: Joe Lauzon over Mac Danzig
Neither guy is a serious contender, but both have made a habit of winning Fight of the Night honors. Combined, Joe Lauzon and Mac Danzig have participated in eight bouts that have been honored as the best scraps on their respective cards.
Both are submission specialists who have shown the willingness to trade when the action dictates. Both men lost their last two bouts and are fading from prominence, so there will be a sense of urgency in the air.
It should make for a spectacular fight, which Lauzon will win with a late submission. He's four years younger, and Danzig has one KO/TKO win in the last seven years.
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