UFC on Fox 9 delivered a solid night of action for the smaller fighters of the organization.
It was the lowest-weighted card, by average, in the company's history. Flyweights, bantamweights, featherweights and lightweights lined the card. And they put on some fantastic fights for the fans.
In the main event, Demetrious Johnson retained his UFC Flyweight Championship with a KO over Joseph Benavidez at two minutes, eight seconds of the very first round. He made quick work of the title challenger and will ring in the new year as one of the pound-for-pound best in the world.
There was more on the card than just the title fight, and we shall take a look at the post-fight stock report to see who rose and who fell on Saturday in Sacramento, Calif.
Abel Trujillo met Roger Bowling in a rematch from their contest in August. That fight was ruled a no-contest after a knee to the head of Bowling.
Bowling thought it was dirty and turned this fight into a grudge match.
Trujillo ended the grudge with a flurry of strikes just 95 seconds into the second round. He followed up with more punches until the referee pulled him off of Bowling. The electric finish showed off his finishing abilities and allowed him to put away someone he didn't like.
This is the type of performance that will put Trujillo in bigger fights moving forward.
Cody McKenzie is a unique individual.
He entered this fight with no sponsors. He didn't even have proper fight shorts. He wore just a new pair of Nike shorts. Complete with pockets and the tags still attached.
Sam Stout peppered him for three rounds, avoided all bad positions and took a clean sheet decision over McKenzie. It will likely be his final fight in the UFC.
Not only did McKenzie likely lose his job, but Herb Dean ripped the tags off his shorts. Now, he can't even return them for a refund. Rough night.
Zach Makovsky took this fight on short notice, and he showed why he was considered one of the finer flyweights in the world prior to entering the UFC.
He had a tough draw in Scott Jorgensen, but he came away with a 30-27 victory.
Makovsky got his hands going in the early rounds and defended the grappling of Jorgensen. As the fight drew on, he was taken down but often would reverse position and get on top if not back to his feet. It was an impressive showing against a very good grappler.
Makovsky can make a bit of noise in this division, and it will be interesting to see him in his next fight when he has a full training camp to prepare.
Pat Healy made an impact in his return to the UFC when he defeated Jim Miller. It's been all downhill since.
That win was overturned after a positive test for marijuana came back to the commission, and then he was defeated by Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 165.
The fight against Bobby Green was never going to be easy, but if Healy wanted to try to get back toward the top 10 of the lightweight division, he needed to win. He put up a good effort, but Green was more than his equal for three solid rounds.
It looked like Healy was ready to make a run at the top of the division, but it appears that it was just a smokescreen. Healy isn't going anywhere near the top 10 at 155 for the foreseeable future.
Danny Castillo had a fantastic first round. He hurt Edson Barboza and pounced. He tried ground-and-pound, a rear-naked choke and more ground-and-pound. It looked like a potential 10-8 round.
Barboza fired back.
He started putting his strikes together. Barboza's leg kicks are brutal, and he hurt Castillo with them over the course of the next two rounds. It paved the way for what looked like an academic draw.
However, judging reared its head and gave Barboza a majority decision. Regardless, both fighters came out winners. They won over a lot of fans and gave everyone an exciting fight to watch on the preliminary section of the card.
Barboza and Castillo also collected bonus paychecks for Fight of the Night.
Joe Lauzon opened the UFC on Fox 9 main card in solid fashion.
Lauzon's aggressive ground game was on display in the first five minutes. He went after a finish, but Mac Danzig is a solid submission fighter in his own right and survived. They each had their moments, but Lauzon simply had a lot more.
Lauzon busted Danzig's face up with elbows on the mat, then passed his guard and went for another armbar. He wasn't able to complete the submission before the horn signaled the end of the second round, but major damage had been done.
The lightweight from Massachusetts continued his onslaught in the third and final frame as he rode the fight out and got the decision nod.
After back-to-back losses this was a much-needed win for Lauzon, and it puts him back on track to make a climb in the lightweight division.
Urijah Faber and Michael McDonald battled in a UFC Bantamweight Championship eliminator, and Faber came out on top in exciting fashion.
McDonald was the young gun of the division, and there was a lot of hype surrounding him entering this fight. Would he be the first fighter to defeat Faber in a non-title bout? No.
Faber hurt McDonald with excellent stand-up, chased him and dropped him, and then finished with a guillotine. It was a beautiful sequence of high-level violence. Faber's finishing instinct is second to none in MMA.
He will now have to wait to see who the champion is after February 1, 2014. It will either be a rematch with Renan Barao, or a trilogy fight with Dominick Cruz. Regardless, Faber gets another crack at UFC gold. As he continues to improve, it is hard to doubt the man.
Faber always brings excitement. He deserves more respect. He is a future UFC Hall of Famer with or without a UFC belt.
Joseph Benavidez's stock didn't drop due to a poor performance, or because he was suddenly outed as a non-contender. He is a top-five flyweight who will challenge for the belt again someday.
It just won't be soon, and that's why his stock drops.
When a fighter gets destroyed by the champion it is hard to get another title shot. All he has to do is ask his teammate Chad Mendes. He has five straight wins and still has no guaranteed title shot. Benavidez probably won't have to win that many as the 125-pound division is still shallow, but he won't get another title shot with one win.
Benavidez's stock drops due to how he lost. He was starched.
It is hard for a champion's stock to rise, but when you absolutely torque the No. 1 contender like Demetrious Johnson did on Saturday, the stock will begin to climb upward.
Johnson pasted a tough Benavidez in the first round to retain his UFC Flyweight Championship.
It was his first knockout victory since 2010, and he silenced his doubters who may have claimed there wasn't a lot of KO power in the flyweight division. Annihilating his toughest competitor on network television should put Mighty Mouse on a pay-per-view card soon.
The champion will collect bigger and bigger checks, and get more and more fans. The champ is here, and he looks to be here for a long time. Brilliant finish at UFC on Fox 9.