Demetrious Johnson struck quickly at UFC on Fox 9. | Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images
Demetrious Johnson sent a shockwave through California’s capital city.
Johnson knocked out Team Alpha Male’s Joseph Benavidez with a clean right hook and follow-up punches, as he retained the Ultimate Fighting Championship flyweight crown in the UFC on Fox 9 headliner on Saturday at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif. Benavidez (19-4, 6-2 UFC), who had never before been finished, succumbed to the blows 2:08 into the first round.
After a relatively uneventful first half of round one, Johnson (19-2-1, 7-1-1 UFC) backed Benavidez towards the cage, clocked him with a right hook and rendered him unconscious with four jackhammer rights on the ground. The 27-year-old champion had not stopped a fight with strikes in nearly four years.
“A lot of people were saying I don’t have knockout power, but I’m always getting better working at AMC [Pankration] with Matt Hume,” Johnson said. “My coaches [and I] were trying to work on settling my weight down and landing a big power shot. We’re just showing a little bit of what we can do at AMC, and there are more things to come.”
Faber Guillotine Submits McDonald
In the co-main event, former World Extreme Cagefighting champion Urijah Faber submitted Michael McDonald with a second-round guillotine choke. Faber (30-6, 6-2 UFC) brought a decisive close to the hotly anticipated bantamweight scrap 3:22 into round two.
The right hand was Faber’s weapon of choice. He staggered McDonald (16-3, 5-2 UFC) in the first round and found the mark again in the second. There, Faber followed a wicked overhand right with a series of power punches, driving a woozy McDonald into the cage and down to the mat.
“The California Kid” then pounced on the 22-year-old’s exposed neck, cinched the guillotine choke and forced the tapout.
In 36 career appearances, Faber still has never lost a non-title fight.
Top Contender Mendes Denies Lentz
Team Alpha Male’s Chad Mendes kept alive his hopes of a return bout with UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo, as he coasted to a unanimous decision over American Top Team’s Nik Lentz in a 145-pound showcase. Mendes (16-1, 7-1 UFC) swept the scorecards by 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 counts, winning for the fifth time in as many appearances.
The man they call “Money” nearly finished it inside the first round, where he uncorked a savage volley of power punches. Lentz, however, absorbed the blows and kept himself in the match.
From there, Mendes’ offensive output waned noticeably. Instead, the two-time NCAA All-American wrestler turned to his takedowns to bottle up the American Top Team representative.
Down two rounds to none, Lentz piled up the punches and kicks over the final five minutes but lacked the firepower he needed to give Mendes real pause. The defeat halted Lentz’s three-fight winning streak.
Lauzon Ground Game Bests Danzig
Takedowns, ground-and-pound and exquisite topside grappling carried Joe Lauzon to a unanimous decision over “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 6 winner Mac Danzig in a featured lightweight affair. Lauzon (23-9, 10-6 UFC) swept the scorecards by identical 30-27 marks, as he handed the 33-year-old Californian his fourth loss in five appearances.
Danzig (21-12-1, 5-8 UFC) had his moments on the feet, where he peppered Lauzon with accurate punches and scored with some effective close-quarters boxing. However, he failed to remain upright long enough to turn the fight in his favor.
Lauzon grounded, mounted and pounded his counterpart in all three rounds. He opened a cut and left Danzig with gnarly damage to his nose with an elbow strike in the second round. In the third, Lauzon trapped him in the mounted crucifix position and battered him with a series of unanswered elbows.
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