A featherweight meeting between Chad Mendes and Nik Lentz has been booked for the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s return to Sacramento, Calif.
UFC on Fox 9 takes place at Sleep Train Arena and is headlined by a lightweight title showdown pitting new UFC champ Anthony Pettis against former Strikeforce ruler Josh Thomson. The Dec. 14 event will also see Mendes’ teammate, Urijah Faber, collide with hard-hitting prospect Michael McDonald in a pivotal bantamweight duel.
Lentz was expected to face Dennis Bermudez at UFC Fight Night 31 “Fight for the Troops 3,” but that booking has now been altered. Bermudez will instead meet Steven Siler, who rides back-to-back wins into the Nov. 6 confrontation. Meanwhile, Bermudez has won his last four fights, scoring split-decision victories over Matt Grice and Max Holloway to begin 2013.
A prominent member of Faber’s Sacramento-based Team Alpha Male, Mendes has experienced defeat just once in his 16-fight career, as “Money” was knocked out by longtime featherweight king Jose Aldo last year. Since that setback, Mendes has posted four consecutive wins, stopping Cody McKenzie, Yaotzin Meza and Darren Elkins before doing the same to Clay Guida last month at UFC 164.
Lentz has earned three consecutive wins, kicking of 2013 with decision victories over Diego Nunes and Hacran Dias. “The Carny” has not lost since dropping to featherweight and began his run at 145 pounds with a first-round technical knockout of Eiji Mitsuoka a little more than one year ago at UFC 150.