Joe Lauzon def. Mac Danzig via Unanimous Decision
Even though Lauzon was absent a post-fight award, his performance against Mac Danzig further installed the knowledge that Lauzon has the potential to be one of the top lightweights in the world. Danzig tried to impose his striking and batter Lauzon early (the same approach Michael Johnson and Jim Miller tried), but Danzig simply didn’t have the power. Lauzon ate everything Danzig threw at him and had no problems taking this fight to the ground where he put on a complete jiu-jitsu clinic. I predicted Lauzon to win by a 2nd round submission, but Danzig came prepared to defend; however, defend is all he seemed to be able to do.
Chad Mendes def. Nik Lentz via Unanimous Decision
Mendes is no doubt a top-five featherweight, but whether or not he’s the one deserving of the next title shot is still a question, and his performance against Nik Lentz didn’t make a very strong claim. Mendes knew he had a distinct striking advantage against Lentz, which is why he tried to take his head off from the beginning. Since the fight, we’ve learned of Mendes’s sinus-infection prior to the bout which no doubt had an effect on his late-fight conditioning. Mendes tried to get Lentz out of there in round one, but Lentz hanged tough and we saw Mendes start to fade drastically. Mendes still did enough to earn the decision as he dominated Lentz with takedowns, but Lentz looked to be the sharper of the two in the third round for sure. I did predict a decision win for Mendes; I knew Mendes probably wasn’t going to score ANOTHER knockout win, especially against a tough guy like Lentz, but I didn’t expect this competitive of a fight.
Urijah Faber def Michael McDonald via 2nd Rd Submission
Wow! If there was one fight on this whole card that surprised me the most, it was this one. Coming into this bout, many people predicted McDonald give Faber lots of troubles on the feet, but that was not the case. Faber remained the faster of the two, and his quick movements seemed to fluster McDonald, not really giving him a chance to land anything big. With that said, Faber also gave us a all a huge reminder that he still has punching power. He was able to counter McDonald coming in, stun him, and then proceed to chase him around the Octagon, slamming huge shots until he dropped – this gave Faber an easy shot at scoring a guillotine finish. I’ll admit to reading this fight completely wrong as I fully expected McDonald to out-box Faber dominantly and avoid enough of the grappling to win a decision, but Faber lies as a different kind of animal who is still improving. With this win, Faber makes a big claim to a potential rematch against either Barao or Cruz.
Demetrious Johnson def Joseph Benavidez via 1st Rd KO
In case the Faber/McDonald bout didn’t shock you, this one definitely had to. If this fight was going to end in a knockout, I guarantee the majority of people would have expected Benavidez to be the one to issue the fight-ending blows, but in reality it was Johnson. Speed and technique triumphs raw power; that’s what was showed in this fight. Benavidez started off looking good; definitely showing he was the stronger of the two and catching Johnson on his angles, but once Johnson felt comfortable enough to move forward with his own strikes, he out-timed Benavidez with a big right hand that put him out. I predicted a competitive, 5-round fight, but Johnson’s improvements that he’s been making now makes me hesitant to pick him in a decision in his future fights.
My main card predictions were fairly accurate as I went 3-1. Click to view the prelim review.