UFC on Fox 9 goes down this Saturday from the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California. The main card will be broadcast on Fox at 8pm ET, with the televised prelims on Fox Sports 1 beginning at 5pm ET and the lone online prelim beginning at 4:30 pm ET on Facebook and Youtube. In UFC fight statistics news, Reed Kuhn released his book, Fightnomics: The Hidden Numbers in Mixed Martial Arts and Why There’s No Such Thing as a Fair Fight earlier this week. It covers a wide range of topics from most likely methods of finish to what nationalities do best in what country. We are about half way through and will likely post a book review this weekend. On another note, the UFC seems to be stacking these Fox free TV cards with lighter weight classes. Essentially, they got rid of the WEC a few years ago, but continue to use that promotions biggest stars as free TV draws. We would prefer a mix of weight classes on any given card, but with the frequency of UFC cards now, if you don’t like a card, just wait a week and you’ll get something different.
The main event at this card will be for the UFC’s flyweight title and will feature current champ Demetrious Johnson taking on Joseph Benavidez in a rematch of the bout for the inauguration of the title which Johnson won. Since their first fight, which ended in a split decision, Johnson defended his title twice, taking a decision victory over John Dodson and a submission victory over John Moraga. Benavidez defeated Ian McCall (who Johnson had a draw with before winning by unanimous decision in their rematch) via unanimous decision, as well as Darren Uyenoyama and Jussier Formiga both via TKO. In the first fight, Johnson was able to use his speed to evade the majority of Benavidez’s attacks. The issue though, was that he was primarily defensive. Sure, he landed enough to take the split decision win, but for having as big a speed advantage as he seemed to, he didn’t dominate offensively. In our opinion and what makes Benavidez an intriguing bet is the fact that his striking has improved dramatically since their first contest. Our model has Benavidez as the very slight favourite, but at the current line of 2.15 to 1, there is little value in placing a bet. If the line climbs as we approach the fight, we are very likely going to place a bet which we will tweet to our followers.
In the co-main event, “The People’s Champ” Urijah Faber takes on up and comer Michael McDonald. Urijah Faber has been a long time top competitor both in the bantamweight division (where he currently fights) and previously in the featherweight division in his WEC days. At the age of 34 and with 35 career fights, it will soon be tough for Faber to keep up with the speed of the young guns in the division. McDonald is just 22 years of age and has shown continuous improvement since joining the WEC and subsequently the UFC. His lone loss in his last 6 came to interim bantamweight champ (and a guy the majority of the top guys in the division have lost to), Renan Barao. Faber’s only losses in the last 4 years or so have come when fighting for the title and outside of those fights, he has looked virtually unstoppable. We anticipate this will be razor close, but we do give a slight edge to McDonald so with the line currently above even, we see value in placing a bet. We placed a 3 unit bet on McDonald at 2.45 to 1.
Chad Mendes vs Nick Lentz in the featherweight division is not likely to last very long. Lentz already has a TKO loss to Evan Dunham, who definitely doesn’t strike as well as Mendes. Lentz’s UFC wins have mostly come against low level UFC competition and this fight against Mendes will be a huge step up for him. Mendes has been on an absolute tear since losing via KO to current division champ, Jose Aldo. He has 4 straight TKO/KO victories including stopping Clay Guida for the first time ever in his previous outing. With the line on Mendes down at 1.18 to 1, a straight bet doesn’t really make sense. We may include him in a parlay once more odds are released. Since we think Mendes will be dominant in his striking and likely be able to pound out Lentz relatively quickly, we placed a 3 unit bet on under 2.5 rounds at 2.25 to 1.
Rounding out the main card is a lightweight bout between Joe Lauzon and Mac Danzig. Both guys are currently on 2 fight losing skids, so the loser of this bout will likely be handed their pink slip signalling the end of their UFC career (but might not happen because both win a lot of post fight bonuses). We expect this fight to be just as close as the Faber vs McDonald fight, but we give the edge to Lauzon here. Interestingly, Lauzon has finished all 22 of his career victories. We will be looking for this trend to continue as we expect Lauzon to lock up a second or third round submission to take home the victory. Unfortunately, as the lines stand currently, there is not a lot of value in a straight bet on Lauzon or a bet on the under 2.5 rounds which currently sits at 1.83 to 1.
McDonald over Faber. 3 units at 2.45 to 1
Under 2.5 rounds Mendes vs Lentz. 3 units at 2.25 to 1
Benavidez over Johnson to become the new UFC flyweight champion
Lauzon over Danzig
Here are the latest odds for UFC on Fox 9: Johnson vs Benavidez: