Johnson beats Benavidez by first-round KO

Published on Saturday, 12/14/13, at 11:02 p.m. Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson needed only two minutes to retain his flyweight belt with a first-round knockout of Joseph Benavidez in the main event at UFC on Fox 9. His early KO was the highlight of the night on an exciting 11-fight card in Sacramento that saw the favorites cash at an 8-3 clip.

Johnson improved to 7-1-1 in the UFC and defended his belt for the third time. He hooked up his backers as a -140 ‘chalk.’ Gamblers backing ‘under’ 4.5 rounds were paid handsomely with a +200 return (paid $200 on $100 wagers).

In the co-main event, Urijah Faber might have produced his best career performance in the Octagon. ‘The California Kid’ won the first round by beating Michael McDonald to the punch on nearly every exchange.

In the second round, Faber rocked McDonald with a huge right that sent him backtracking toward the cage. Faber flipped him around and landed several more bombs to floor the young phenom. Then he pounced on McDonald and finished him with a sick guillotine choke.

Faber won as a -145 favorite, while ‘under’ 2.5 rounds was a winner for a nice +130ish payout. Faber will almost certainly get another title shot against the winner of Renan Barao and Dominick Cruz.

Another guy poised for a title shot his next time out is Chad Mendes, who won his fifth consecutive fight by unanimous decision over Nik Lentz. Mendes came out strong and appeared ready to win the fight in the first minute after landing a barrage of punches that had Lentz badly hurt.

But Lentz was able to weather the storm and Mendes clearly didn’t have the gas tank we’re accustomed to seeing from him. As it turned out, Joe Rogan’s analysis was spot on as Mendes revealed afterward that he had been suffering from a sinus infection for weeks.

Nevertheless, he still executed a slew of takedowns in the final two rounds and landed a big flying knee in the final minute. But my pick of ‘under’ 2.5 rounds was a loser.

Joe Lauzon avoided a third straight defeat by beating Mac Danzig by unanimous decision as a -180 favorite. Lauzon was in control from start to finish, but Danzig did a great job to stave off several serious submission attempts.

What’s next for Lauzon? I wouldn’t mind seeing a rematch against Sam Stout, who also won Saturday night by UD over Cody McKenzie. Stout beat Lauzon in the Fight of the Night at UFC 108.

Edson Barboza captured a majority decision win over Danny ‘Last Call’ Castillo, hooking up his supporters as a -300 favorite. Bettors on Castillo had to be chafed when he had Barboza in all sorts of trouble in the first round.

Ryan LaFlare improved to 3-0 by defeating Court McGee in a welterweight showdown. LaFlare, who took the fight on short notice, cashed as a -125 ‘chalk.’

Faber and Johnson won Submission and KO of the Night honors, respectively.

In other UFC news, Dana White told the media that Nick Diaz turned down a second fight with Carlos Condit, who was originally scheduled to face Matt Brown on Saturday’s card. Brown had to withdraw with two herniated discs in his back.

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