In perhaps his final crack at a meaningful mixed martial arts (MMA) title, Team Alpha Male-trained Joseph Benavidez will take another shot at Flyweight gold when he rematches reigning 125-pound champion Demetrious Johnson in the main event of UFC on Fox 9, which takes place at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif., on Dec. 14, 2013.
In addition, perennial top Bantamweight contender Urijah Faber will look to give Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) brass no choice but to grant him another title shot if he can take out surging young gun Michael McDonald.
It's a quality free fight card. Let's see if we can't make it a net gain as we explore the latest odds and best bets for UFC on Fox 9: "Johnson vs. Benavidez 2:"
UFC On FOX 9 Odds For The Under Card:
Court McGee (-120) vs. Ryan LaFlare (-120)
Edson Barboza (-320) vs. Danny Castillo (+240)
Pat Healy (-130) vs. Bobby Green (-110)
Scott Jorgensen (-230) vs. Zach Makovsky (+170)
Abel Trujillo (-130) vs. Roger Bowling (-110)
Sam Stout (-265) vs. Cody McKenzie (+185)
Alp Ozkilic (-265) vs. Darren Uyenoyama (+185)
Thoughts: Nothing intriguing on the under dog front, so let's see if we can't find a couple guys who aren't favored enough, who appear to be LaFlare and Healy.
McGee is a tremendous worker with impressive cardio and solid wrestling. What he lacks is the kind of thump necessary to impose debilitating pressure. Indeed, if he packed just a little more power and showed a bigger dedication to working the body, I might favor him to take advantage of LaFlare's quick turnaround and wear him down.
Unfortunately, I don't see him stopping LaFlare's takedowns or dealing any sort of real damage on the feet to offset the time he spends on his back. McGee may be the bigger name, but LaFlare's the one who will most likely fatten your wallet.
Yes, Green choked out Jacob Volkmann. It was pretty impressive. He also spent the first two rounds getting utterly dominated on the ground by "Christmas," who was one competent referee and a bit more gas away from taking home a decision. Healy is every bit the grinder Volkmann is, only bigger, stronger and with an endless gas tank. Unless Green can capitalize on Healy's slow starts, I see no reason "Bam Bam" can't grind him into the dirt.
UFC On FOX 9 Odds For The Main Card:
Thoughts: I won't deny that Team Alpha Male has been on one hell of a run lately, which makes it kind of silly that I'm picking them to go 1-2 on the main card. Mendes is going to beat the ever-loving hell out of Lentz, but I'm liking "Mighty Mouse" and "Mayday."
Benavidez has some real power in his hands at 125 pounds, but for all the hype about "Bang" Duane Ludwig honing their collective striking, I'm not overly impressed with his technique lately. He seems content to wing overhands without setting them up -- there's no reason Darren Uyenoyama should have lasted almost 10 minutes against him before getting starched.
Johnson, on the other hand, has looked terrific, adapting to and outlasting John Dodson on the feet. I don't think the rematch goes any better for "Joe B." -- Johnson keeps the title until John Lineker gets a crack; therefore, take advantage of it.
McDonald is a monster. His hands are tremendously fast and powerful and his defensive wrestling has come along nicely. It's the ease with which he shut down the offensive Brad Pickett that has me picking him, though. "One Punch" has a bad habit of telegraphing when he steps in to throw and McDonald countered brilliantly, meeting him with a big knee or uppercut whenever he was about to unload.
For as much success as Faber has had on the feet, he's a one-handed fighter. He always leads with his right hand, which is a habit most of his teammates also share. Against someone with McDonald's speed, a fighter cannot be that predictable.
Therefore, a medium-sized bet on McDonald for the upset sounds good to me.
UFC On FOX 9 Best Bets:
- Single bet -- Ryan LaFlare: $50 to make $41.66
- Single bet -- Demetrious Johnson: $60 to make $46.15
- Parlay -- Pat Healy and Demetrious Johnson: $30 to make $63.90
- Single bet -- Michael McDonald: $40 to make $54
Title fight and contenders galore ... everything combat sports fans could want in a Saturday night of MMA fights.
See you there, Maniacs.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver live UFC on FOX 9: "Johnson vs. Benavidez 2" results on Saturday night RIGHT HERE, which is as good a place as any to talk about all the action inside the Octagon, as well as what you've got riding on the sportsbook.