A new top featherweight contender was supposed to emerge at tonight's (Sat., Dec. 14, 2013) UFC on Fox 9: "Johnson vs. Benavidez 2" event at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California, as Chad Mendes looked to earn a rematch against Jose Aldo by taking out Nik Lentz.
Sure enough, those heavy hands and speedy delivery took him exactly where he wanted to go.
Mendes brought the firepower early, blitzing Lentz with a series of punches that had him staggered and falling all around the cage. A couple takedown attempts came up lame but they were defensive more than anything. He found some semblance of offense later in the round, but the first was all "Money".
The second played out largely the same, though Mendes looked like he was easing off the accelerator. UFC President Dana White even pondered on Twitter if he had gassed himself out in that opening blitzkrieg.
Into the third, there was little doubting that Lentz was the fresher and far more aggressive of the two. Still, Mendes was strong enough to hang tight until the end. Not only that, he blasted "The Carny" with a big knee that put the exclamation point on his victory.
Mendes was awarded the unanimous decision win on scores of 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28.
But was it enough to earn him another crack at the division crown? We shall see.
For complete UFC on Fox 9 results and blow-by-blow coverage of all the night's action click here.