A show in Sacramento dictates the need for at least one other Team Alpha Male representative outside of Urijah Faber. In that vein, Mendes is essentially a lock for the card after putting Clay Guida away with relative ease late last month. Like Swanson, he’s on the cusp of contending for a title, so it makes perfect sense to have them square off. Adding intrigue, the two also fought once before with Mendes getting a decision nod, so each has something extra to strive for – Mendes can gun for a finish and Swanson can show how he’s improved since the initial encounter. It looks like Fabricio Werdum will get the next heavyweight title-shot so contenders like Browne and Barnett need something to do. Both are coming off impressive finishes and the winner would be likely to produce the same if paired at the upcoming event. Together they combine for 41 stoppages in 48 total victories. It’s fairly clear Johnson and Benavidez are the #1 and #2 flyweights in MMA. They’ve each had a good deal of success at 135 pounds, beating ranked opponents along the way, and they’ve also looked exceptional since dipping down ten more pounds. Their fight for the first flyweight title in UFC history was highly competitive and only saw “Mighty Mouse” exit with the belt due to a Split Decision win. Throw in Benavidez’s status as a Team Alpha Male member and recent run of finishes, as well as Johnson’s impressive outing against John Moraga, and you’ve got a bout perfectly suited for the show if Pettis-Grant doesn’t materialize in time. Bader may be coming off a loss, but he’s one of the toughest draws in the division and he’s typically susceptible to strikes more so than grappling. Putting him up against Davis would pit two of the division’s top wrestlers against one another, and Bader’s power could pose trouble for “Mr. Wonderful”. Likewise, Davis’ submissions are a bit slicker than those in his adversary’s arsenal, and he could take another step closer to top contendership by beating a veteran with Bader’s name value. If Diaz truly wants to return to the ring there’s no better time or opportunity that’s realistic than a bout with Brown at UFC on FOX 9. Brown is on an impressive winning streak but needs to beat a major name to truly cement his claim to contendership, while Diaz – a native Californian – no doubt wants to get back in the championship mix as quickly as possible. Better yet, Brown is the type of fighter who presses forward instead of tries to score points so Diaz would get the kind of brawl he loves (and fans would be left loving every second of it).
This week the
UFC confirmed the company’s return to FOX for a December 14 show in Sacramento with two tilts attached to the card. As might be expected, local favorite Urijah Faber will see action at , facing UFC on FOX 9 Michael McDonald in a co-headlining clash, while a lightweight title-fight between Anthony Pettis and T.J. Grant has been tentatively penciled in to the main event slot. With a few months’ worth of wiggle room, there are plenty of options worth considering for the evening’s effort including bouts both divisionally relevant and full of potential to entertain. (Photos by USA Today Sports Images)