Who said the flyweights can’t deliver sleeping pills?
A week after heavyweights Mark Hunt and Antonio Silva battled to a draw in a fight that seemed destined for a knockout, 125-pound champion Demetrious Johnson knocked out challenger Joseph Benavidez in main event that was thought to be headed for five full rounds. "Mighty Mouse" crashed home a right hand just past the two-minute mark of the first round that not only finished Benavidez for the first time in his career, but lined Johnson’s pockets with money.
Johnson took home the $50,000 bonus for Fight of the Night at UFC on FOX 9, his third consecutive headlining appearance on broadcast television. Previously Johnson finished John Moraga to earn Submission of the Night back in July in his second title defense. The last time the AMC-trained fighter knocked an opponent out was all the way back in his pre-Zuffa days against Jesse Brock in 2010.
"Me and my coaches back at home were trying to work on settling my weight down and landing big power shots, so just showing a little bit of everything I've been doing at AMC," Johnson said in his post-fight interview. "Just more things to come."
Meanwhile, with Joe Lauzon on the card it felt like an upset that Team Alpha Male’s Danny Castillo and Edson Barboza scored Fight of the Night honors. Castillo (16-6) thundered out of his corner strong, putting the heavily favored Barboza (13-1) on the brink for virtually the entire first round after landing a heavy right hand. Several times it looked like the fight was about to be stopped as Castillo rained punches, elbows and hammerfists down on Barboza, but the Brazilian held on to survive the round.
Then it was Barboza’s turn. From that point on Barboza punished Castillo with leg kicks and blistering combinations. He clearly turned the tables on Castillo and won the next two rounds to take home the unanimous decision. The fight was not without a modicum of controversy, as two of the California judges scored the first round a standard 10-9 in favor of Castillo when it appeared to be a textbook 10-8.
The Submission of the Night honors went to Sacramento’s own Urijah Faber, who caught 22-year old upstart Michael McDonald in his patented guillotine choke in the second round. For Faber (30-6) it was his tenth finish via a choke spanning his career in both the WEC and UFC.
Faber, too, took home an extra $50,000.