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UFC on Fox 9 breakdown, betting odds and picks

Oddsmakers chime in on Team Alpha Male’s chances for a Sacramento sweep

Image

Urijah Faber, third from left, and members of Team Alpha Male pose at Heraea in the Palms in this file photo.

Fans are labeling UFC on Fox 9 the Team Alpha Male card.

The Urijah Faber-led fight team has a member in each of the three headlining bouts — Joseph Benavidez, Chad Mendes and Faber himself — at Saturday night’s event held down the street from their home gym in Sacramento, Calif. Danny Castillo makes it four Team Alpha Male representatives in the top six billed fights.

Sports books aren’t certain it will turn into the celebration they’re all expecting, though. Two of the four Team Alpha Male fighters, Benavidez and Castillo, are underdogs. Faber is favored by the slimmest of margins.

The odds against all of them proving victorious are considerable as a four-team parlay with Benavidez, Mendes, Faber and Castillo pays approximately 11-to-1.

That translates to an 8 percent chance of all the hometown fighters winning.

Check below to find the odds on all of their fights as well as the rest of the UFC on Fox 9 card, along with picks from ESPN Radio’s Steve Cofield (130-61), Las Vegas Sun’s Case Keefer (123-68), Las Vegas Sun’s Ray Brewer (123-68), ESPN.com’s Brett Okamoto (122-69) and KSNV’s Kevin West (116-75).

Joseph Benavidez

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’4”
  • Weight: 125
  • UFC record 6-1
  • MMA record 19-3
  • Out of: Sacramento, Calif.
  • Betting line: +105

Demetrious Johnson

  • Age: 27
  • Height: 5’3”
  • Weight: 125
  • UFC record 6-1-1
  • MMA record 18-2-1
  • Out of: Kirkland, Wash.
  • Betting line: -135

Flyweight Championship Bout

Main Event

Last fight: First-round TKO victory over Jussier Formiga at UFC Fight Night 28.

Punch list: “Joe Jitsu” has declared himself the best 125-pound fighter in the world. He admits Johnson got the best of him at UFC 152 and doesn’t dispute the split decision, but says that bout isn’t representative of their true talent level.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Johnson

Cofield: Benavidez

Last fight: Submitted John Moraga in the fifth round at UFC on Fox 8.

Punch list: “Mighty Mouse” has demonstrated that he’s the best 125-pound fighter in the world. He’s beaten the top four in his division, which includes the latest victory by stoppage in UFC history against Moraga in July.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Benavidez

Brewer: Benavidez

Okamoto: Benavidez

Michael McDonald

  • Age: 22
  • Height: 5’8”
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 5-1
  • MMA record 16-2
  • Out of: Modesto, Calif.
  • Betting line: +130

Urijah Faber

  • Age: 34
  • Height: 5’6”
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 5-2
  • MMA record 29-6
  • Out of: Sacramento, Calif.
  • Betting line: -150

Bantamweight Bout

Co-Main Event

Last fight: Second-round submission victory over Brad Pickett at UFC Fight Night 26.

Punch list: McDonald always maintained that despite his friendly relationship with Faber, he’d be willing to fight him. Now he lives up to that promise. The youthful McDonald should have a power advantage, but Faber has honed his technique over years in the sport.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Faber

Cofield: Faber

Last fight: Unanimous-decision win over Yuri Alcantara at UFC Fight Night 26.

Punch list: As two Northern California-based professional fighters, Faber and McDonald have known each other for years. They briefly trained together when McDonald was a hotshot prospect that hadn’t yet turned 21-years-old and Faber welcomed him into his gym.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Faber

Brewer: Faber

Okamoto: McDonald

Nik Lentz

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’8”
  • Weight: 145
  • UFC record 8-2-1
  • MMA record 24-5-2
  • Out of: Eden Prarie, Minn.
  • Betting line: +400

Chad Mendes

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5’6”
  • Weight: 145
  • UFC record 6-1
  • MMA record 15-1
  • Out of: Sacramento, Calif.
  • Betting line: -600

Featherweight Bout

Featured Contest

Last fight: Unanimous-decision victory over Hacran Dias at UFC on FX 8.

Punch list: The former University of Minnesota wrestler’s UFC record is impressive enough, but consider it since he dropped to featherweight — 3-0. “The Carny” is stronger and more dangerous since retreating from lightweight.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Mendes

Cofield: Mendes

Last fight: Third-round TKO victory over Clay Guida at UFC 164.

Punch list: Mendes, a college wrestler at Cal Poly, strikes down former lightweights for hobby. He’s done it in each of his last two bouts, knocking out Guida and Darren Elkins. The one-time top contender looks for his fifth straight win against Lentz.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Mendes

Brewer: Mendes

Okamoto: Mendes

Mac Danzig

  • Age: 33
  • Height: 5’8”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 5-7
  • MMA record 21-11-1
  • Out of: Los Angeles
  • Betting line: +155

Joe Lauzon

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 9-6
  • MMA record 22-6
  • Out of: East Bridgewater, Mass.
  • Betting line: -170

Lightweight Bout

Main Card Opener

Last fight: Second-round knockout loss to Melvin Guillard at UFC on Fox 8.

Punch list: Yes, “The Ultimate Fighter” 6 champion is still kicking around in the UFC. The promotion didn’t see losses in three of his last four, or four of his last six, as grounds for dismissal. He may not be so fortunate with one more defeat.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Lauzon

Cofield: Lauzon

Last fight: Unanimous-decision loss to Michael Johnson at UFC Fight Night 26.

Punch list: For the first time in his UFC career, the all-time leader in fight-night bonuses is riding a losing streak. There’s a debate over whether Lauzon’s losses to Johnson and Jim Miller were just tough matchups or a sign he’s slowing down. The pairing with Danzig should hint at the answers.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Danzig

Brewer: Lauzon

Okamoto: Lauzon

Ryan LaFlare

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 2-0
  • MMA record 9-0
  • Out of: Farmingdale, N.Y.
  • Betting line: -115

Court McGee

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 5-2
  • MMA record 18-3
  • Out of: San Diego
  • Betting line: -115

Welterweight Bout

Fox Sports 1 Prelim

Last fight: Beat Santiago Ponzinibbio at UFC Fight Night.

Punch list: A teammate with the likes of middleweight champion Chris Weidman for Serra-Longo, LaFlare is looking to rise the ranks in a hurry. That explains accepting a short-notice bout here three days after his last fight in November.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: McGee

Cofield: LaFlare

Last fight: Split-decision win over Robert Whittaker at UFC Fight Night 27.

Punch list: Aside from a two-fight losing streak a year ago, “The Ultimate Fighter” 11 champion has put together an outstanding UFC career. He’s lost no more than three rounds in his other five fights inside the octagon.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: McGee

Brewer: LaFlare

Okamoto: LaFlare

Edson Barboza

  • Age: 27
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 6-1
  • MMA record 12-1
  • Out of: Rio de Janeiro
  • Betting line: -250

Danny Castillo

  • Age: 34
  • Height: 5’9”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 6-2
  • MMA record 16-5
  • Out of: Sacramento, Calif.
  • Betting line: +200

Lightweight Bout

Fox Sports 1 prelim

Last fight: Second-round TKO win over Rafaello Oliveira at UFC 162.

Punch list: Many fighters caution fans with a cliché “don’t blink” before their bouts. Barboza could actually mean it. His inventive striking, particularly his kicks, give the possibility of his fights ending at any moment.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Barboza

Cofield: Barboza

Last fight: Beat Tim Means by unanimous decision at UFC on Fox 8.

Punch list: In this striker vs. grappler matchup, Castillo satisfies the latter. The first of the Team Alpha Male fighters on the card, Castillo will look to control Barboza with his wrestling as he does in most of his bouts to success.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Barboza

Brewer: Barboza

Okamoto: Barboza

Pat Healy

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 6’0”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 0-1
  • MMA record 31-16
  • Out of: Portland, Ore.
  • Betting line: -170

Bobby Green

  • Age: 27
  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 2-0
  • MMA record 21-5
  • Out of: Fontana, Calif.
  • Betting line: +140

Lightweight Bout

Fox Sports 1 prelim

Last fight: Unanimous-decision loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 165.

Punch list: “Bam Bam’s” early UFC career hasn’t gone smoothly. The veteran, who rose as Strikeforce disintegrated, saw a big win over Jim Miller overturned to a no contest because of a positive drug test for marijuana before the lopsided loss to Nurmagomedov.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Healy

Cofield: Healy

Last fight: First-round TKO win over James Krause at UFC Fight For The Troops 3.

Punch list: Things couldn’t have gone much better for the Strikeforce journeyman since coming over to the UFC. He’s finished both of his opponents, including Krause so easily that he was able to accept this fight five weeks later.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Healy

Brewer: Healy

Okamoto: Healy

Zack Makovsky

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 5’4”
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 16-4
  • Out of: Philadelphia
  • Betting line: +200

Scott Jorgensen

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 5’4”
  • Weight: 136
  • UFC record 3-3
  • MMA record 14-7
  • Out of: Boise, Idaho
  • Betting line: -250

Flyweight Bout

Fox Sports 1 Prelim

Last fight: Beat Matt Manzanares at RFA 11.

Punch list: “Fun Size” got the call with a UFC offer just last week after Dodson pulled out of the fight. It’s not just another signing, as Makovsky is the former Bellator bantamweight champion and known for brawling.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Jorgensen

Cofield: Makovsky

Last fight: Fourth-round submission loss to Urijah Faber at “The Ultimate Fighter” 17 finale.

Punch list: Odds-wise, Jorgensen caught a break when original opponent John Dodson went down with an injury. The former Boise State wrestler projected as a significant underdog against Dodson, but instead gets to be favored by a decent clip against Makovsky.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Jorgensen

Brewer:Jorgensen

Okamoto: Makovsky

Cody McKenzie

  • Age: 25
  • Height: 6’0”
  • Weight: 146
  • UFC record 3-3
  • MMA record 14-3
  • Out of: Spokane, Wash.
  • Betting line: +200

Sam Stout

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’9”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 8-8
  • MMA record 19-9-1
  • Out of: London, Ontario
  • Betting line: -250

Lightweight Bout

Fox Sports 1 Prelim

Last fight: Unanimous-decision win over Leonard Garcia at UFC 159.

Punch list: A year could pass without a single “McKenzintine choke” for the first time since 2007 if the namesake doesn’t pull off his signature move here. At one point, McKenzie had won 10 straight fights with his modified guillotine choke.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Stout

Cofield: Stout

Last fight: Third-round loss to James Krause via submission at UFC 161.

Punch list: As his nickname “Hands of Stones” hints, Stout prides himself on his background as a fierce-striking kickboxer. It eats at him that he’s only pulled off one knockout in his UFC career, so that’s what he’ll be looking for in Sacramento.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Stout

Brewer: Stout

Okamoto: Stout

Roger Bowling

  • Age: 33
  • Height: 5’9”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 0-1
  • MMA record 11-4
  • Out of: Cincinnati
  • Betting line: +120

Abel Trujillo

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 5’8”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 1-1
  • MMA record 10-5
  • Out of: Des Moines, Iowa
  • Betting line: -150

Welterweight Bout

Fox Sports 1 Prelim

Last fight: No contest with Abel Trujillo at UFC Fight Night 27.

Punch list: Bowling has a history of irresolute fight conclusions, perhaps because of his unrestrained style. A fight between Bowling and rival Bobby Voelker infamously went to technical decision in 2010 after he suffered an inadvertent eyepoke.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Trujillo

Cofield: Trujillo

Last fight: No contest with Roger Bowling at UFC Fight Night 27.

Punch list: The UFC seeks resolution with this fight. A fight between these two in August ended prematurely when the referee ruled a Trujillo knee as illegal. Trujillo was rightfully irate as replay confirmed there was nothing wrong with his strike.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Trujillo

Brewer: Trujillo

Okamoto: Trujillo

Alptekin Ozkilic

  • Age: 27
  • Height: 5’7”
  • Weight: 125
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 8-1
  • Out of: St. Charles, Mo.
  • Betting line: -250

Darren Uyenoyama

  • Age: 34
  • Height: 5’6”
  • Weight: 125
  • UFC record 2-1
  • MMA record 8-4
  • Out of: San Francisco
  • Betting line: +200

Flyweight Bout

Facebook Prelim

Last fight: First-round TKO victory over Antonio Banuelos at Legacy Fighting Championships 20.

Punch list: Knocking out a UFC veteran in 30 seconds served as the final straw for convincing the UFC brass that this prospect deserved a shot in the octagon. Ozkilic rides a streak of two straight TKO wins into his UFC debut.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Ozkilic

Cofield: Ozkilic

Last fight: Knocked out by Joseph Benavidez in the second round at UFC on Fox 7.

Punch list: The grappling guru will look to take this fight to the ground. Before losing to Benavidez, Uyenoyama had submitted Phil Harris and severely out grappled Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto to start 2-0 in the UFC.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Uyenoyama

Brewer: Ozkillic

Okamoto: Uyenoyama

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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