The co-main event of UFC on Fox 9 was centered around two of the best bantamweights in the world. Urijah Faber once again fought in front of his home fans in Sacramento, and he faced off against 22-year-old sensation Michael McDonald in what was effectively a title eliminator.
Faber came into this bout undefeated in 3 round fights and 3-0 in 2013. McDonald fought (unsuccessfully) for the interim bantamweight strap held by Renan Barao, but also bludgeoned and submitted Brad Pickett in August. The showdown was set for a highly intriguing matchup in the Sleep Train Arena, but it was abundantly clear that Faber was the superior fighter from the get-go. McDonald was immediately taken down just seconds into the 1st round, and while he tried to maintain an active guard and set up a possible submission, all he did was tie up Faber as he was able to remain on top, landing a few strikes before the referee stood them up.
Round 2 was just virtuoso stuff from "The California Kid". He was able to best McDonald on the feet and avoid "Mayday's" vaunted power. Faber cracked him with a right hand over the top that set the tone for what would occur moments later. Urijah clipped him with a right to the temple, sending McDonald staggering away from him and towards the fence, where he clipped him again and forced him to the canvas. From there, Faber locked in a tight guillotine choke and McDonald tapped. Urijah Faber def. Michael McDonald via submission (guillotine choke), 3:22 of round 2.
What was the high point of the fight?
The finishing sequence by Faber was just another highlight in the decorated career of the former WEC featherweight champion.
Where do these two go from here?
Faber (30-6) is expected to get another title shot against the winner of Dominick Cruz/Renan Barao, which is the main event of UFC 169. He's unquestionably earned it, although he did say at the post-fight press conference he's interested in fighting Frankie Edgar, who is fighting B.J. Penn some time next year.
McDonald (16-3) has lost 2 of 3 and while he's definitely a high level bantamweight, he's been submitted by the interim champion and top contender. He'll need a few more wins in order to prove himself ready to compete again with the absolute top tier of the division. At a guess, he could get Takeya Mizugaki, who is top 10 but unlikely to contend.
Watch it now, later, or never?
Now. Yes, the action is a bit slow in the 1st round, but Faber's 2nd round was a masterclass performance.