Urijah Faber (l) and Michael McDonald (r) prepare to fight each other on Dec. 14.
SACRAMENTO, CA - Sacramento's face of mixed martial arts, Urijah Faber, will fight on his first ever UFC card in his hometown, as the co-main event for UFC on Fox 9, against Michael McDonald.
The event will take place at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento on Saturday, Dec. 14. Anthony Pettis will look to defend his world lightweight championship for the first time in the main event, against Josh Thomson.
This will mark the first time that the UFC has returned to Sacramento since 2007's UFC 73.
For the 34-year-old Faber, it will be the first time fighting in Sacramento after suffering the worst loss of his career, a five-round punishing decision to Jose Aldo, for the WEC featherweight title in April of 2010, in WEC 48.
Faber said that loss to Faber was the toughest opponent and the most pain he's ever suffered in a fight.
McDonald, a 22-year-old native of Modesto, who trains at Oakdale MMA, was once a fan of Faber. He will now fight on his biggest stage yet, against one of the sport's most recognizable athletes, and look to become the first opponent to defeat Faber in a non-title fight.
"Every fight has pressure, if you let it," McDonald told News10. "It's not my job to think about pressure, When it comes down to it, it's no different."
In his last fight, McDonald, (16-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) had an eye-opening performance when he performed a triangle choke finish to Brad Pickett at UFC Fight Night 26. In doing so, McDonald was awarded both submission and fight of the night.
"It's going to be dangerous on both sides," said Faber. "He's a guy that can knock people out with one punch and I have to respect that."
Faber's fights have drawn huge attendance numbers in every city he fights. And while McDonald is also a northern California product, he will not be the crowd favorite on fight night in Faber's hometown.
Fresh off of signing a new eight-fight extension with the UFC, Faber (29-6 MMA, 5-2 UFC) is excited to fight again in Sacramento. He even is looking forward to fighting in the new downtown arena, when it is scheduled to open in the Fall of 2016.
"I'd like to be able to (fight) in that arena, at least once," Faber told News10. "2016 is very realistic for me."
The other fight on the the main card will be a welterweight match against Carlos Condit and Mat Brown.
In addition to Faber and McDonald, two other local fighters will be featured on the Sacramento card.
Chad Mendes (15-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) and Danny Castillo (16-5 MMA, 6-2 UFC), who both fight with Faber's Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, will look to continue the winning streak of the group under coach Duane Ludwig. Ludwig's team is undefeated since he took over as their coach.
Mendes, 28, stopped Clay Guida in the third round at UFC 164 in August. He's on a four fight winning streak and will be the first fight of the UFC on Fox 9 main card in Sacramento, when he faces Nik Lentz.
Castillo will fight on the prelims against Edson Barboza.
By Sean Cunningham, SCunningham@News10.net