Chad Mendes had a tougher time than expected tonight at UFC on Fox 9 in Sacramento, California.

Mendes entered the Octagon against Nik Lentz as a prohibitive favorite: -840. But after a torrid pace to begin the first round — where he rocked Lentz with a left hook and pounced to attempt a finish — he slowed noticeably. As the bout continued, Mendes failed to capitalize on his takedowns to score any damaging strikes. A Lentz kick to the body landed cleanly in a later exchange.

Mendes continued to land takedowns throughout the second and third rounds, but Lentz would escape over and over again. Lentz also found some success switching between southpaw and orthodox stances to land punches and kicks, but never enough to stagger Mendes, and not enough to sway the judges. The Wisconsin native Lentz, now fighting out of American Top Team in Florida, drops to 24-6-2 (one no-contest) with the loss.

Mendes improves his record to 16-1 with the victory. His only loss is to current featherweight champion Jose Aldo.

At UFC on Fox 9, Chad Mendes defeated Nik Lentz by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).