JOSEPH BENAVIDEZ VS. DOMINICK CRUZ
Round 1 – Cruz misses with a jab. Benavidez lands a low kick. Both score in an exchange. Benavidez charges forward, but he's caught. As he returns to his feet, he nearly eats a big kick. Benavidez clinches briefly then backs away. Benavidez pushes in with a flurry and clinches, but Cruz defends and tosses Benavidez to the floor. Benavidez works from guard and reaches up for a guillotine, but Cruz escapes. The pair feign blows on the feet. Benavidez lands a nice low kick. Two minutes remain, and Cruz pushes Benavidez to the floor. He pops right back up. Benavidez pushes Cruz against the cage, but he muscles Benavidez to the floor. A quick scramble on the canvas, and Benavidez grabs the head as they return to the feet. Benavidez scores a knee. Cruz lands a kick to the body, and a scrappy Benavidez answers. Close round, but MMAjunkie.com sees it for Cruz based on the takedowns.
Round 2 – Benavidez stalks, but he eats a few punches from Cruz. Cruz smells blood and pounces, but Benavidez weathers the storm. Benavidez lands a nice left hand s Cruz looks to move in. Pace slows briefly. Benavidez slips, then Cruz attacks. Several nice shots land, as well as a knee. Cruz takes Benavidez down briefly, but Benavidez pops back up. Two minutes remain. Benavidez pushes in behind a spinning backfist, but Cruz sprawls out. Benavidez backs away. Cruz lands with a three-punch combo. Cruz follows with a high kick and a right hand. Cruz using his distance well, striking and moving away from Benavidez. Benavidez eats a jab and misses on another spinning backfist. Cruz shoots in, Benavidez tries to grab a guillotine, but it slips off quickly. Cruz finishes in top position, and he earns the round on the MMAjunkie.com card, 10-9.
Round 3 – A touch of gloves gets the final frame underway. Benavidez lands a nice shot to the body, but Cruz catches a follow-up kick. Cruz slips on a kick. Benavidez pounces, but Cruz backs away. Benavidez lands a nice left hand, abut Cruz backs away. Benavidez scores again with his hands. Cruz moving laterally then trips Benavidez on a low sweep. Benavidez pops up. The two clinch, but Cruz shoves Benavidez to the floor. Cuz moves to side control, though Benavidez rolls and stands. Halfway through the final frame, and Benavidez slips on a kick. Cruz misses with a few kicks. Benavidez misses a haymaker. Both fighters looking for openings, picking shots. Benavidez finds one with a punch and kick. Benavidez misses with another spinning punch, and Cruz pushes him down. Benavidez stands looks for a guillotine. Benavidez pushing forward, but Cruz answers. Cruz drops Benavidez and follows to the floor. Cruz takes the back, looking for a choke with time winding down It's not there, and Cruz settles for a few ground-and-pound blows as time expires. It's another close round and an exciting fight. MMAjunkie.com sees it for Cruz again with the final flurry. It's a clean sweep for MMAjunkie.com, but much closer than the score would indicate. Dominick Cruz def. Joseph Benavidez via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).