When Joe Benavidez last fought, he was considered the number two flyweight in the world, with his only Kryptonite taking the form of champ Demetrious Johnson. But Benavidez was being held together by duct tape and prayer, so he needed to take some time off and heal. Now it’s all about his return to the Octagon at UFC 225. Will striker Sergio Pettis greet him warmly with hugs?

Benavidez comes out confident in his striking, with the WEC vet mixing punches with kicks to both the head and calf muscle. Pettis responds by clipping him with a left to the grill that almost spins Benavidez completely around, and suddenly it’s all about the returning veteran’s frantic survival. He does survive, courtesy of a desperation takedown, but man oh man is Benavidez slower than he used to be.

Round 2 has Benavidez throwing more heat and attempting more takedowns, and while Pettis doesn’t manage to find that sweet spot and drop him again, all those takedowns get stuffed.

More of the same happens in the third, with Benavidez getting Pettis down for a split second, and Pettis counter-punching and occasionally tagging Benavidez in the face. Time runs out and it goes to the judges.

 

Results: Sergio Pettis def. Joe Benavidez via Split Decision