Joseph Benavidez had to work hard for another victory against Dustin Ortiz tonight at UFC On ESPN+ 1 in a 15 minute fight filled with intensely competitive grappling exchanges.
Low leg kick for Benavidez and then a sweeping right hand. Another low kick for Benavidez. Now one to the body as Ortiz responds with a two-piece combo.
Body kick from Ortiz and a hard punch for Benavidez in return. Ortiz lands and then works for a takedown, but Benavidez is able to stuff that and ends up working a guillotine choke as Ortiz goes to his knees.
He has to let that go but as Ortiz gets back to his feet it’s Benavidez pressing him against the cage while working a single-leg.
He lets that go and they go back to striking range. Push kick for Ortiz sends benavidez to the mat for a brief moment. Overhand from Benavidez misses.
Low kick lands for Benavidez. Now he lands a good takedown in the center of the Octagon. Nice scramble from Ortiz and he gets on top pressing his opponent to the cage.
However, Benavidez reverses the position and then takes Ortiz down. Ortiz able to stand, but gets pulled bakc down almost instantly. Ortiz up again and then breaks free.
Body kick for Ortiz, but the counter left hand from Benavidez drops him! Benavidez now on top, but Ortiz seems like he still has his bearings.
Benavidez in half guard. Ortiz to his knees with Benavidez working the body lock and then landing a punch as the round ends.
Low leg kick for Benavidez. Both men scrambling here and in amongst it Benavidez has a brief takedown. Back on the feet Ortiz presses Benavidez against the cage, but he’s soon out.
Body kick for Ortiz. Hooks land for Benavidez. Punches for Ortiz, but nothing landing clean. Low leg kick yet again for Benavidez. Body kick for Ortiz again, but Benavidez trying to catch the kick and work for a single-leg against the cage.
Ortiz nicely defends the takedown attempt and then goes for one of his own, but Benavidez stuffs it. Standing again Ortiz trying to work to Benavidez’s back and brings him down.
Benavidez to his knees. Ortiz on top and rolling he has Benavidez’s back. However, Benavidez is looking to turn here and that leads to Ortiz trying to get out. however, Benavidez stays on and takes his back. Ortiz is slick too though and manages to get out and they are back upright again.
Ortiz moving forward looking for a takedown attempt. Benavidez seems to land a punch just as Ortiz is changing levels for the takedown.
Ortiz hoists Benavidez up and lands a big takedown. Now he’s going for a rear-naked choke, but Benavidez survives until the end of the round.
Side kick to the leg from Ortiz keeps range. Right hand for him, but then a terrific takedown from Benavidez and into half-guard.
Ortiz trying to transition, but Benavidez matches that. however, Ortiz then reverses and is on top. Crazy transitions in this fight and another one happens to enable Benavidez gets back in an advantageous position on Ortiz’s back. He drops back still in control and starts looking for a rear-naked choke.
Nothing doing submission wise for now, but Benavidez looks to soften him up with a few punches. Ortiz wants desperately to turn into Benavidez and he does so, but Benavidez smartly changes position to maintain his dominant position.
Again there’s a transition and again it’s Benavidez who gets the better of it. However, Ortiz gets up to his feet, only for Benavidez to end up on top again.
Back to the feet in this relentless match-up. Continual ebb and flow to these tireless grappling exchanges. Ortiz almost has Benavidez’s back. He takes it, but as has so often been the case neither fight can maintain there dominant position for long and then they end up looking to trade strikes for the final few seconds of the round.
Great effort from both men here in the grappling exchanges, but ultimately it’s Benavidez who edges out the action to earn a unanimous decision victory (29-28 x3).