Lance Benoist was making his UFC debut on the undercard of tonight's UFC Fight Night 25 card against Matt Riddle, and the fight did not disappoint. Both men showed solid, well-rounded skills and engaged in what was definitely the best fight of the prelims. Benoist picked up a unanimous decision with three 29-28 scores, but the crowd didn't seem to agree as they lustily booed the result. And the last half of the fight is likely why they reacted that way.
Benoist opened the first with some solid striking, but was taken down by Riddle, former D-1 wrestler. Benoist was on the bottom for a minute or so, but pulled off a picture-perfect kimura sweep and reigned down some leather for the rest of the round. In the second, Benoist had Riddle against the cage but ate a huge knee directly to the nose, which opened up a huge cut across the bridge of the nose and broke it as well. Benoist rode out the round on top and landed some ground n pound, but he was bleeding all over the place. Riddle's white shorts were pink when he stood up.
Riddle dominated the third round by taking a bloody Benoist down and pounding on him for close to the whole five minutes. He wasn't able to inflict enough damage for a 10-8 round, but the cage and fighters were covered in blood when the final horn went. Riddle clearly ended the fight with a dominant round and in a Pride-rules fight he probably would have been the victor, but Benoist managed to get both of the first two rounds on all the judge's cards and took the close decision victory.
It was one of those classic fights where one guy did enough to take the cards, but clearly ended up getting his nose broken and his butt kicked. And I enjoyed the heck out of it.