A battle between two top flyweights opened the UFC 156 main card, and it was a barnburner as expected. Joseph Benavidez and Ian McCall used speed and skill to engage in a back and forth fight, but Benavidez was able to pull out two rounds and take a 29-28 decision on all three scorecards. His leg kicks and timing were the difference, as McCall seemed just a tiny bit behind him most of the time.
Benavidez stuffed a McCall takedown early and landed a solid right on the break. Benavidez landed a solid combination that wobbled a smiling McCall. Benavidez followed it up with a groin shot though. Another right wobbled McCall right after the restart. Joe B. seemed to have McCall's timing down, and his kicks and counters were frequently on point. McCall rebounded in the second half of the round and he probably got the better of it, but it might have been too late.
The second round had just as fast a pace as the first, but the fighters were missing a little more with their strikes. It wasn't sloppy or anything - it just showed the both guys have good striking defense. Benavidez ducked for a takedown but caught a punch with a minute to go and McCall took full advantage, briefly getting to mount and landing a bunch of punches. McCall controlled Joe's back for the rest of the round.
Benavidez opened the third up with a big punch that backed McCall up. Both men connected with a leg kick at the same time but it was McCall that went down briefly. McCall was coming up a bit short on his counters, but he scored a nice takedown on a charging Benavidez. Joe popped right back to his feet though. McCall landed a right on the break that backed Benavidez up a bit. Benavidez landed some nice body kicks down the stretch, to which McCall had no response.