Having failed twice to win the UFC flyweight championship in bouts with current champion Demetrious Johnson, Joseph Benavidez was looking at UFC 172 opponent Timothy Elliott as his first step down the road back into title contention.
Benavidez took that step, emphatically, but it wasn’t without a tremendous effort from Elliott to block the road.
Knowing he couldn’t play into Benavidez’s game if he were to hope to win, Elliott stormed the No. 2 125-pounder in the world, hoping to catch him unprepared. And it seemed as if he did, at least for the opening few minutes of the fight.
Elliott rushed Benavidez early, looking to get the fight to the mat, and he did, on several occasions. He tied Benavidez up in a crucifix position on the second takedown, but couldn’t mount much damage from there before Benavidez scrambled out and back to the feet.
On a third takedown, Benavidez quickly gained controlled, applying a guillotine hold from all-fours. He patiently worked from maintaining the hold on all-fours and moved it to side control before sinking it in tight after transitioning to full mount. With Elliott’s arms trapped inside of Benavidez’s legs, Elliott had to tap out with his feet in a wild ending to a wild fight.
“(It was a) wild fight because that’s a wild man right there,” Benavidez said after the fight, pointing at Elliott. “He brought out the best in me. I had to fight.”
Having used his striking to score his most recent victories, Benavidez rather enjoyed going back to the mat, where he made a name for himself as he rose up the ranks.
“It was awesome that Tim brought the fight and made me pull out where I think I’m the best, on the ground.”
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