Round 1: Benoist lands an inside leg kick and then a punch to the jaw. Good start for the newcomer. Benoist misses with a hook kick, which is a little used tae kwon do kick in MMA. They clinch up briefly, but Riddle takes a knee straight to the groin, dropping him to the mat. Riddle recovers and they restart in the middle of the Octagon. Riddle goes on the attack, landing a head kick. Benoist lands a leg kick, but Riddle times it and scores the takedown. Benoist, however, goes immediately to rubber guard. Riddle escapes the rubber guard and drops a few hard shots down. Benoist executes a kimura sweep into mount. Riddle gets his half guard, but Benoist feeds him a steady diet of punches and forearms. Very impressive start by Benoist, who opens up with a brutal flurry just before the end of the round. MMAWeekly.com scores round one 10-9 for Benoist.
Round 2: Benoist opens with a head kick; Riddle a leg kick. Benoist starting to get his jab working, setting up some solid follow-up shots. Riddle drops down and gets the double-leg takedown. Benoist gets to his feet, they exchange a few knees, but then Benoist scores a takedown of his own, landing in Riddle’s half guard. Benoist wings some hard body shots, although he’s bleeding heavily from what appears to be a crushed nose, likely from one of the knees Riddle landing while standing. Benoist, however, keeps dropping down blows. He stands in Riddle’s guard, taking an upkick to the face. He drops back down, dropping down punches, but also raining blood on Riddle. Riddle goes for an armbar, but can’t secure it. MMAWeekly.com scores round two 10-9 for Benoist.
Round 3: Riddle opens fast, unloading a combination of punches before he gets Benoist to the mat, landing in side control. Benoist works his way to full guard, clinging tight to Riddle, but Riddle pulls back and drops a hard elbow. Benoist is trying to hang on and limit what Riddle can do, but Riddle fires off a couple hard shots that cause Benoist’s nose to start streaming again. Benoist goes back to rubber guard, doing a pretty good job avoiding Riddle’s punches and elbows. Riddle sneaks a few elbows through with just under 30 seconds left, but Benoist keeps defending to the bell. MMAWeekly.com scores round three 10-9 for Riddle, but the fight 29-28 for Benoist.
Lance Benoist def. Matt Riddle by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)