33-Year-Old UFC Flyweight 25-5-0
June 9, 2018 Joseph Benavidez News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
Benavidez lost to Sergio Pettis via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 27-30) at UFC 225 on Saturday in Chicago.
Joe B's first fight in more than 18 months results in his first career loss to someone other than Demetrious Johnson or Dominick Cruz. Benavidez got off to a very slow start and he was lucky to survive Round 1 after Pettis clocked him with a handful of pinpoint shots. Benavidez picked up the pace in Rounds 2 and 3 figuring he was down on the judge's scorecards, but it ultimately wasn't enough. Joe B was credited with just two successful takedowns on 19 attempts. The loss snaps a six-fight winning streak for the 33-year-old Team Alpha Male product.
Joseph Benavidez: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
Fantasy AnalysisBenavidez hasn't competed since December 2016 after suffering a torn ACL in a victory over Henry Cejudo. Despite the layoff, the flyweight remains the No. 1 ranked contender in his class and carries a 12-2 record in the Octagon. Meanwhile, Pettis is 4-1 in his last five appearances but is coming off a Dec. 2 loss to Cejudo at UFC 218.
Fantasy AnalysisBenavidez continues to make the long journey back from a torn ACL and damage to his LCL and meniscus in his knee. After undergoing the procedure, he set a return around the 10-month mark, which would be right around the beginning of April. Although it's tough to gauge his status based on this report, it appears like he should be back to full health by that point in time. Once he's able to ramp up his recovery in the next few weeks, there should be another update on his status and a more concise timetable for his return.
Fantasy AnalysisBenavidez was forced to withdraw from his fight against Ben Nguyen due to a knee injury sustained during a sparring session. After an MRI, it was revealed that he had torn his ACL. Other tendons including the LCL and meniscus also required attention and Benavidez underwent surgery. His recovery might be slower with these added tendon repairs, but he's still hoping to be back in 10 months, modeling the timetable of a similar injury sustained by Conor McGregor in 2013. Benavidez has already started physical therapy at the recently-constructed Performance Institute in Las Vegas -- a place where any fighter on the roster can receive treatment free of charge.
Fantasy AnalysisBenavidez recently backed out of his flyweight matchup against Ben Nguyen without disclosing why. On Wednesday, Benavidez announced a torn ACL as the reason. The injury will result in a long recovery for the fighter, who had hoped to get back in the cage as quickly as possible.
Fantasy AnalysisBenavidez says that he will work to come back as quickly as he can, but the timeline remains unclear for when he can get back in the Octagon. UFC has not announced if it has found a replacement to fight Nguyen or if the fight will be moved off the card.
Fantasy AnalysisBenevidez was hoping for another shot at flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, but will instead have to settle for a bout with the 28-year-old Ben Nguyen. Currently riding a steak of six straight wins, Benavidez is coming off a split decision win over Henry Cejudo and has plenty of experience over the younger Nguyen, which could give him an advantage as June approaches.
Fantasy AnalysisJoe B ate far more power shots on Saturday than he usually does, but his footwork and constant movement was enough to earn him a win in a fight that was closer than a pair of the scores would indicate. Benavidez fell victim to a pair of groin strikes in the first few minutes that led to Cejudo being docked a point by referee Yves Lavigne (a ridiculous decision) and it took him a good three or four minutes to start to find his rhythm. He did a much better job in Rounds 2 and 3 of forcing Cejudo to move in order to hit him. Cejudo landed the harder strikes, but Joe B landed far more, nearly twice as much, in fact (103-55). Cejudo is an excellent opponent and Benavidez did what he had do to do win, even if it wasn't as impressive an effort as we are used to seeing from him.
Fantasy AnalysisJoe B's four career losses have come against current UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson (twice) and current UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz (twice). Because Benavidez has come up short in big fights, we seem to forget how good of a fighter he has been for so many years. Joe B has won five-straight fights and eight of his last nine overall. A win over Cejudo will probably earn him one more title shot, which would likely be his final opportunity.
Fantasy AnalysisIt wasn't easy, but Joe B has now won five fights in a row and 12 of his last 14. Unfortunately, he is seemingly no closer to getting another flyweight title shot. That's what happens when you have lost twice to the current champion. Even if Demetrious Johnson loses his belt to Henry Cejudo at UFC 197, DJ's pedigree almost certainly means that he will get an immediate rematch. Joe B is going to have to take fights against lesser fighters for the foreseeable future.
Fantasy AnalysisJoe B is clearly the second best flyweight in the world, but with two losses to current champion Demetrious Johnson on his record, he is forced to continue to accept fights against fighters who are ranked below him. Other than his two losses to Johnson, Benavidez hasn't lost a fight since August 2010. Even though the flyweight division is fairly thin, Joe B appears to be multiple victories away from another shot at UFC gold.
Fantasy AnalysisEvery fight that Joe B has that isn't for a title is largely irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, but he has already fought champion Demetrious Johnson twice and come up short both times. Benavidez is going to have to continue to take fights in which he has little to gain and plenty to lose. Joe B has won four fights in a row since losing to Johnson in December 2013. The only four losses in his career are to Johnson (twice) and Dominick Cruz (twice).
Fantasy AnalysisIt wasn't Benavidez's best effort, but it was still good enough to pick up the win. Benavidez had a clear speed advantage, although he certainly was tagged by Bagautinov on numerous occasions. Joe B remains undefeated against anyone not named Demetrious Johnson or Dominick Cruz. It's anyone's guess where Benavidez goes from here. He probably deserves another title shot, but he has already come up short against Johnson on two occasions. It wouldn't be a surprise if the UFC brass doesn't want to run that one back a third time.
Fantasy AnalysisThere had been talk about a possible bout between Benavidez and Henry Cejudo, but that obviously isn't going to take place at this time. Joe B is coming off a dominant unanimous decision win over John Moraga at UFC 187 in May. Benavidez is the best fighter in the flyweight division not named Demetrious Johnson.
Fantasy AnalysisMoraga did all he could, but he simply couldn't match up with Benavidez's all-around game. Benavidez won the total strike battle by a count of 113-55 and he also landed the only three takedowns of the bout. It's the same story for Joe B; he continues to beat every fighter not named Demetrious Johnson. Due to the lack of depth in the division, he's going to get a third title shot sooner rather than later and he deserves one.