The following is from our live coverage of WEC 50: Cruz vs. Benavidez. To access our full coverage, click here.
WEC Bantamweight Championship
Dominick Cruz vs. Joseph Benavidez
Round 1: Cruz landed a nice right to start the fight. Cruz continued to stalk Benavidez and landed another nice right and Benavidez fell to the ground, although it was a slip. Benavidez got back to his feet and Cruz pressed him against the cage. Benavidez was able to shake him off and landed a nice combination. Cruz landed a nice leg kick and a right uppercut. Benavidez connected with a big right that looked like it rocked Cruz. Cruz took down Benavidez and landed some punches from the top. Cruz stayed busy on top as the round came to a close. FightLine.com scores the round 10-9 for Cruz.
Round 2: Cruz landed a big shot, but slipped when Benavidez went for another shot. Benavidez quickly went for a guillotine, but Cruz shrugged it off and got back to his feet. Cruz hit a big knee to Benavidez’s body. Benavidez landed a nice high kick while Cruz picked his shots. Benavidez stayed aggressive and landed some big punches. Benavidez went for another takedown but Cruz snuck out of it. A “Benavidez” chant broke out. Cruz hit a flying knee, but caught a counter right for his efforts. Cruz went for a takedown but nearly got caught in a guillotine. Both men clinched against the cage as the round ended. FightLine.com scores the round 10-9 for Benavidez.
Round 3: Cruz stayed dancing while Benavidez was trying to pick his shots. Benavidez landed a low kick and went for another takedown which was stuffed by Cruz. Benavidez went for a high kick that missed. Benavidez pressed Cruz against the cage and went for a single, but Cruz defended. Benavidez pressed forward, while Cruz looks like he took a page out of Frank Edgar’s book in keeping moving. Benavidez landed a hard low kick. Cruz finally scored a takedown with seconds remaining. FightLine.com scores the round 10-9 for Benavidez.
Round 4: Cruz got another takedown to start the round and went into side control. Cruz stayed on top while Benavidez looked for submissions from the bottom. Benavidez was able to get out and get back to his feet. Benavidez pressed Cruz against the cage and went for a guillotine, which Cruz again defended. Both fighters traded knees to the head, and one of Benavidez’ knees cut Cruz on the bridge of the nose. Cruz got Benavidez to the mat again and got side control. Cruz landed knees to the body and Benavidez was able to scramble out. Benavidez pressed Bruz against the cage as the round came to an end. FightLine.com scores the round 10-9 for Cruz.
Round 5: Cruz went for a double leg but almost got caught in a guillotine. Benavidez continued to stalk Cruz. Cruz went for a flying knee that missed. They stayed standing, trading kicks and punches. Benavidez connected with a spinning backfist. Cruz went for a takedown but got caught with a right. They both started trading and Cruz scored a takedown with seconds left. Cruz landed some ground ‘n pound to end the round. FightLine.com scores the round 10-9 for Cruz.
Dominick Cruz defeated Joseph Benavidez via split decision (scores of 48-47,47-48,49-46).
The fans booed Cruz even though it was a great fight. Cruz gave Benavidez his props and thanked the fans, even the ones who are booing him. Cruz said that he has no doubt in his mind that he ranks amongst the best in the world.