Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweight contenders Joseph Benavidez and Zach Makovsky scrapped last night (Feb. 6, 2016) at UFC Fight Night 82 inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
After a several of crushing contenders since his last loss, Benavidez was closing in on a third shot at the title. To finally receive that chance, "Beefcake" needed to extend his win streak to five last night.
On the other hand, Makovsky very nearly derailed a top contender in his last performance, losing an extremely tight decision to John Dodson. This time around, Makovsky was looking to make the most of this opportunity and make himself a top contender.
Instead, he came up short once more.
Benavidez started the fight quickly, switching stances and working with lots of combinations. Makovsky landed a big slam early, but Benavidez immediately sprung back to his feet and defended his opponent's next few attempts without issue.
On the whole, Benavidez was able to put his opponent on the defensive in a lot of exchanges. He also scored with numerous body shots, which were clearly forcing a reaction from his opponent.
Makovsky tried to change things around with some late takedown attempts, but "Beefcake" undoubtedly took the opening round.
"Fun Size" opened the round with some takedown attempts, but his shots were stuffed. After defending his opponent's takedown attempts, Benavidez countered with knees before returning to stalking his opponent with combinations.
That said, Makovsky did have a better round than the first. He wasn't scoring with too many of his punches, but he did land a few very brief takedowns.
It likely wasn't enough to win him the round, but it was definitely an improved effort.
The third round brought more success for Benavidez, whose body punches were likely catching up with Makovsky. The Philadelphia native was moving far slower and his takedowns had less drive behind them, which allowed Benavidez to walk his opponent down and land at a higher percentage than before.
Makovsky hung tough, but he really took a beating. To cap off his strong performance, Benavidez pushed his opponent to the ground and flurried from top position, slamming home some nice punches before the final bell rang.
This was an excellent showing for Benavidez, who looked fast and composed against a very skilled opponent. Makovsky is skilled in all areas, but Benavidez made the entire fight uncomfortable for him by really pressing and forcing him to shell up.
A couple things from Benavidez's performance stand out. For one, Benavidez rips the body like few others. Each time he threw a long combination, he dug into his opponent's mid-section with at least one hook. Plus, he repeatedly used knees to the body from the clinch to discourage his opponent's takedown attempts.
It all paid off in a big third round.
Additionally, Benavidez's scrambling is insane. It's not impossible to take him down -- "Fun Size" did officially land four takedowns -- but he simply cannot be contained. Within five seconds of being placed on the mat, the Joe Jitsu practitioner was back on his feet and creating distance.
Following this win, Benavidez has earned another opportunity to fight for the strap. In all likelihood, he'll face off with Demetrious Johnson for a third time following the champion's defense opposite Henry Cejudo.
To his credit, Makovsky didn't fight poorly. He timed his takedowns extremely well, showed some beautiful wrestling, and did land some nice counter shots.
He just didn't do enough of any of it.
Second to Benavidez, volume was Makovsky's main opponent last night. He simply couldn't keep up with his opponent in stand up exchanges, causing him to fall behind on the scorecards and eat some hard shots along the way.
Following this loss, Makovsky does need a slight step back, as he's fought two of the absolute best in his recent matches. For example, a match up with Ray Borg would be a reasonable challenge for both men.
Last night, Joseph Benavidez scored another victory in impressive fashion. Will he receive another shot at the strap?
For complete UFC Fight Night 82: "Hendricks vs Thompson" results and play-by-play, click HERE!