UFC Fresno Results: Gabriel Benítez Endures Bite, Defeats Jason Knight

Gabriel Benitez UFC
Gabriel Benitez Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

In a bout both entertaining and at times dirty, Gabriel Benitez endured a bite and an eye poke on the way to a unanimous decision win over Jason Knight.

UFC Fight Night 123’s co-main event featured a showdown between top featherweight Jason Knight, and Mexico’s Gabriel Benítez. Knight was returning to action following a loss to Ricardo Lamas that put a halt to his four fight win streak. Benitez, meanwhile, was 3-2 entering the night, and coming off a loss at UFC 211.

A weird start to Knight vs. Benitez at UFC Fresno saw the ref take a point from Knight early. Knight had started the bout firing, while Benitez answered back with some whip-like leg kicks. Knight then opted to shoot for a takedown, but as Benitez defended, the ref stopped the action. He then called for the doctor to examine Benitez’s finger, as it turned out Knight was guilty of biting the digit. That resulted in a point deduction, though the action was allowed to continue. Knight would fall back on the takedown later in the round, but the point deduction loomed large, as the round could have gone to the American. If it didn’t, it would result in a two-point round for Benitez.

Round two saw the Mexican open up with a combo. He was able to fade back out of range of Knight’s counters, then press forward with kicks to set up his combinations. Knight shot in just past a minute in, putting Benitez’s back against the fence. He popped back up almost immediately. Benitez then took things down, working within the active guard of Knight. He backed off shortly after, opting to keep things standing. Benitez would go to the body, and was finding more success on the feet when Knight caught him with an eye poke. For the second time on the night, the doctor was brought in.

When action resumed, Benitez would continue to have his way on the feet. Pressing the action, he caught a kick, but showed no interest in going to the ground. Benitez then clipped Knight with a big left. By the end of the frame, the leg kicks had also taken their toll on Knight, as he had clearly slowed.

The third saw Knight needing a finish, but it was Benitez who connected early with a head kick. He slipped while throwing it, however, which may have lessened the blow. Knight scored with a right hook, but it didn’t seem to phase Benitez. Knight looked a little flat-footed and was caught by a counter coming in; Benitez landed another left moments later. Knight was swinging for the fences by the middle of the round, while Gabriel Benitez was happy to stick and move. Towards the end of the frame, Benitez would launch a jump knee that missed. They’d hit the ground after that, with Benitez in full mount. He looked to drop bombs, but Knight was able to grab a leg and threaten with a submission; that was short lived, as the bell heralded the end of the bout.

Gabriel Benítez def. Jason Knight by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27)