Opening up the card at UFC Busan, Alateng Heili made it four in a row, earning a split decision over American Ryan Benoit.
A slow feeling out process began in in UFC Busan’s card-opening bantanmweight fight. China’s Heili Alateng, billed as Alatengheili, was riding a three-fight win streak entering the night, and was looking to get the better of Ryan Benoit, who was returning to action for the first time since 2017, when he competed as a flyweight, knocking out Ashkan Mokhtarian. Benoit, however, had missed weight last time out, hence the move up to 135lbs.
The first round was peppered with action from both men, Alateng’s leg had being lightning-quick. Benoit’s body kick was hitting home, opening his oppnet up to further attacks. In the final minute, however, with seconds ticking away, Alateng landed a straight right hand that momentarily dropped Benoit, in what was the biggest moment in the fight to that point.
The second found Benoit on the attack, firing an overhand right. Alateng then pressed forward, with Benoit on the outside, firing that body kick again. Alateng was showing some redness on his ribs, and Benoit flashed the kick again, only to go upstairs this time. It connected, but not clean. Not much in the way of a takedown attempt or even much grappling at all during the first half of the fight, as the pair were content to stand and trade. Later in the round, Benoit saw his nose bloodied, as Alateng landed a number of times with his right hand. He then mixed it up, targeting the body. Benoit would punch his way in, in way of retaliation, only to get caught closing the distance. A big right hand for Alateng closed out the round.
The third saw the fight finally go to the ground, Alateng dropping levels and securing a double leg. The ground game slowed things down a little, as Alateng spent plenty of time on top. The Chinese fighter would spend some time in side control, and while Benoit would eventually make his way up, he wasn’t able to find much success in the final frame.
Official Result: Alateng Heili def. Ryan Benoit by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)