Flyweight action on the UFC Vegas 33 card saw Bellator MMA alumni and kickboxing champ Zarrukh Adashev badly in need of a win. Having gone 0-2 to start his run in the UFC, Adashev was on the brink of losing his job — and had veteran Ryan Benoit, with the promotion since 2013, opposite him.
Like Uzbekistan’s Adashev, Benoit entered the night on a two-fight skid, making a win a downright necessity.
Adashev opened up the affair with heavy low kicks, then went up high. Before long, Benoit was showing some swelling to the leg, and his movement was clearly hampered. The damage from Adashev’s low kicks had Benoit switching stances, which in turn allowed him to get his hands going. As the round wore on, Adashev continued to chop at the leg any time Benoit moved back to the orthodox stance. But in the final minute, a right hand by Benoit flipped the script. That put Adashev on the canvas, but he was able to regain his feet, and finished the round with a guillotine attempt as Benoit pursued a takedown.
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In round two, Benoit slowly marched forward, wary of the leg kicks. He was taking some big swings, but Adashev continued to chop at the lead leg. He then connected with a knee, which may have been a kick originally, connecting to Benoit’s chest. Benoit himself confirmed as much, telling the commentary desk that it was chest, not head, where the knee had landed. As chewed up as his leg was, Benoit still showed some power, landing his right hand on several occasions. For his part, Adashev showed he was more than just a kickboxer, initiating a clinch towards the end of the frame.
To open round three, Ryan Benoit put the pressure on, walking down Adashev. Benoit then drove his opponent into the fence, but with his leg compromised, opponent Adashev was able to escape rather easily. Adashev, up on the scorecards, had to be careful to avoid the power of Benoit in the final minutes of the fight. Benoit did land a left hand, but his movement was simply too compromised to find a finish.
Official Result: Zarrukh Adasev def. Ryan Benoit by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)