Joe Benavidez showed he wasn't willing to back down against WEC veteran Jeff Curran and cemented his status as a contender in the bantamweight division, winning by a unanimous decision, 30-27, 29-28. He was the aggressor early in the fight with kicks and punches. From the beginning, it was clear that Benavidez wanted this to be a stand-up fight, while Curran wanted the fight on the ground.
In the second round, Curran took himself to the ground by missing on a wild punch. Curran tried for Benavidez's ankle, but Benavidez was too fast for the veteran. Any jiu-jitsu that Curran attempted to practice was thwarted by Benavidez's celerity. Benavidez ended the round with a flurry of ground and pound.
In the final round, Benavidez took the fight to the ground for a second, taking down Curran with a big inside trip. He then brought Curran back to his feet, traded punches, and then took him down again. Curran again tried for a submission, but had no chance with the young and quick Benavidez.
Benavidez is still undefeated, while Curran has lost his third straight fight in the WEC. This is his first loss after dropping down to bantamweight.
- Jeff Curran