LAS VEGAS -- There seems to be little separating the best of the UFC's flyweights. That was on display again on Saturday night at UFC 156 when Joseph Benavidez and Ian McCall fought another close fight in the UFC's lightest weight class.
After three hard-fought rounds, the judges awarded the decision to Benavidez, with all three scoring it 29-28.
The announcement of the decision left half of the crowd at the Mandalay Bay Events Center cheering and the other half booing. McCall dropped to his knees in a silent protest.
"It was an awesome fight," Benavidez said. "I think the judges got it right."
McCall arguably had the fight's best moment, which came late in the second round. It happened after Benavidez ducked under a hook and slipped, allowing McCall to ride him to the ground, where he took his back and landed several punches. Benavidez got back up but McCall also scored with knees to the body before the round ended.
The rest of the bout was almost exclusively a kickboxing contest fought at the breakneck speed of the division, with both men darting in and out and exchanging momentum swings. McCall caught Benavidez towards the end of the first round with a right hand that caused a cut on the hairline.
Benavidez had good success landing his right hand even in frequently alternating stances from southpaw to orthodox. According to FightMetric, Benavidez out-landed McCall 62-54.
Both fighters were coming off losses to current champion Demetrious Johnson.
Benavidez is now 17-3 while McCall (11-4-1) is still searching for his first win in the octagon.