When it comes to UFC flyweight contenders, the difference between No. 1 and No. 8 is vast. That's the only conclusion possible upon viewing the UFC on FOX 7 fight between Joseph Benavidez and Darren Uyenoyama.
Benavidez was simply on another level, able to control the fight everywhere, dictate the pace and dominate the offense. It all led up to a technical knockout at 4:50 of the second round.
The end came largely due to body strikes. Benavidez stepped into a liver kick that clearly hurt Uyenoyama, who grimaced and tried to protect the spot by dropping his elbow, but Benavidez smelled blood and a few strikes later, landed a thudding hook to the same spot. That dropped Uyenoyama, and a few ground strikes later, ref Herb Dean had seen enough.
"It's all because of my coaches," Benavidez said of targeting the body. "I saw it, and it felt good."
Working off his reputation for takedowns, Benavidez came out with a crafty strategy, leaning low as though he might be shooting before coming in with overhand rights. Several times in the first, he used the tactic to score. Later, with about two minutes let in the round, Benavidez knocked him down with a head kick. Uyenoyama showed good recovery skills, but couldn't find any offense.
Uyenoyama had his only chance to do something early in the second when he initiated a clinch and took Benavidez's back standing, hoping to take it to the ground. Instead, he dropped down perhaps looking for a leg attack, but Benavidez dove into his guard with a hellacious right hand. It was a trend for Uyenoyama, who couldn't do anything with the ground positions where he usually excels.
"I had fun going on the ground," Benavidez said. "The last few fights I haven't even touched the ground. To mix it up was fun."
Benavidez moves to 18-3, and pushes his name into the title conversation. It was the first UFC loss for Uyenoyama, who fell to 8-4.