NEWARK - Bantamweight equates to 135 pounds in the world of mixed martial arts. The little guys. But, wow, they can put on an entertaining fight.
Joseph Benavidez and Ian Loveland each put leather to flesh dozens of times at UFC 128 at the Prudential Center on Saturday night.
The biggest one came with about 2:20 left in the third round as Benavidez blasted Loveland with a huge right that dropped him and lifted the crowd. But these little guys are tough, and Loveland got back to his feet a minute later.
Yet it was Benavidez who got the better of the exchanges throughout the fight and won a unanimous decision. The judges scored it 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27 for Benavidez (14-2). Loveland is 14-8.
“I didn’t give him much of a chance, " Benavidez said. " I thought I was going to finish him. The difference in the fight was my speed and my conditioning. I do have to give him credit on his wrestling and his defense.
"I’m in a weird position because Dominick [Cruz] beat me twice and Urijah [Faber] is my best friend and if he wins he’ll be the No. 1 contender.”