UFC free fight: Joseph Benavidez edges Henry Cejudo in a back-and-forth battle

After numerous spats on the “Ultimate Fighter,” Joseph Benavidez and Henry Cejudo got to settle their rivalry in the octagon.

Benavidez (28-6 MMA, 15-4 UFC) faced Cejudo in the co-main event of the TUF 24 Finale in 2016, sharing the card with numerous flyweights that they coached during the season.

Both fighters came out aggressively, with Cejudo briefly dropping Benavidez with am early left hook. The bout was contested at a furious pace, as Cejudo threw heat and Benavidez used his movement to dip in and out of the exchanges.

Benavidez consistently threw leg kicks, while Cejudo tried to make him pay on the counter. Under three minutes to go in Round 1, Cejudo struck Benavidez with an accidental low blow for the second time, resulting in a point deduction. Cejudo came out firing with some hard kicks to the body and landed a momentary takedown, but Benavidez popped right back up.

In Rounds 2 and 3, Cejudo continued to attack the body, while Benavidez found a home for the right hand. Cejudo landed another trip, but Benavidez was able to use his speed to bounce back up. Cejudo pushed ahead his heavy pressure, with Benavidez continuing to blitz in with quick combinations.

At the end of three rounds, the judges awarded Benavidez the split decision win, in a throughly entertaining contest.

Benavidez returns in the main event of the UFC’s July 18 event when he rematches Deiveson Figueiredo for the vacant flyweight title. That’s a rematch of a fight in which Figueiredo won, but was ineligible to claim the vacant belt because he missed weight the day before.

Before he faces Figueiredo, relive Benavidez’s win over Cejudo in the video above.

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