LinkRound 1 - Referee Steve Mazzagatti in charge of the night's main event. Cruz bouncing early. Benavidez with his hands high, measuring.Left scores for Benavidez, though Cruz answers with a right. Quick clinch, but Cruz moves away. High kick blocked by Benavidez. Crowd firmly behind Benavidez. Benavidez slips a shot and lands to the body. Cruz answers and pushes into a clinch. Cruz lands a knee to the chin. Knee to the body as he presses in. Another as he backs away. Two minutes in. Benavidez lands a counter but doesn't over-commiit. Cruz moving in and out. Benavidez has his timing down better this time, and he lands two punches. Cruz kicks low.Cruz darting in and out, but Benavidez lands a punch. Cruz coming up short. Benavidez lands a combination that stops Cruz in his tracks. Cruz shoots in successfully. One minute left. Benavidez ties up underneath. Elbows from the bottom. Cruz answers with a few punches from the top. Butterfly guard underneath until the bell. MMAjunkie.com sees a tight round for Cruz, 10-9.
Round 2 - Similar open. Fight hits the ground momentarily, but they pop right back up. Benavidez is cut on his forehead, but it's not too bad yet. Cruz continuws his assault form the outside while Benavidez counters. Benavidez paws at the blood. High kick misses for Benavidez. Cruz lands a straight. Benavidez fires a combination, and his counters are very effective. Benavidez tries for a takedown, but Cruz defends it well. Benavidez slips on a kick, but he uses the level change to shoot in. Cruz pulls himself away. Two minutes left. It's still Cruz initiating things. Right hand fro Cruz, and Benavidez short on a shot. Benavidez does land, and Cruz falls to the cage, but he's just baiting. Benavidez tries a front kick. Cruz pushes in, and Benavidez tries to secure the neck. Can't do it, and Cruz pulls away. Both guys fighting well, and MMAjunkie.com sees another tight one for Benavidez on his counter effectiveness.
Round 3 - Cruz still bouncing, but he misses. Scramble to the ground, but immediately back up. Low kick from Benavidez. Hands traded. Cruz is moving in and out, but Benavidez dealing with he movement well. Benavidez moving forward with kicks. Benavidez ducks under a right hand, but Cruz defends well. Benavidez tries for a single, but it's not there. Benavidez now stalking a little more. Cruz still bouncing, still moving. The pair ties up and jockeys for position. Benavidez pressing in, but Cruz again pushes him off. jab for Cruz. Benavidez fires off bog hooks that mostly miss. Combination fro, Benavidez finished by a low kick that staggers Cruz for a moment. He answers with his own snapping low kick. Blood trickles down Benavidez's forehead, but he lands a nice kick to the body. Cruz still doing Cruz, but he's walking into some punches. Cruz shoots in for a takedown at the 10-second mark. He gets it, and it finishes there. Another tight one. MMAjunkie.com sees it narrowly for Cruz, 10-9.
Round 4 - This time Cruz gets the early takedown. Benavidez sets up in guard. Benavidez throws a few elbows underneath, but Cruz pushes in and lands punches from the top. Cruz passes to half-mount momentarily. Benavidez gets it back. Cruz passes again, but Benavidez slips out and tries to latch on to a standing guillotine. It slips off. Cruz pushes in, but Benavidez escapes again to his feet. He looks again for the choke, but it's not there. Cruzpushes against the cage with underhooks. Two minutes left. Benavidez tries a slick toss. Cruz rolls through it and back to the feet, but he's got a cut now. Cruz pulls the fight to the floor Benavidez tries again for that dangerous guillotine, but the fighters are slick and comes right off. Cruz on top and gets the back briefly. Benavidez spins out, but Cruz will finish on top and take the round on the MMAjunkie.com card, 10-9.
Round 5 - Cruz still light, and the blood doesn't look like an issue. Benavidez pressing early, but he can't connect. Into the clinch, but Cruz's wrestling still solid. Low kick from Benavidez. Cruz jumps over Benavidez with a missed knee. Cruz on the outside. Benavidez works in with a combination, but he misses a spinning attack. Benavidez with another spinning strike. Attacks not quite as frequent now, but both guys still pressing. Cruz moving in adn out of range. His cardio is certainly not an issue. Benavidez lands with a strike and moves into the clinch, but Cruz scampers away. Right hand lands for Benavidez. Cruz still pressing in. Final minute. Benavidez slips as he throws wild hooks. Cruz leaps in again with a shot that misses. Flurry by both, but Cruz slips deftly uner a kick and throws Benavidez to the floor. It ends there. Great effort by both fighters. MMAjunkie.com sees the final round for Benavidez, 10-9, but the fight for Cruz, 48-47. Dominick Cruz def. Joseph Benavidez via split decision (47-48, 48-47, 49-46).