UFC 152 results: Sean Pierson survives late scare, tops Lance Benoist via decision
TORONTO – Fighting in front of a clearly partisan crowd, Sean Pierson jumped out to an early lead.
But the Canadian survived a late-fight onslaught from Lance Benoist and only narrowly held on for a decision victory.
The welterweight bout was part of the preliminary card of Saturday’s UFC 152 event at Air Canada Centre in Toronto. The fight aired on FX following additional prelims on Facebook and prior to the main card on pay-per-view.
With the crowd spontaneously cheering his name, Pierson took the first round. Benoist did some damage with low kicks, but Pierson tagged him from the clinch, caught a kick and popped him with punches when he forced Benoist to the mat, and then rocked him late in the round when a left hook landed flush.
The first round sapped Benoist of energy, and it showed in the second. Pierson largely dictated the pace, was more accurate with his punches, and created openings by throwing low kicks that were followed with strikes to the head. Benoist’s advances were few and brief, and Pierson easily shook off the blows.
The final frame saw Benoist with some pep in his step, though, and he got through some kicks and elbows. He also landed some quick two-punch combos. Then, late in the round, he nearly secured the shocking comeback win. After stunning Pierson with a left hook, Benoist unloaded a barrage of punches and elbows as his opponent stumbled to the mat. Pierson struggled to stay conscious during a nearly one-minute-long onslaught, but he ultimately escaped a rear-naked choke as the final horn saved him.
Pierson narrowly survived the late-fight theatrics and took home a hard-earned unanimous-decision win via 29-28 scores.
“Lance is a really tough kid, and he gave me a lot of trouble out there,” Pierson said. “I thought I edged the first two rounds, but he hurt me pretty bad in the third, and I just went into survival mode. I was fighting purely on instincts at the end there, and he did really well trying to get the finish. (I’m) just glad I was able to hold out and get the win.”
Pierson (13-6 MMA, 3-2 UFC) now has won two straight decisions since back-to-back defeats to Jake Ellenberger and Dong Hyun Kim. Benoist (6-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC), meanwhile, has dropped two straight following a UFC-debut win over Matt Riddle.