UFC Fresno had a bit of a Mike Tyson moment when Jason Knight bit Gabriel Benítez’ finger during their featherweight clash last Saturday.
Knight as ultimately deducted a point for his indiscretion, and Benítez gave his thoughts on the bite days later.
“I think it was a moment of desperation. I heard when his corner yelled, ‘defend the guillotine, defend the guillotine,’ and in that moment I had him in the guillotine, and I think he felt the pressure. When I grabbed the chin, he slid his chin to his chest, opened his mouth, and in that moment he bit me.”
“All of the sudden, I just felt the bite, and it happened twice. The first one, I stopped for a second and thought, ‘no, it can’t be,’ and the second one, that’s when I yelled because it hurt a lot. My finger is actually a bit swollen, but nothing major happened. He was wearing a mouthpiece but that protected the top teeth, not the bottom, so I did feel the teeth but it didn’t open (cut) me or anything, it was just the pressure of the bite which hurt a lot.”
Knight ended up losing the fight anyway in a bout that saw Benítez dominate from start to finish. “Hick Diaz” carried a good deal of hype leading into the fight, and had proved to be a colorful character during interviews with the media.
While many fighters could have been psychologically and physically shaken by being bit, Benítez persevered and took a decision victory. Two judges even scored the bout 30-26 in Benítez favor.
He revealed despite the distraction of the bite, he didn’t want to let it alter his game on the way to his highest-caliber win:
“In that moment, I didn’t want to get distracted by anything,” Benitez said. “I just simply let it be because I didn’t want to get distracted. I didn’t feel any anger, I just almost didn’t believe it like at that moment. I was like, ‘This is not true, he didn’t bite me,’ so I was just incredulous. But nothing major happened and I was able to continue.
“I just simply stuck to my strategy. I didn’t want to go to the ground with him, I felt superior on the feet, so I just stuck to my plan. If I went to the ground, I was just going to stand back up and keep hitting him on the feet. Even my coach Javier Mendez told me, ‘Don’t worry, you can keep attempting it (guillotine choke), but we’re going to stick to the strategy,’ and that’s what I did.”