Joseph Benavidez edges Henry Cejudo at TUF 24 Finale

LAS VEGAS -- Joseph Benavidez likely secured his third UFC title shot on Saturday, and he did so in arguably the best three-round fight of the year.

Benavidez (25-4) narrowly defeated Henry Cejudo by split decision at "The Ultimate Fighter" 24 Finale inside The Palms.

Two judges had it for Benavidez via scores of 30-26 and 29-27. A third judge saw it 29-27 for Cejudo. ESPN.com scored the 125-pound flyweight contest 29-27 for Benavidez.

It was an incredible, back-and-forth fight. Cejudo (10-2) landed far fewer strikes, but his shots appeared to be the heavier of the two. He scored a knockdown in the opening 30 seconds with a left hook and hurt Benavidez with kicks to the body. A U.S. Olympic gold medalist in wrestling, Cejudo managed only one takedown, from which Benavidez quickly popped up.

The fight took an early turn when referee Yves Lavigne docked Cejudo a point for two accidental kicks to the groin. Although the decision looked huge at first, it didn't factor into the decision, given the final scores.

Benavidez, who fights out of Las Vegas and Denver, made his adjustments in the second and third rounds. He caught Cejudo with a lot of lead right hands and was the more accurate puncher in the pocket. Cejudo continued to work Benavidez to the body, but he did better avoiding the big shots as the fight wore on.

Cardio seemed to favor Benavidez late as well, as he stuffed multiple takedown attempts, usually finding a home for the left hand as the two broke away. Cejudo briefly tried to take the back in an early scramble, but Benavidez escaped. Although Benavidez's eyes were both swollen by the end, he finished with momentum on his side.

Benavidez has now won six in a row. His only two UFC losses came in title fights against Demetrious Johnson in 2012 and 2013. He is 12-2 overall inside the Octagon.

Octagon fence plays role in Masvidal's TKO win

Welterweight Jorge Masvidal (31-11) picked up one of the strangest finishes of his career, as his fight against Jake Ellenberger (31-12) was stopped at 4:05 of the first round, when Ellenberger's left foot got caught in the Octagon. The official result is a TKO win for Masvidal.

Ellenberger was in the process of chasing Masvidal in the midst of a scramble. He sort of leapt into the cage, and as he turned onto his back, his left foot didn't move with the rest of his body. Masvidal started throwing punches, and Ellenberger could only cover up, which prompted the stoppage.

"That was weird," Ellenberger said. "My foot got caught in the fence. I turned, and it stayed. We'll see what happens."

Prior to the awkward ending, both fighters had their moments. Masvidal certainly had the most significant sequence, as he dropped Ellenberger with a flurry early in the fight and nearly finished him. Ellenberger managed to work back to his feet and land a few punches of his own. Masvidal also landed a big spinning heel kick.

Ellenberger might choose to appeal the result, but as of now, it's officially a loss. Masvidal called for a fight against Donald Cerrone next.

McMann forces Davis to submit

In a bout between two former women's bantamweight title contenders, Sara McMann (10-3) submitted Alexis Davis (17-7) via arm triangle at 2:52 of the second round.

A U.S. Olympic silver medalist in wrestling, McMann landed a few early flurries on the feet, but her main advantage was the grappling. She secured her first double-leg takedown just 90 seconds in and hit a beautiful hip toss in the second round to set up the finish.

For Davis, 32, it was her first appearance since April 2015. The Canadian veteran missed most of 2016 due to the birth of her first child.

McMann is now on a two-fight win streak. It was the fourth submission win of her career.

Hall takes decision from Maynard

Featherweight Ryan Hall (6-1) baffled former lightweight title contender Gray Maynard (12-6-1) with his unorthodox kickboxing/grappling style and took a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).

Hall frustrated Maynard by diving for his ankles repeatedly during the fight. Maynard, a former collegiate wrestler, refused to follow Hall into his guard, which resulted in numerous referee stand-ups.

The threat of those dives, however, made it impossible for Maynard to find any rhythm on his feet. Hall peppered him with front kicks, side kicks to the head and rear body kicks to the body. He cut Maynard over the left eye in the first round and surprised him several times with upkicks after diving for his legs.

Hall improves to 2-0 in the UFC. Maynard, 37, who dropped to featherweight this year after an 0-4 skid, is now 1-1 in the 145-pound division.