Yates picked up three more seconds on the defending champion Tom Dumoulin by taking bonuses from the intermediate sprint, but his Mitchelton-Scott team-mate Esteban Chaves dropped from second to 39th, losing 25 minutes on innocuous terrain and claiming cryptically after the stage: "We've still got to understand my problems".
It could be a fruitful basket, with Yates extending his lead to 41 seconds after taking bonus seconds at an intermediate sprint point, and he - and Bennett - almost made further gains in a tense descent near the end of the stage.
Chaves had entered the day in second place overall but dropped behind on an early climb in the rolling 244-kilometer (152-mile) stage from Penne to Gualdo Tadino in Umbria, which was the race's longest.
Marco Frapporti (Androni - Sidermec - Bottecchia) provided the day's supporting entertainment with a 80km solo break, extending his lead in the breakaway competition.
"I need more time on these sort of stages". Two minutes down on the peloton, Chaves received assistance from Bewley and two other teammates to desperately try and bring him back, while Quick-Step helped them out to try and revive the chances of sprinting favourite Elia Viviani.
A series of attacks began late in the day and, as the tension increased, Tom Dumoulin was caught in a small crash before chasing back on.
"After that, I remained close to [team-mate] Domenico Pozzovivo until I asked him if I could ride behind Villela since I felt very good".
"It was the most aggressive stage I ve seen for a while", said Yates. Tom was chasing me all the way to the line, ' Yates said.
Another day and another stage with lost time for the Brit as he conceded 40 seconds to Yates having been dropped on the first of the two climbs in the finale, and now once again finds himself outside the top 10 at 3-20.
As the attacks petered out, Slovenian Mohoric stayed clear alongside Nico Denz and had enough to hold off the German at the line, clear of the main bunch, led by Irish sprinter Sam Bennett.
"Maybe I pulled a bit more than him".
"One of those stages we will talk about for a while". I already have a good gap to Froome.
Tonight's Stage 11 is another lumpy one, covering 156km from Assisi to Osimo.