MFiX-Exa is a new code being actively developed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the National Energy Technology Laboratory as part of the U.S. Department of Energy's Exascale Computing Project. The starting point for the MFiX-Exa code development was the extraction of basic computational fluid dynamic (CFD) and discrete element method (DEM) capabilities from the existing MFiX-DEM code which was refactored into an AMReX code architecture, herein referred to as the preliminary MFiX-Exa code. Although drastic changes to the codebase will be required to produce an exascale capable application, benchmarking of the originating code helps to establish a valid start point for future development. In this work, four benchmark cases are considered, each corresponding to experimental data sets with history of CFD-DEM validation. We find that the preliminary MFiX-Exa code compares favorably with classic MFiX-DEM simulation predictions for three slugging/bubbling fluidized beds and one spout-fluid bed. Comparison to experimental data is also acceptable (within accuracy expected from previous CFD-DEM benchmarking and validation exercises) which is comprised of several measurement techniques including particle tracking velocimetry, positron emission particle tracking and magnetic resonance imaging. The work concludes with an overview of planned developmental work and potential benchmark cases to validate new MFiX-Exa capabilities.