Chris Weidman pulled off the biggest win of his career tonight against Demain Maia, but the performance from both fighters was decidedly sub-par.
The first round was almost entirely stand-up based aside from a single takedown from Weidman which Maia almost immediately stood back up from.
It was fairly even stuff on the feet as they traded occasional punches from range without either man really landing anything particularly meaningful. Maia was firing out his straight left with regularity, but perhaps his most effective strikes this early in the fight were occasional knees to the body.
The second round featured more of the same, with the main difference being that Weidman was now getting wise to Maia’s repeated left hand heavy strikes and was utilizing good head movement to steer clear of them.
The most notable action came late in the round when Weidman landed a solid takedown and then tried to get Maia’s back as he attempted to get back up before settling for a guillotine choke, but the bell sounded before he could really sink it in.
Overall it was still fairly even stuff in the second, but there wasn’t a great deal of urgency or venum in either man’s attack and this isn’t the most exciting of bouts to begin the UFC’s new FOX deal.
Weidman started the third with a takedown, but wasn’t able to do too much with it before Maia got back upright.
As the round progressed it became clear that both men were tiring badly and so the match, which was already being fought at a less than blistering pace was slowing drastically and we were left watching an increasingly sloppy stand-up fight with neither man having the energy to land a big blow.
So it’s on to the judges scorecards and they see it as a split decision victory for Chris Weidman (29-28 x2, 28-29) giving him the biggest win of his career so far.
Overall this was a very disappointing fight and the UFC and FOX may well be regretting having this as the opener on such an important broadcast. Hopefully the other two fights will be a big improvement.