Demain Maia got off to a good start in his fight at UFC 170 this evening, winninig the early ground battle, but Rory MacDonald rallied with improved takedown defense, superior striking and deeper energy reserves in the last two rounds to earn a well deserved decision victory.
Maia fires of a punch and then tries to shoot in, but it’s stuffed. Maia does the same again and after a brief scramble this time he does manage to find a way to get MacDonald down.
BJJ expect Maia in MacDonald’s guard now and working hard to try to pass. MacDonald using the butterfly guard and Maia lands a couple of elbows, then manages to move to mount – bad news for MacDonald.
A couple of strikes land for Maia on top now. MacDonald clings on to him. Maia fires off a few more punches and MacDonald almost manages to scoot out, but Maia’s still on top.
MacDonald really trying hard to escape, but while he gets him out of mount he can’t shake him off completely.
Maia back in MacDonald’s butterfly guard again now. Maia working hard for the pass, but MacDonald manages to get space and gets up.
MacDonald sporting a little blood on his face, but is eager to start trading blows on the feet. Maia tries to shoot again but is unsuccessful.
The two trade blows in close and Maia lands a hard left-right combo, stopping his opponent in his tracks for a moment. He seems ok though and starts to put some pressure on Maia, threatening with a kick as the round comes to a close.
MacDonald has Maia off-balance with strikes early in the round. Maia’s ok though and tries for a takedown and is stuffed.
MacDonald connects with a strike and Maia looks a bit wobbly. It’s clear that Maia would very much like to get this fight back to the mat, but MacDonald’s now doing a good job of stuffing these attempts comfortably.
Maia looks hurt and MacDonald’s letting his kicks go to the body and the head. Repeated takedown attempts for Maia fail and he looks extremely tired and more than likely still hurt too.
MacDonald’s fighting at a measured pace despite the fact Maia now looks like he’s running on empty. Kicks and punches for MacDonald. Maia throws a solid punch to show he’s still there.
Hard leg kick lands for MacDonald and a few punches. Hard kicks to the head and body from MacDonald. He’s working behind the jab now and then clatters a kick into his opponent’s body. And again.
MacDonald feels out with the jab then a nice straight right behind it. Another body kick finds it’s mark as a very good round for MacDonald comes to a close.
Maia looking a little brighter on his feet to start the third, but still tired. He gets a few punches off, but MacDonald’s punches come back crisper. Maia with another failed takedown now.
MacDonald lands a kick to the body. Good right hand lands. Another stuffed takedown and MacDonald lands a couple of short punches as Maia gets back up.
Maia’s really trying to get something going in the stand-up, but MacDonald’s picking him off here with accurate strikes.
Maia gets in close and is looking for a single-leg. He has to change his plan, but does manage to hoist him up and get that takedown he’s been searching for since the first round.
Maia trying to get something going on the ground while bleeding from his face, but MacDonald managest to shove him away and get back to his feet. A crucial moment in the fight.
Maia desperately trying for another opportunity to get the fight back down, but it’s back to not happening for him again.
Into the final minute and MacDonald’s striking is much crisper, piecing together some good combinations and still seems relatively fresh.
Maia’s trying his best, but he’s clearly very tired and is just being outclassed on the feet here. MacDonald stuffs some last ditch takedowns and drills off a series of punches in the final seconds to close out the fight.
As expected MacDonald’s impressive turnaround in the second and third round helps him on his way to a unanimous decision victory (29-28 x3).