Fabio Maldonado managed to foil Joey Beltran’s gameplan to outclinch him and landed the better strikes en-route to a split decision victory at UFC Fight Night 29 tonight.

Round One

Maldonado working the jab to start this one of as Beltran stalks forward.

Beltran goes in for the clinch against the cage and hunts for the takedown, but Maldonado stuffs it. Beltran throws a few punches, but a couple land very low and forces a stoppage from the referee who warns him that if he does that again he’ll take a point.

Back to it we go and Beltran stalks again and lands a couple of punches to his opponents chin and then initiates another clinch.

Maldonado reverses him though and starts to work some offense of his own against the cage. Beltran reverses again though and looks to return the favor.

Both men land a solid body shot each. A lot of circling back and forth against the cage happening here with some dirty boxing mixed in. Beltran working hard for a takedown, but gives up and instead wings a big punch that misses and Maldonado counters with a solid shot of his own.

More clinch work from Beltran and with 30 seconds to go he finally lands a takedown, though Maldonado is up again pretty quickly.

Maldonado seems a bit annoyed by Beltran’s stalling tactics against the cage and waves him forward. There’s not enough time left in the round for anything to come of it though.

Round Two

Beltran firing off the jab to begin round two. Maldonado purposefully trying to stick to the center of the Octagon to avoid the clinch against the cage game that Beltrna’s eager to employ.

Eventually Beltran manages to clinch up and works him towards the cage. Maldonado reverses though and gets him there instead. Beltran circles and then Maldonado starts to fire back with some big punches that puts Beltran momentarily in reverse gear.

strangely, Maldonado then motions him to come back to him against the cage and Beltran duly obliges.

Beltran starts landing some very hard elbows from the clinch that certainly gets his opponent’s attention, but there’s then a stoppage due to a gumshield coming out.

Back to it they go and Maldonado’s working the jab again, landing it repeatedly to the face. He’s starting to get loose with his punches now.

Beltran sluggishly looks for the clinch and Maldonado is landing some hard shots in close. Beltran seems tired and he’s getting clipped way to often for his own good now.

In the final seconds of the round Beltran gathers up his energy for one big, aggressive flurry of punches, but Maldonado fires back and lands the better shots before the bell sounds.

Round Three

Maldonado confident now and working well behind the jab as Beltran tries to make something happen. Maldonado’s hands are very low and Beltran gets through with a solid punch.

Big hook lands for Maldonado as Beltran tries to get back into his favored clinch. Beltran looks to be stalling, then eventually drops down trying to get a takedown which doesn’t work out and so he rises and continues to press him up against the cage until the ref separates them due to a lack of action.

Half the round to go and Maldonado’s picking him off with the jab and motions for him to come at him. Beltran does start to throw some big shots soon after and a few of them find their home and leave Maldonado’s face bleeding.

Maldonado landing some big body punches, but one goes low and forces another stoppage while Beltran recovers.

Back to it and Maldonado’s winging some punches now. Beltran starts to hustle against the cage, looking for a head lock and has his opponent down on his knees against the cage as he fires off some offense. Maldonado pops back up just as the round ends.


Onto the judges scorecards and we’ve got a split decision, but it’s Maldonado who emerges with the win (29-28 x2, 28-29).